Gorgeous 2020 Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato debuts online

2020 Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato
The beautiful new DBS GT Zagato promises brilliant performance and a level of exclusivity few Canadians can enjoy. (Photo: Aston Martin)

If you’re hoping to take delivery of a new 2020 Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato, you’ve already made your deposit and accepted that you won’t just be purchasing one car, but actually buying two. 

The new model made its online debut this week, sporting three stunning vantage points thanks to a very talented artist, and despite only seeing graphic renderings with no physical preproduction example available, 19 well-to-do investors anted up sizeable deposits for a set of cars that will set them back a total of $9.8 million CAD (£6 million GBP). 

To clarify, the breathtakingly beautiful 1960s-style DB4 GT Zagato drawn into the background of each photo comes as part of the near $10 million package, the two cars making up Aston Martin’s “DBZ Centenary Collection.” The more contemporary model is actually based on the already impressive DBS Superleggera, a car that shoehorns a big twin-turbo 5.2-litre V12 engine under its long, elegant, shapely hood, this motor good for a supercar-like 715 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. 

So far we haven’t been told anything about engine specifications regarding the new DBS GT Zagato, but we should expect at least as much performance as offered in the DBS Superleggera, and also consider that more might be coming thanks to the original ‘60s-era DB4 GT Zagato providing a great deal more at the rear wheels than the standard DB4. Still, no matter the powertrain behind the upcoming Aston’s massive new grille, all of its additional attributes are worthy of your attention. 

2020 Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato
The car you can barely see in the background comes as part of the package for just under $10 million CAD. (Photo: Aston Martin)

For starters, it’s clear Aston wanted the new DBS GT Zagato to show a direct lineage to the outgoing Vanquish Zagato that arrived four years ago. They even painting both launch models in the same eye-arresting metallic red, while adorning key exterior accents in metallic gold, even painting the 20-inch twin-five-spoke alloy rims in the same rich hue. 

Additional styling elements adopted from old to new include the big front grille noted a moment ago, plus the double-bump floating-type black roof, a bulging set of rear fenders, and “rocket booster” style tail lamps, yet while the DBS GT Zagato nods to its predecessor with respect, there’s no denying it’s an entirely new model that shares little with the past. Specifically, the DBS Superleggera that underpins the new car has hard points that can’t be unseen, particularly its longer and lower shape that wows with plenty more folds and creases than the car from four years ago. 

Also interesting from a design and functional perspective, is the gold-painted active front grille that incorporates an insert comprised of 108 separate carbon fibre components. When turned off the DBS GT Zagato looks as if its grille is little more than a patterned panel without an opening, but then when the engine is fired up the many tiny segments open up for engine ventilation, this process making the grille appear as if it “flutters” in the wind, said Aston. 

2020 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
This DB4 GT Zagato comes as part of the two-car package. (Photo: Aston Martin)

Yet more interesting details include angularly sculpted side vents highlighted with more gold trim, while the rocker panels just below don’t extend outward with Aston’s usual carbon fibre side sills, but instead get neatly rolled under the car like classic models did half a century ago. 

Unlike the ovoid headlamps found on the Vanquish Zagato, the new clusters are more in line with today’s Aston Martin design language, while the artfully constructed taillights sit on the outer edges of a large horizontal carbon fibre panel at back, which visually hovers over an even bigger working carbon fibre diffuser under the rear bumper. 

Carbon fibre gets used for the roof panel too, but the DBS GT Zagato doesn’t merely top itself off with any old hardtop. It gets a single section of CFRP that stretches from the top of the windshield to the forward edge of the rear deck lid, while the roof’s aforementioned twin-bubble design made even more unorthodox by not including a rear window or even a set of louvres for rearward visibility. Instead, Aston added a backup camera within a digital rearview mirror, which potentially has the ability to cover much more area than a conventional mirror would allow for. 

