Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The most popular Jaguar F-Type Convertible engine is the least powerful in the range. Badged P300, it’s a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that’s offered only with rear-wheel drive and a smooth but occasionally slow-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox.
It’s powerful enough to make the F-Type feel quick – even if certain hot hatches can show it a clean pair of heels – but needs working pretty hard to deliver its potential. The exhaust note sounds a bit dreary too, despite the odd pop and crackle when you back off the accelerator. All in all, the P300 has too many excellent rivals in its price range to stand out.
The F-Type Convertible is much heavier than the Porsche 718 Boxster and Porsche 911 Cabriolet. You feel that extra weight on the road, and it’s far less nimble when you attack a corner with gusto. The steering is precise and well-weighted, but doesn’t give you as much feedback as those rivals.
The rear-wheel-drive models are stable and entertaining in the wet, though, without the spiky, unpredictable tendencies of previous rear-drive F-Types. The four-wheel-drive models are even more impressively sure-footed and give you plenty of confidence to press on.
Every F-Type has an eight-speed automatic gearbox that shifts smoothly while you’re on the move but has a tendency to be quite hesitant in slow traffic or when you ask for a sudden burst of pace.
The gearbox's hesitation can be combated by using the paddles on the steering wheel to shift manually, which makes it react far more promptly. Switching to Dynamic mode makes the gearbox more alert too, and sharpens the accelerator response.
Four-cylinder F-Types have conventional steel spring suspension, which gives you a ride that’s sports car firm but not too bumpy. Progress never becomes uncomfortable, but you’re always aware of undulations in the road as the car's wheels pass over them.
V8-powered models come with adaptive suspension, which improves ride comfort while helping to counteract body pitch and lean in corners. The set-up is still quite firm and can be a little unsettled on scruffy surfaces, but it’s a bit more supple, especially around town.