Rowing you own makes the Jag a different cat

The Jaguar F-Type Convertible has been around since 2013. In the last three years, minimal changes have kept things fresh, but none more so than the introduction of a manual transmission. Sadly, it can only be mated with the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, but the six-speed gearbox provides that long-sought-after control theF-Type has lacked. The ZF eight-speed automatic is a fantastic gearbox, but it’s still doesn’t scratch that itch for three pedals and short-throw shifter.

With the manual transmission F-Type now on the market, I wanted some seat time to see how it stacked up with the two F-Type R Coupe examples I’ve previously sampled. It might be an apples and oranges comparison – especially since this Firesand Orange convertible is different in many ways from the Coupes – but a comparison can be made regardless.

Let’s dive in and take a look at the 2016 Jaguar F-Type S Convertible with its row-it-yourself transmission.

Continue reading for the full driven review

  • 2016 Jaguar F-Type Convertible – Driven
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    six-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    380
  • Torque @ RPM:
    332
  • Energy:
    Supercharged
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5.3 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    171 mph
  • Layout:
    Front Engine; Rear Drive
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Video Walk-Around


Exterior

2016 Jaguar F-Type Convertible – Driven High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Photos
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2016 Jaguar F-Type Convertible – Driven High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Photos
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2016 Jaguar F-Type Convertible – Driven High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Photos
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The F-Type is a stunningly gorgeous car – there’s no escaping that. Its sultry lines run from grille to tailpipe, all molded in just the right way. Its proportions are even, its accents are mellow yet dramatic, and its low-slung shoulders makes it look planted, even when it’s parked.

The F-Type is a stunningly gorgeous car – there’s no escaping that

I will say, subjectively, the F-Type Coupe is better looking, especially at the rear three-quarter view. Playing devil’s advocate with myself, I quickly recant the statement saying, “Well yeah, why isn’t the top down, stupid?” A simple pull of a button makes the power-folding soft top disappear between the seats and trunk. Unlike some convertibles, the F-Type’s top has its own compartment separated from the trunk, giving luggage its own space to live.

Once down, the F-Type Convertible takes on a different feel. Silver-accented roll bars protrude behind the headrests for safety’s sake, but really add a touch of brightness to the otherwise dark cabin. A wind panel spans between the bars to keep wind noise and cabin turbulence to a minimum.

Beyond the top and rear trunk lid area, the F-Type carries the same lines as its Coupe counterpart. The front has those Xenon headlights accented by the J-shaped LED daytime running lights. The oval grille houses the Jaguar cat and S badging. The side gills help pull fresh air into the engine bay and over the front brakes, keeping temperatures in check. Aluminum-colored, 19-inch “propeller” wheels come wrapped in Pirelli rubber.

Out back, the V-6 S F-Type comes with dual exhaust ports tipped in bright chrome. The tips are center-mounted, unlike the V-8’s four exhaust tips paired together towards the outside of rear bumper. Those now-iconic taillights are just the same, looking fantastic, especially at night.

Interior

2016 Jaguar F-Type Convertible – Driven High Resolution Interior Exclusive Photos
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2016 Jaguar F-Type Convertible – Driven High Resolution Interior Exclusive Photos
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2016 Jaguar F-Type Convertible – Driven High Resolution Interior Exclusive Photos
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It’s simple to describe the F-Type convertible’s interior. Save for the missing roof section, everything remains in place as it does with the coupe. Of course, that’s not a bad thing. The F-Type’s cabin is generally lauded for having a very comfortable driving position, fantastic ergonomics, and outstanding fit and finish. All that is true. The infinitely adjustable seats with memory function give both occupants the ability to get comfortable. The driver gets a power-operated steering column that both tilts and telescopes.

Long highway or back-road jaunts are no issue, as long as you pack light

The comfort and ease-of-use continues with the gauge cluster. Everything is in its place and easy to read. A TFT display resides between two analog gauges and provides vehicle information, along with a digital speedometer. The infotainment system is typical Jaguar Land Rover, meaning it has a few physical buttons along the side and a fairly easy-to-use interface. The large touchscreen is intuitive, but can be a tad slow to respond to inputs. The HVAC system, on the other hand, works flawlessly. Digital displays within each knob show temperatures in both zones and fan speed. Press the screen and turn the dial for heated seats.

And then there’s the all-important manual transmission lever. Its aluminum top and leather boot complement other materials in the cabin, while being a joy to hold. The buttons around the shifter’s base are slightly different than the auto-equipped F-Type. Sadly, the beautiful rocker switch for Weather, Normal, and Dynamic modes is gone, replaced by two simple buttons. It’s a small sacrifice for rowing your own. All told, the interior is a great place to spend time. Long highway or back-road jaunts are no issue, as long as you pack light. The trunk is understandably cramped.

Drivetrain

2016 Jaguar F-Type Convertible – Driven High Resolution Drivetrain Exclusive Photos
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It's a sweet drivetrain combination that's a great alternative to the more expensive F-Type R

At the heart of this Jaguar lies the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 found across the Jaguar Land Rover line. In this application and fitted with the S package, it produces 380 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 339 pound-feet of torque between 3,500 and 5,000 rpm. With a final drive ratio of 3.315:1, the car is well suited for both hard launches and top-end speeds. The sprint to 60 mph happens in 5.3 seconds while top speed is listed at 171 mph.