2020 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
This two-car approach is strictly designed for collectors. (Photo: Aston Martin)

When your new DBS GT Zagato arrives at your local Aston Martin dealership next year, either bring along a friend or hire a flatbed driver to pick up your DB4 GT Zagato as well. This gorgeous classic was first shown in France at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last month, and is the newest in a growing line of continuation cars that was initiated with 25 examples of the DB4 GT Continuation in 2017, which retailed for $2.4 million CAD (£1.5 million), followed by another 25 Goldfinger DB5 Continuation models, which, as you may have just guessed, are exact replicas of the star-car that instantly became famous in the 1964 007 classic Goldfinger. It features all the innovative weapons and active armour the original offered James Bond (less any explosive charges or an actual ejecting passenger seat), so its no wonder this model sold out quickly.  

The Goldfinger DB5 Continuation will be delivered in 2020, by the way, just like the two new DBS GT Zagato and DB4 GT Zagato models described in this news story, but for only $4.5 million CAD (£2.75 million) each. 

While all of these prices are without doubt unreachable for the majority of Canadians, those who can afford this lofty point of entry aren’t merely throwing their money away. In fact, some might even see these cars as investments, especially when considering prices paid for earlier examples. For instance, a 1962 DB4 GT Zagato was purchased for $15.4 million CAD (£9.45 million) a few years ago, and that wasn’t even the highest price paid. 

2020 Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato
How would you like to have these two Aston Martin Zagatos in your garage? (Photo: Aston Martin)

Thanks to some unused chassis allocation numbers, Aston Martin produced four more DB4 GT Zagatos in 1988, these given “Sanction II” designations, and then a dozen years later in 2000 the British carmaker built an additional pair of these “Sanction II” specified cars with a unique “Sanction III” designation, and these two models fetched $18.6 million CAD ($14,300,000 USD) in 2015 and $16.5 million CAD (£10,081,500) in 2018 apiece, which made them two of the highest priced cars to ever roll across an auction block. 

It would be irresponsible for any of the 19 new DB4 GT Zagato owners to speculate on the future value of their cars, of course, yet the just noted past success of these highly sought after classics might make them better bets than many other rolling collectibles, and who knows? If one day they can sell their DB4 GT Zagatos for $10 million or more, they may end up paying nothing at all for the fabulous new 2020 DBS GT Zagato. 

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann 

Photo credits: Aston Martin

New 911 Speedster pays tribute to Porsche’s storied motorsport past

2019 Porsche 911 Speedster
The new 911 Speedster has a very unique look from up front. (Photo: Porsche)

Last year, Porsche celebrated its 70th anniversary by producing the one-off 911 Speedster Concept, a beautiful modernization of its first-ever model, the 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster from 1948. This sent the motoring press and many fans of the brand into an uproar about future production, resulting in the 2019 911 Speedster seen here. 

The Speedster is now available to order from you local Porsche retailer for just $312,500, a mere $149,200 more than the 911 GT3 Coupe that it’s based on. And yes, that means the all-new Speedster rides on outgoing 991 hardware, not the upcoming 2020 911 (992) that’s been top of the news headlines lately. 

We’re guessing the exclusive club of 1,948 buyers receiving their limited edition Speedsters toward the end of 2019 won’t care one whit about which chassis it rides on, chiefly because the Speedster is gorgeous and 991 underpinnings have been arguably Porsche’s best yet, at least when uprated to GT3 or GT2 guise. 

2019 Porsche 911 Speedster
The 911 Speedster’s rear design is even more distinct, the model shown here with its special Heritage Package. (Photo: Porsche)

Also notable, the renewed GT3 Coupe won’t arrive in 992 form for quite some time, and therefore the only way you’re going to get your hands on a 500-plus horsepower 4.0-litre flat-six crammed aft of the rear axle, capable of a screaming 9,000-rpm redline and generous 346 lb-ft of torque, is to opt for a current GT3 or choose the instantly collectable 911 Speedster, the newer model in fact good for a minor increase to 502 horsepower thanks to throttle bodies added from the GT3 R race car. 

The results of all this go-fast tech is a 4.0-second run from zero to 100km/h, which is just 0.1 seconds off the GT3’s pace, while its terminal velocity is 310 km/h, a mere 10 km/h slower than the GT3, despite not having its massive rear wing. 

What’s more, when you factor in that the Speedster only provides Porsche’s GT Sport six-speed manual transmission, which is also pulled from the GT3 and shaves four kilos from the seven-speed manual used for the regular 911, that standstill sprint to 100km/h score is even more amazing, because Porsche’s paddle shift-actuated dual-clutch PDK automated transmission is always quicker. 

