Used test: Jaguar F-Type vs Porsche 911
The F-Type loses its value much faster than the 911, so is it a better used buy than the all-conquering Porsche? Read our group test to find out which dream car is best...
Jaguar F-Type 5.0 V8 SC R
List price when new £86,810
Price today £58,000
Available from 2014-present
Range-topping F-Type has lots more power than the Porsche, but is it as good to drive?
Porsche 911 3.0 Carrera S PDK
List price when new £85,857
Price today £80,000
Available from 2012-present
The 911 Carrera S is a consummate all-rounder, but can its brilliant handling make up the deficit in power and aural drama?
Price today is based on a 2016 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing
If you’ve done reasonably well at school, worked hard throughout your career and lived a good life, you’d probably still need to have won the lottery to be in a position to buy either of these cars. Let’s face it, even though they have aged a couple of years and have a few miles behind them, they’re still expensive luxuries that cost a small fortune to buy and run. However, there is a way that more regular people might be able to afford them.
If you’re not planning to keep the car forever or own it outright, you might consider owning it using finance. Instead of one massive payment, you make a number of smaller ones for a year or so. this way, it can feel more like a rare treat to yourself after a significant birthday or upon your retirement. With that in mind, you’ll want the car that is the best to drive, reliable (you’ll want to be able to drive it as much as possible) and, most importantly, will hold onto its value the best.
You’ll also want it to be an exciting experience, since that’s what driving a sports car is all about. On that front, the F-Type scores maximum points, with its thunderous engine tone and raw, muscle-car power. However, Porsche has been fine-tuning the 911 over its many generations and, while it is down on power compared with the F-Type, it is faster both on paper and in the real world. So this test is going to be a close one.
What are they like to drive?
A quick glance at the vital stats makes this seem like an unfair fight. The F-Type has a mighty 5.0-litre supercharged V8 and 542bhp, whereas the 911 makes do with a comparatively tame 3.0-litre flat six turbo and 414bhp. That’s a bit like lining Tyson Fury up against Amir Kahn.
Except it isn’t, because in the car world a lower weight almost always beats raw power, and the 911 weighs some 120kg less than its British rival. This, along with its faster-shifting automatic gearbox and superior traction, helps the car slingshot away from standstill, leaving the F-Type floundering as it struggles to transfer all of its power to the road.
By 30mph, the 911 is already well ahead, and it passes 60mph in a barely believable 3.5sec. From 30mph onwards, the F-Type isn’t completely embarrassed, but continues to lose ground to its rival at a steady rate right up to the national limit. The Carrera S isn’t just fast, it’s savagely quick.
In purely objective terms, then, this turbocharged 911 comprehensively beats the F-Type. However, because there’s no longer any point revving the flat six engine beyond 7000rpm (even though you can), you’re robbed of the enjoyment of doing so. The fact that there’s more pulling power at lower revs doesn’t quite make up for that.
There’s also the noise. To the untrained ear, the 911 sounds much the same as ever, snarling at low revs and howling when you accelerate hard. However, it no longer screams as piercingly as its predecessor did when you rev the engine to its redline. If you’re an existing 911 owner, it's something you’ll miss. Meanwhile, few sports cars at any price sound as good as the F-Type; its V8 roars when you put your foot down and the quad exhausts pop and spit angrily when you lift off the accelerator.
It’s no contest through the corners, though. Turn the F-Type’s steering wheel and there’s a small pause before the nose of the car reacts – something that you simply don’t notice in the lighter and stiffer 911. The 911also stays flatter through twists and turns, and ultimately it’ll tear round bends at speeds that would have the F-Type sliding off the road.
There’s still plenty of fun to be had at the helm of the F-Type on a twisty B-road, though, and the steering is quick and precise – even if it’s too heavy when you select Dynamic mode. The 911’s steering isn’t as quick, but streams a little more information to your fingers.
The 911 rides on adaptive suspension (PASM) as standard, allowing you to stiffen the dampers by pressing a button on the centre console. However, our test car had optional lowered suspension that drops the ride height by 20mm and we found it was fairly abrupt over sharp-edged bumps. Wider experience suggests you’re better off with the standard set-up and enjoying a more comfortable low-speed ride; you’ll lose barely any cornering ability.
The F-Type also rides on adaptive suspension but is always that bit more unsettled at low speeds.