Keeping the engine in its powerband is easy with the six-speed manual unit from ZF. The transmission is easy to operate with a fairly precise shift pattern. Throws are short, allowing for snappy gear changes. The clutch is fairly light and is easy to operate. It has a linear take-up and its engagement point is predicable. The engine also provides enough torque down low that accidental stalls are very rare. It’s a sweet drivetrain combination that’s a great alternative to the more expensive F-Type R.

Driving Impressions

2016 Jaguar F-Type Convertible – Driven High Resolution Interior Exclusive Photos
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There are plenty of similarities the F-Type Convertible has to its Coupe counterpart. Its steering, for instance, feels just as good. It offers precise turn-in and a good feel for the road. It isn’t the most natural feeling steering rack, but it communicates without being tiresome. On-center feel is just as good, leaving no slop. The brakes are confidence-inspiring as well, though are noticeably less powerful than the massive Carbon Ceramic rotors found on my F-Type R AWD tester. They are also noticeably far less expensive - $12,000 less expensive, to be exact.

It’s extremely easy to become attached to the F-Type

Outward visibility is surprisingly good in the convertible, even with the top up. A relatively large rear window and short distance between it and the rearview mirror provides a good view out back. Properly adjusted side mirrors then eliminate any blind spots. The long, sloping hood is a welcomed sight through the windshield, making you remember what sort of vehicle you’re piloting.

Like I mentioned earlier, the driving position is very good, lending itself to making the connection between driver and machine far more close. It’s extremely easy to become attached to the F-Type.

Perhaps the biggest letdown for me was missing growl and bark from the supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 in the F-Type R. I still hold that engine to be one of the best sounding on the market today, hands down. Nevertheless, the V-6 provides its own style of growl, though the Active Exhaust must be open and the engine has to be screaming in the upper rev range. Yet another annoyance I found was the Start/Stop system; it just felt clunky. I found myself frequently turning it off. Lastly, there were a couple times the dash-mounted A/C vents refused to rise up from their flush-mounted position, despite having the A/C turned on. I didn’t have this issue on my last two F-Type testers, so I’m hoping it’s an isolated event.

Still, none of this detracted from the F-Type’s driving experience.

Pricing

2016 Jaguar F-Type Convertible – Driven High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Photos
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The base price for this 2016 F-Type S Convertible with the manual listed at $80,400. My tester came with several options that bumped the price up further, including the Firesand Orange paint ($600), Performance seats ($1,500), Premium + Vision Pack ($3,900), and the Extended leather Pack ($2,325).

That Premium + Vision Pack might seem pricey, but it does group a ton of features into one bundle, including the Blind Spot Monitor, front and rear parking sensors, rear camera, heated seats and steering wheel, adaptive and intelligent front lighting, auto dimming exterior mirrors, dual zone A/C with air filter, wind deflector, garage door opener, lockable interior storage compartment, and a valet mode.

Added all together, including the $995 destination charge, and the total comes to $89,720.

Competition

2016 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

2016 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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The Corvette Stingray Convertible is America’s poster child for open-top, V-8-powered freedom. Like the F-Type Convertible, it combines all the great attributes from its coupe version, but lets owners enjoy wind in their hair at 181 mph. Unlike the F-Type Convertible S, the Corvette comes standard with the same 460-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 as the coupe. There’s no smaller engine option.

What the Vette has in horsepower, it slightly lacks in posh and gentry compared to the F-Type. It’s just hard to imagine James Bond driving the Vette. That doesn’t make it a bad car by any means, but the F-Type is far more suave. Then again, my recent Corvette Convertible tester came loaded with its range-topping 3LT trim and Z51 performance package, and it was still less expensive than the F-Type, which stickered at $79,415. Opt for a base model drop-top Vette, and you’re only looking at $60,395.

Read our full review here

2016 Porsche Boxster S

2016 Porsche Boxster Black Edition High Resolution Exterior
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Porsche has been in the coupe-building business longer than anyone can remember, and the 2016 Boxster S is the latest from that long line of heritage. Its mid-engine design, tidy dimensions, and hardy appetite for the road makes it a big competitor here. A 3.4-liter flat-six cylinder that kicks out 315 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque powers the Boxster S. With the manual transmission, the sprint to 60 mph happens in 4.8 seconds with a top speed of 173 mph. Numbers aside, the Porsche offers a fantastic driving experience that is well balanced and controllable. What’s more, the price isn’t bad either, starting at $63,900.

Read our full review here

Conclusion

2016 Jaguar F-Type Convertible – Driven High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Photos
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The Jaguar F-Type S Convertible is a fantastic open-road machine that begs to be driven fast. Its well-tuned suspension, rev-loving supercharged V-6, smooth-shifting six-speed, and communicative steering all play a part in its driving pleasure. A comfortable interior and supportive seats cap off the experience. The Jaguar might be more expensive than its competitors, but it offers a level of affluence and an assumed level of notoriety for the driver the Corvette and Porsche just can’t replicate. This is a Bond car, no doubt.

While James Bond would surely go for the F-Type R Convertible, the V-6 provides ample trust at a minimal cost in fuel economy. The EPA rates it at 15 mpg city 24 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined. Not that those buying a $90,000 convertible are worried about how much premium fuel they’re buying.

Everything aside, the F-Type is a fantastic machine that Jaguar should be immensely proud of. They have captured that original spirit found in the E-Types of yesteryear and embodied it within this completely modern, seductively sexy soft top. Sometimes its not about the numbers or money, but how a car makes you feel. In this parameter, the Jaguar excels like nothing else.

  • Leave it
    • * Best left as a weekend toy
    • * Missing the V-8’s thunderous noises
    • * More expensive than competition
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