First Drive

Jaguar F-Type Convertible vs Mercedes SL

The Mercedes-Benz SL has been refreshed to keep it up to date. Can it fend off Jaguar's raucous F-Type?

Words ByWhat Car? team

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Jaguar F-Type Convertible vs Mercedes-Benz SL

What are they like inside?

Tall drivers won’t find it hard to get comfortable in either car. There’s plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment, although anyone with long legs will appreciate the fact the Mercedes SL's seats slide a bit farther back. On the flipside, the Jaguar F-Type has a little more head room.

You sit quite low to the ground in both, but the F-Type has the sportier-feeling interior; its seats hug you tighter, its instrument dials look racier and its taller centre console makes you feel altogether more cocooned. In contrast, the SL feels more like a luxury saloon. You sit in a more upright position, while parts of the dashboard look as though they’ve been borrowed from extinct Mercedes saloons. However, while the SL might look rather old-fashioned inside, everything does feel that bit better screwed together.

The SL’s infotainment system is also rather outdated. Not only is the screen quite small at 7.0in, the menus are also complicated to navigate. At least the graphics are sharper than those on the F-Type’s slow-responding 8.0in touchscreen.

As for smartphone integration, the SL comes with the excellent Apple CarPlay as standard, but no way of fully linking up an Android phone. The F-Type requires you to download an app on your phone to fully interact with the infotainment system. This means you can use Apple and Android phones, but the interface is nowhere near as slick.

The SL is the clear winner when it comes to practicality. There’s more oddment storage between the driver and passenger and a couple of handy shelves behind the rear seats. Behind the passenger seat is a box that locks with the central locking, making it perfect for stashing valuables.

You can also fit more luggage in the SL’s boot, although the space does shrink when you fold the roof down. Even with its roof down, the SL has more boot space than the F-Type, though. The F-Type’s boot is also a more awkward shape with a high load lip.

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