2019 Porsche 911 Speedster
The Speedster includes a six-speed manual gearbox from the GT3. (Photo: Porsche)

Together with the GT3 powertrain, which comes with dynamic engine mounts from the GT3 by the way, the Speedster utilizes the supercar-beating model’s uprated chassis that incorporates a uniquely calibrated rear axle steering system, although this is where similarities between the two Porsche models end, because body mods are so significant that it’s hard to tell whether the two cars have much of anything in common. These include lower cut front and side windows, twin “streamliners” shaped from carbon fibre on the rear deck, these completely consuming the rear seating area, carbon fibre composite front fenders and hood, front and rear fascias formed from polyurethane, plus a lightweight manual fabric top. 

It was smart for Porsche to upgrade the roof for easier day-to-day usability, as the concept only featured a button-down tonneau cover that would’ve caused nothing but aggravation to its potential owners, while the automaker also deleted the “X” markings on the headlamp lenses that stylistically reminded history buffs about the tape once used to make sure broken glass didn’t end up on the racetrack to puncture tires; the removal of the 1950s-type aluminum fuel filler cap on the concept’s hood for fast refueling of the gas tank below; plus replacement of the Talbot mirror housings that were popular back when the 356 was around, to stock side mirrors. 

Fans of that now highly collectible classic 356 will no doubt be happy that Porsche left the gold-coloured “Speedster” lettering on the thick B-pillars and rear engine cover unmolested, but this said you’ll need to add a special upgrade package (see below) to get them. 

2019 Porsche 911 Speedster
The regular Speedster gets a modern look… (Photo: Porsche)

All the carbon fibre mentioned earlier should make it clear that Porsche wanted its Speedster to be as light as possible, with the premium brand even going so far as to delete the stereo and air conditioning in base trim (they’re optional), but with a focus on performance they added a standard set of beefed up, lighter weight carbon ceramic brakes, boasting bright yellow six-piston aluminum monobloc fixed calipers in the front and four-piston aluminium monobloc fixed calipers at back, these slicing a whopping 50 percent of weight from the regular 911’s cast iron rotors. Ringing those brakes are centre-lock Satin Black-painted 20-inch alloy wheels on Ultra High Performance (UHP) tires, aiding grip even further. 

Looking inside, the Speedster includes lighter weight door panels with storage nets and door pulls, plus the standard black leather can be improved with red stitching on the instrument panel and headrests with embroidered “Speedster” lettering. The door pulls come in red with the upgrade, while Porsche adds a unique GT Sport steering wheel infused with a red centre marker at the 12 o’clock marker. The Speedster interior also features a beautiful carbon fibre shift knob, and carbon fibre doorsill kick plates with “Speedster” monikers. 

2019 Porsche 911 Speedster
While the Heritage Package more classic touches. (Photo: Porsche)

Those attracted to the new 911 Speedster for its classic proportions and design can opt for a special Heritage Design Package that comes much closer to last year’s concept and ‘50s-era 356 Speedsters. The upgrade adds white front bumper and fender “arrows” on top of GT Silver Metallic paint, while this is how you get the aforementioned gold Speedster lettering too, plus classic Porsche crests. Also, the door-mounted racing-style number stickers can be removed if you don’t like them, but then again if you choose to keep them you can also include your own personal number. Lastly, the upgraded Heritage interior gets two-tone leather with classic Porsche crests sewn onto the headrests, plus body-colour trim gets added to the dash and seatbacks. 

If the new 911 Speedster sounds like your kind of car, be sure to call your local Porsche dealer quickly, and while you’re waiting for delivery of this ultimate drop-top, enjoy a couple of videos below:
 
 
The new Porsche 911 Speedster: First Driving Footage (1:13):
 

 
The new Porsche 911 Speedster: Highlight Film (2:10):
 

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann  

Photo credits: Porsche

2019 Jaguar F-Type Coupe SVR Road Test

2019 Jaguar F-Type Coupe SVR
Tell me that the Jaguar F-Type Coupe SVR isn’t gorgeous. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

I’m not going to lie to you. As curious as I am to spend a given week with seriously important big market cars like the recently redesigned Toyota Corolla, and as interested as I am to find out how far I can go on a single charge with Kia’s latest Soul EV, nothing gets me out of my editor’s chair as quickly or as enthusiastically as a hopped up muscle car, a high-revving super-exotic, or something along the lines of Jaguar’s F-Type SVR, which might be the perfect combination of both. 

