With the comforting heat of our NZ summer slowly beginning to fade for another year, Jaguar NZ threw me the keys to their latest sporty little number, the F-Type P300 Convertible Special Edition. I immediately dropped the top and kept it there for the duration.
I know I’ve said it before but manual gearboxes and convertibles will almost certainly grab my attention. They’re a break from the ‘norm’ and as such standout, but it’s more than that, simply put, I like them. Unfortunately, the Jaguar F-Type P300 doesn’t have a manual box but it’s paddles and lack of roof sure makes up for it.
The F-Type itself, is every bit the sports car. It’s a long-nosed 2-door coupe with drop-dead good looks and a poise that befits all manner of Jaguar’s, from automotive to animal. My model came resplendent in Ammonite grey (which is apparently an extinct group of marine mollusc) and ‘accessorised’ in R-Dynamic spec, which offers a raft of extra design cues.
From tip to toe, nose to tail the F-type commands attention. Its LED headlights come surrounded with signature style DRLs. It’s long, rear-opening bonnet comes with accented with black air vents. Large 19-inch 7 split spoke paws keep it gripped to the tarmac, while its retractable boot lid spoiler forces its tail to the ground as the speed increases. Top up, it looks good, but top down it looks exceptional.
The compact cabin offers both open top practicality and Jaguar refinement. The furniture is (in my case) ebony with ebony stitching, heated, figure-hugging and six way adjustable, while the centre console is delta aluminium. A 10-inch infotainment touchscreen takes up pride of place in the dashboard and sports everything from apps and driver’s aids to navigation and the powerful (380W) Meridian sound system.
Keyless entry and push-button start are just some of this sportcar’s modernisms but the deployable door handles and infrared reflective windscreen do give it an additional sense of saintly espionage.
Under the bonnet lies a reduced fat 2L ingenium turbo-charged engine. To many, that may seem a bit of a letdown, however, with 221kW and 400Nm underfoot, I can assure that is certainly not the case.0-100km/h comes in a mere 5.7 seconds while the top speed is rated at 249km/h (this car only weighs 1,545kg). Fuel economy is 7.2L/100km and emissions are reported to be 163g/km – handy as with the roof down you’re sucking in the atmosphere.
Thankfully, the weather gods were being kind and as I said before, the electric roof spent the majority of its time nestled somewhere behind the seats. I was clear to enjoy open-air driving freedom both night and day and I did just that – I’ll add that the heater is nigh-on scolding by the way.
I’ve driven the hard top coupe version of the P300 before and been impressed, the convertible is essentially the same and that’s a very good thing. Less weight in the nose makes for a lighter, more nimble turn in and handling. The steering is direct and positive, it goes where you point it and the tail is quick to follow. Under revs, the exhaust note isn’t as growly as it’s bigger cc’d siblings but it still lets you know when you’re stamping on its tail.
The Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible is a fun drive that I feel would be great all year round. The roof is extra lined to keep the warmth in/cold out and in reality, the 2L engine is probably all the power you’ll need. In short, the RWD P300 convertible is pretty hard to top (I’m not saying I don’t miss the SVR though).