Flat-out in Britain’s Fiercest Cat


Jaguar has a storied history of building sporting convertibles of exquisite taste and refinement — lovely motorcars like the 1936 SS100, the 1961 E-Type Roadster, and the 1988 XJS Convertible. But there have been one or two outliers along the way — angry, noisy open-top cars like the singular 1966 XJ13 Le Mans racer and the fearsome 1957 XKSS, a barely muted roadgoing version of the D-Type endurance racer complete with a side-exit exhaust.

Top Gear’s Stephen Dobie recently savoured some seat time in just such a Jaguar: the new F-Type SVR Convertible. His thoughts? “It’s sodding loud.” With 567 horsepower from a 5-litre supercharged V8 and an eight-speed automatic transmission pushing that power through a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, the open-top F-Type SVR will howl from zero to 60mph in 3.5 seconds and push on all the way to a top speed of 195mph. But more than a mere muscle car, this cat is is balanced and beautifully sorted. It is, says Dobie, “a properly talented sports car, perhaps the most competent Jaguar has ever made.”

It’s not perfect, of course. The engine is a bit too thirsty, the fuel tank is a bit too small, and the boot is too puny “for proper continent crossing.” And yet, writes Dobie, “Nestled inside with the roof open, enjoying the sun or sheltering in the heated seat on a clear night, such sensible criticisms can be quickly shot down by the exhaust’s impish artillery fire.”