Regular readers will remember that I spent a blissful week with this very same car last year in its more eye-arresting Ultra Blue paintwork, so having this 2019 model gifted to me for yet another seven heavenly days was a welcome surprise made better due to its stealth Santorini Black bodywork that thankfully doesn’t attract quite as much attention. 

It’s not that I was embarrassed to be seen in it, quite the opposite of course, but rather that this car coaxes my most juvenile impulses from their hardly deep recesses all too easily, which can quickly get a person deep into trouble. 

2019 Jaguar F-Type Coupe SVR
What can we say? Simply stunning. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

How quickly? Well that depends on whether you’re thrown into a stupor or moved into action when first laying eyes on the F-Type SVR, as well as which sense moves you most. If you’re visually stimulated first and foremost, you might be stopped dead in your tracks as soon as it comes into view, but then again if your receptors respond more to an auditory trigger you’ll move right past first sight to initial startup, resulting in the rasp of one of the more sensational exhaust notes in autodom, which will either send you to the moon in a momentary daze or turn you toward the street to put some of that wound up energy to good use. 

I’m jaded, or maybe it’s just that experience tells me not to waste a moment gawking inanely at something I can relive later in pictures. Certainly one can recall memories of moments well spent, but the more one collects such moments makes recalling them a helluvalot easier. A quick glance of appreciation, out of respect, immediately followed by a quicker descent into a familiar body hug, the SVR’s performance seats are as wholly enveloping as they’re sinfully comfortable. Foot on brake pedal, finger on start button, mechanical machinations ignited and ahhh… glory hallelujah! What a sound! 

2019 Jaguar F-Type Coupe SVR
We’re loving the finely crafted details. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Nothing roadworthy this side of an XJR-15 sounds as brutally raw, as purely visceral as an F-Type SVR being brought to life, that is until you’ve given the throttle a few more blips after opening up its two-mode titanium and Inconel active exhaust system via a wee little console-mounted button that makes a great big noise. Any sort of right foot twitch capable of spinning the crank above 4,000 revolutions per minute lets loose a cacophony of crackling barks and blats, the kind of song that’ll have gearheads singing along in dissonant unity, and zero emissions folks sneering. 

Allowing spent gases to exit more freely isn’t exactly the Tesla mantra, and to think the minds behind this wondrous high-test glutton are the very crew responsible for the Model X-beating I-Pace (well, it beats the entry-level Tesla crossover, at least). We’ve all got to love the bizarre dichotomy running rampant in today’s automotive market, where the cars we all lust after are paying for the ones that government mandates are forcing down our throats. 

Of course, thanks to companies like Jaguar and Tesla we’re all beginning to realize that going electric isn’t the end of motorized fun, but potentially a new beginning. Could there be an electrified F-Type in our future? Likely, and it’ll be the quickest Jaguar sports car ever. Still, the good folks at Castle Bromwich will need to expend terahertz levels of energy in their artificial sound lab to recreate the auditory ecstasy this SVR composes. Let’s hope they succeed, because we all know that as sensational as this 5.0-litre supercharged V8 sounds, and as fabulously fast as this Jaguar becomes when powered by it, the still impressive yet nevertheless 23-year-old AJ-8 power unit’s days are numbered. 

2019 Jaguar F-Type Coupe SVR
Richly attired and it fits like a glove, the F-Type SVR delivers big in performance luxury. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

As it is, this 575 horsepower beast catapults from naught to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds before attaining the seemingly unattainable terminal velocity of 322 km/h (200 mph)—that’s 1.1 seconds quicker and 122 km/h (75.8 mph) faster than the I-Pace, in case you were wondering. Certainly a driver’s license would be unobtainable for the remainder of my sorry life if I were so foolish as to attempt the former speed on public roads, and being that no such track is long enough within close proximity of my home we’ll all just need to take Jaguar’s word for it. Suffice to say that zero to all other cars at the stoplight looking like tiny coloured dots happens all of a shockingly sudden, so you’d better gather your stunned thoughts, get into the game and prepare for upcoming corners or you’ll fast be shuffled off this mortal coil. 

