New Lister LFT-C 2019 review

Jaguar F-Type-based Lister LFT-C soft-top arrives in style, but there are only 10 of them

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Lister has taken a car that already had plenty of charm and character, and added even more. The LFT-C will bring a smile to your face, be admired by others and shows that this great old sports car maker is still alive and very much kicking. We like it very much.

Lister is a car maker with a grand history. Its sports cars date back to the 1950s and its relationship with Jaguar just as far – back when racing Lister Knobblys beat the Jaguar D-types on which they were based.

As well as building continuation versions of the Knobbly, Lister has been putting its coach building expertise to good use recently by fettling versions of Jaguar’s F-Type and F-Pace. And this, the Lister LFT-C, is its latest model, limited to just 10 cars and with a price of £139,950.

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Based on the all-wheel drive Jaguar F-Type R, the Lister costs over £40,000 more. So what do you get for your cash? Well, the Jag is already one of the best-looking sports cars you can buy so there was a big danger that a coachbuilder could go to town and risk spoiling the F-Type’s classic design.

Thankfully, Lister has done a great job of making the Jaguar turn even more heads. The bodywork has been extended with a new front bumper, splitter, side skirts and another new bumper at the back. It’s all carbon fibre, as are the exhaust tips. There are sexy Lister-designed Vossen alloys, too.

It’s all beautifully painted, while our car also featured a bold yellow stripe across the bonnet and boot, plus a similarly striking yellow roundel on the doors. The colour theme continued inside where all the leather comes from Bridge of Weir and the quality of stitching and finishing is first class. The steering wheel still wears a Jaguar badge (a bit odd) and the rest is all pure F-Type, including the infotainment, which decided to temporarily pack-up on us on one occasion.

This is far from just a cosmetic job, though. Power from the 5.0-litre V8 has been upped to 666bhp, with 720NM of torque thanks to upgrades to the supercharger, intercooler, exhaust and engine management system.

The suspension has been tweaked, too, and is adjustable. If you live where the local authority is fond of undulating traffic calming methods, we’d recommend choosing a higher setting to avoid smashing the beautiful front splitter on the Tarmac.

So with all that, what’s it like to drive? Two things dominate the experience: the engine and the noise. Acceleration is rapid (0- 60mph takes just 3.2 seconds), knocking seven-tenths off the F-Type R’s time. That power keeps on coming, too, and the four-wheel drive system keeps everything in check. Things can get a little loose if you select Dynamic mode, however.

The steering isn’t Porsche 911 sharp, but is quick enough to have fun with, while the brakes are strong enough for you not to bother with the carbon ceramic upgrades. We’ve no price for these yet, but Jag’s own uprated discs cost £7,705.

We did notice a slight hesitation in the transmission when accelerating hard, but that’s likely to be a simple software tweak that could and should be fixed for the 10 customer cars. The ride is a bit firm around town, though the LFT-C is a reasonably comfortable cruiser, whether you’ve got the hood up or down.

Which brings us to the noise – something the convertible LFT-C brings you even closer to, and one of the things that makes it so appealing. Is it the highlight? It’s certainly the biggest talking point.

The F-Type V8 has always sounded good, but this turns things up to 11, improving the tone and increasing the number of pops and bangs when you lift off. We’d liken it to sticking your head in a popcorn machine; it’s entirely intoxicating. 

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