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2015 Jaguar F-Type Convertible S Review By John Heilig

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2015 Jaguar F-Type Convertible S
A Hell-Of-A-Car
By John Heilig

Reviewed Model: 2015 Jaguar F-Type Convertible S
Engine: 5.0-liter supercharged V8
Horsepower/Torque: 495 hp @ 6,500 rpm/ 460 lb.-ft. @ 2,500-5,000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Wheelbase: 103.2 in.
Length x Width x Height: 176.0 x 75.7 x 51.5 in.
Tires: P255/35R20 (F)/P295/30R20 (R)
Cargo: 7.0 cu. ft.
Economy: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway/21.7 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 19.0 gal
Curb Weight: 3,671 lbs.
Sticker: $96,313 ($925 delivery, $3,388 options)

The Bottom Line: There’s no question that the Jaguar F-Type Convertible is impressive, in looks, in its power, and in the beautiful sound that emanates from it's tailpipes.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the Jaguar F-Type Convertible was one of the most popular vehicles I have driven lately. From the guy who handles the carts at my local supermarket to the bus driver who aborted her coffee break, to the son of a late collector, to my friend Tim who loves to roar by my house inn his black Corvette convertible, all were entranced by the looks of the Jaguar. It has a visceral look, from the air ducts surrounding the grille to the four tailpipes at the back. There’s eve n a spoiler you can pop up from inside, but I confess I only used it for the visual effect.

But there is more than looks to the F-Type. Take, for example, the simple functionality of the door handles. Unlock the car using the key fob and the handles move out of the flat side of the car. With the key in your pocket, all you have to do is push the flat door and the handle pops out. It’s a neat, aerodynamic solution to the door handle problem. The mirrors mimic the door handles and move in and out when you lock or unlock the car.

Start the car and it immediately roars to life, and roar is the correct term. This ain’t no overly muffled pseudo-sports car. The Jaguar sounds as great as it looks. After the initial start, however, the engine returns to a more normal sound, although there’s always the undercurrent of power lurking to burst forth.

The F-Type also has start/stop technology, so that when you’re at a stop sign or traffic light, the engine shuts off. And with an engine like this, you know when it’s off.

With 495 horses under the hood, the F-Type has excellent power. To be honest, I was afraid to use it all except for a couple of brief acceleration runs. I would love to have driven the car on a track, where the danger of making a mistake and damaging either the car or some else’s is lessened.

The 8-speed automatic is smooth, and there are paddles behind the fat steering wheel when you want to shift it. There are also transmission switches for snow and sport settings on the transmission. There’s a n “eco” mode for the engine, but why?

Handling is on a par with the power, as it should be. You can corner at higher than normal speeds with confidence. Yet, the suspension is not too firm. It is firm, but when you’re just tooling around, the F-Type rides as well as a sedan.

Unlike the Jaguar sedan I drove a few months back, the F-Type has real instruments, a tachometer on the left and speedometer on the right. The information panel has a digital speedometer option that I found useful because I kept looking at the right (incorrect) gauge.

Front seats are comfortable with good side support that’s necessary when you take those fast corners. A “chicken handle” on the right side of the console is good for the passenger to grab when the driver gest too frisky. It also works as an assist hand le when old men have trouble getting into the car. There’s a wind deflector behind the front seats that didn’t work that well.

This is a convertible, and it’s nice to know that the top drops quickly, probably faster than any other I’ve driven. The controls are on the center console. For a fun observation, stop the top halfway down and take a look at the tops mechanicals.

But sadly, there is essentially no trunk. But this is a sports car and true sports cars don’t have decent trunks. Also, the sun visors and, consequently, the vanity mirrors are also ridiculously small, but again, who cares?

Many years ago, I had the thrill of driving a V-12 E-Type Coupe, which was not only beautiful but it performed as well. The F-Type, the successor to the E, has the performance, but it is more raucous than I remember the E-Type being. But it’s still a hell of a car and a lot of fun to drive.

2014 The Auto Page