New Jaguar F-Type P450 75 2023 review
The F-Type 75 marks the end of an era for combustion-powered Jaguar sports cars
The 75 is a fitting, if not dramatically changed, send-off for the Jaguar F-Type. The softer, lower-powered P450 derivative better suits the car’s more GT-aligned nature, and it seems great value compared to a Porsche 911 Cabriolet, despite that car being sharper and fresher. It’s worth it for the wonderful supercharged V8 alone.
As far as special edition F-Types go, the 75 is one of the more minor ones in terms of what Jaguar has changed. Carrying nothing more than some aesthetic tweaks, it’s at the opposite end of the spectrum to the radically transformed Project 7, but in terms of what it stands for, it might just be the most significant.
‘75’ refers to the number of years since the launch of Jaguar’s first-ever sports car, the XKS 120. Neatly, and sadly, it’s also the last Jaguar sports car powered by a combustion engine. This is the final model year for the F-Type as Jaguar prepares for its all-electric future, and if you want one powered by a V8, it must be a 75. There is still an R Dynamic-branded four-cylinder on sale, but for a proper send-off for the model, it has to be the V8, doesn’t it?
Car group tests
- New Jaguar F-Type R 75 2023 review
- New Jaguar F-Type P450 2020 review
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Used car tests
Whether you go for an eight-cylinder engine or not, the F-Type remains a fabulous-looking thing in its 10th year of production, mostly because of the fine work of designer Ian Callum, helped significantly by a thorough facelift which happened in early 2020.
Changes for the 75 comprise a series of logos displaying an F-Type silhouette, Windsor leather (this was optional before), ‘slimline’ seats, ebony ‘suedecloth’ headlining, a black Jaguar grille badge, a set of 20-inch, five-spoke wheels featuring a new design, and the option of 75-exclusive Giola Green paintwork. The latter is a £765 option, and having seen it in the metal, this seems like a price worth paying. The £9,990 'Liguarian Black' satin finish? Less so.
We’ve already talked about what the 567bhp R75 is like, so here, the subject of our review is the P450 in rear-wheel drive Convertible form. If preferred, there is a coupe P450, while either body style can be paired with an all-wheel drive system.
The shock and awe of the R75’s more hopped-up V8, with its SVR-matching output, is something to behold, but the P450’s more modest take on the 5.0-litre unit is more satisfying. You get much more time to enjoy the theatrical exhaust note, and further opportunities to rev it out, and even though the F-Type is a heavier car than we’d like, the 444bhp on offer here is enough for the P450 to feel plenty fast. It’ll still pin you to the back of the 14-way electrically adjustable seats, just not quite as aggressively as in the R75.
These V8s aren’t quite as loud as they used to be. The F-Type has used petrol particulate filters for some time now, but that’s not such a bad thing. The pops and crackles that used to explode out of this car’s tailpipes were borderline yobbish, arguably detracting from the base engine note, which starts off as a pleasant burble, gradually transforming into a satisfying growl and then an exciting roar. It’s a shame that the supercharger whine is much harder to hear than on earlier iterations of this engine, which were made as long ago as 1996.
Owing to the near saturation of turbocharged engines in the performance car world, the throttle response of this supercharged unit is quite startling initially. There’s a nice, linear sweep as the engine spins up to its redline, at which point an eight-speed automatic gearbox swiftly swaps cogs with a certain degree of aggression, if not quite providing the full punch-in-the-back shift experience of the R75. It’s a slick transmission for the most part, but you do get the occasional shunt during lower-speed shifts around town.
Fast, sweeping corners are the F-Type’s friend. There, you can enjoy the natural-feeling, well-weighted steering, and the expertly judged ride/handling balance. The P450 75 is noticeably softer than the R75, deftly soaking up imperfections in the tarmac while remaining stiff enough to corner with little body roll.
This plays to the F-Type’s strengths, as it’s more of a sporty grand tourer than a proper sports car, as revealed in tighter corners. There, the car’s heavy front end makes the F-Type feel cumbersome. The four-cylinder version with its considerably lighter nose offers a potential solution but at the expense of that wonderful and rare-in-2023 soundtrack.
At the other end of the car, traction is impressive, and it’s only with heavier throttle inputs that the back does start to move around. With no boosty mid-range delivery as experienced in a lot of turbocharged performance cars, a rear-wheel drive layout doesn’t make the P450 75 unpredictable to drive on the limit. Unless all-weather performance is important to you, the £5,000 pricier all-wheel drive version doesn’t seem necessary.
When you aren’t looking to test the limits of grip and traction, the F-Type becomes a relaxing cruiser thanks to its smooth ride. The convertible does a good job of keeping its occupants protected from heavy blasts of air, and the folding fabric roof keeps you sufficiently insulated when raised - a process that takes 12 seconds and can be completed at speeds of up to 30mph.
The cabin is a mixed bag. The overall design still works well, particularly with the large centre console and its passenger grab handle giving a ‘wraparound’ feeling for the driver, and the motorised central vent pod - which rises from the dashboard - still has a certain wow factor. But there are cheaper-feeling parts, and elements that really date the car, especially the clunky infotainment system, which is a much older setup than JLR’s current ‘Pivi Pro’ unit. The interior is also spec sensitive - for instance, it’s easier to gloss over the less successful elements when the F-Type is trimmed in tan leather, as opposed to ebony, which results in a gloomier space.
While the 75 doesn’t do anything fundamentally different to the previous model year F-Types, Jaguar’s tweaks are all things we can appreciate, particularly as the P450 remains good value. At £84,125 in rear-drive convertible form, it significantly undercuts the admittedly sharper driving but nowhere near as pretty, Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet. The cheapest one of those is now £107,000, and you’ll be able to buy 911s for years to come. With the F-Type, the clock is ticking. Get one while you still can.
|Jaguar F-Type Convertible P450 75
|5.0-litre supercharged V8
|Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
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