There might be no better car to glide through the Goodwood Festival of Speed with than a Jaguar F-Type. It’s indisputable Englishness makes everyone feel right at home.
Sure, the event takes place in the backyard of Rolls-Royce. Yes, the wonderful creations of Aston Martin stud the concourse. Land Rover shuttles visitors around in style. Classic, long lost UK makes and models are a prime attraction. But, a beautifully savage car with just the right intrinsically British ad campaign make the stars align between Jag and Goodwood.
With Goodwood highlighting the English summer (…and, yes, there is such thing…), a convertible offers prime viewing of the lush, green UK countryside. If you’re in the new 2015 F-Type Convertible, the countryside will look back in envy.
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I had a chance to drive this Jaguar convertible several weeks before Goodwood at a special media drive in and around New York and New Jersey. Starting around $69,000 for the base model, the Convertible is a worthy addition to an F-Type family that also added a manual transmission version for this automotive year.
The base convertible packs a turbocharged, 340 horsepower V6. That’s enough power to achieve a top speed of 161 mph, controlled by the Jaguar Performance braking system. Drivers can take home an eight speed automatic Quickshift ZF transmission with Sport mode shifters and Intelligent Stop/Start, But, the real drivers out their will snag the wonderful six speed manual on the floor.
Additional features include Sport Exhaust with center-mounted twin exhaust pipes for that classic Jag engine note, Suede Cloth Sport seats with 14-way power adjustment, door mirror, seat and steering column position memory, GPS navigation system with Traffic Messaging Channel, Meridian audio system, the Jaguar Smart Key System and the entire Jaguar InControl infotainment system.
The two additional trim levels include the sport tuned F-Type Convertible S ($81,000) and the sublime V8 S ($92,000) with a maxed out engine producing 550 horsepower. Fuel economy declines as you move up the trims, but the base model offers 20 city, 28 highway.
I’ve driven these new F-Type Jags on race tracks and open highways, and the driving experience is everything it must be. You have smooth immediate power on demand with perfect balance. The handling is precise. The ride is comfortable. The noises are absolutely satisfying.
When you add its modern styling that still reaches back for some echoes of the Jaguar E-Type atop the automatic Mount Rushmore, you end up with a car that draws a crowd — whether in the Catskills or on the West Sussex grounds of Goodwood.