Panel instruments go through a “flight-check” procedure at start-up. photography courtesy of Jaguar

Auto Review: Jaguar F-Type Convertible

The company's first true sports car in decades to compete with Porsche.

My son was less than thrilled when I called in August and told him I was coming down to College Station for a visit—a week after he left home for his freshman year. But when I explained that I wanted to stretch the legs of the 2014 Jaguar F-Type convertible I’d be driving, everything changed. In fact, he took the day off from his caddying job so he could spend even more time in the car. And who could blame him? The new F-Type is one sweet, fast ride.

Jaguar designed its first true sports car in decades to compete with Porsche. The exterior has a sleek, feral look that somehow strikes a balance between super-modern and timeless. There are some fun touches inside—vents that rise up out of the dash when needed for climate control, panel instruments that go through a “flight-check” procedure at start-up—but what really impresses is the sound. One push of the ignition button and the F-Type roars into action. There’s no slinking around in this cat, especially if you toggle into dynamic mode (which I was tempted to do every time I climbed behind the wheel).

The F-Type comes in V-6, V-6 Supercharged, and V-8 Supercharged models. I drove the 171-mph V-6 S, which has high-performance brakes (larger, 15-inch rotors) and an adaptive dynamic suspension system. It monitors things like speed, steering, and body movements and adjusts suspension response up to 500 times per second. I don’t understand—or care—how it all works. I just know that during the three days I had the Jag, I never wanted for power, performance, or comfort. (Or, for that matter, attention—the F-Type is a real head-turner.)

One minor peeve: The trunk is odd-shaped and on the small side. A regular-sized golf bag can still be squeezed in, but you may need to pull out some of your fairway woods first and place them in separately.

Jaguar designed the F-Type, its first true sports car in decades, to compete with Porsche.