Fortunately the F-Type SVR manages all roads serpentine as easily as it’s guided down the straight and narrow, its brilliantly quick-shifting eight-speed automatic as ideally suited to flicking up through the gears as for rev-matched downshifts. Remember when I mentioned muscle car credentials earlier? That was strictly referencing the engine, its prowess over undulating, curving backroads the stuff of mid-engine exotica. Just look at the meaty 305-section Pirelli P-Zero rubber at back and plentiful 265/35s up front, both ends supported by the lightweight aluminum chassis and riveted, bonded body shell noted earlier, and then factor in that suspension’s Adaptive Dynamics system, the electronic active rear differential, and the brake-sourced torque vectoring. Tap the carbon ceramic brakes to load up the front tires, enter the apex, add throttle and enjoy as the SVR’s backside locks into place while catapulting this leather-lined beast toward the next bend, a process I repeated over and over, as often as opportunity would allow. 

2019 Jaguar F-Type Coupe SVR
All F-Types get a new 10-inch touchscreen for 2019. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

All said, you’d think something as fabulously fast as the F-Type SVR would be a handful around town, but that’s where its exotic nature ends and more upright practicality enters. It’s actually a very comfortable coupe to spend time in, while visibility is quite good considering its sleek greenhouse and thick C pillars. The 12-way powered driver’s seat and steering column fit my long-legged, short torso five-foot-eight frame well, and due to much more movement in all directions should provide good adjustability for all sorts of body types, and I certainly had no complaints from my various co-drivers. 

On the practicality question, Jaguar provides a large hatch opening for loading in all kinds of gear, with up to 408 litres (14.4 cubic feet) in total and about half that below the removable hard cargo cover. It’s beautifully finished, as one would expect in this class, but remember that unlike the old XK the F-Type is strictly a two-seater with no rear seats to fold, so there’s no way you’ll be able to fit skis or any other long items aboard, unless you slot them down the middle between driver and front passenger. 

I remember stuffing my significant other and kids into an XKR coupe years ago, and while its 2+2 grand touring profile wasn’t carried forward into the F-Type’s design, the interior’s fine workmanship and beautiful attention to detail continues. In fact, I’d say this SVR’s cabin is even better, with rich red stitching and piping providing colour to the otherwise black Suedecloth and quilted leather surfaces, while its electronic interfaces are beyond comparison. 

2019 Jaguar F-Type Coupe SVR
The 8-speed auto provides ultra-quick shifts, while paddles make doing so easier. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Classic analogue dials flank a large 5.0-inch colour TFT multi-information display at centre, unchanged from past years, albeit the Touch Pro infotainment touchscreen on the centre stack is all new for 2019, growing from 8.0 to 10.0 inches in diameter and now flush-mounted without buttons down each side. It’s properly outfitted with navigation, a backup camera with active guidelines, Pro Services, InControl Apps, 770-watt 12- speaker Meridian surround audio, satellite and HD radio, and the list goes on, while Jaguar also added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for $300. 

You can get into a 2019 F-Type Coupe SVR for just $140,500, or go topless for an extra $3,000, either of which is a bargain when compared to the Porsche 911 Turbo that will set you back $43,700 more for the hardtop or an additional $54,700 for the drop-top. That easily pays for the aforementioned $13,260 Carbon Ceramic Brake Pack with plenty left over, which includes 398 millimetre rotors up front and 380 mm discs at back, plus massive yellow calipers encircled by a stunning set of 10-spoke 20-inch diamond-turned alloys. Plenty of options were included with my test car and a yet more, like LED headlights, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming centre and side mirrors, auto climate control, front and rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking, and lane keeping assist, comes standard, so make sure to check out all the 2019 F-Type trims, packages and options at CarCostCanada, not to mention rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. 

2019 Jaguar F-Type Coupe SVR
Gotta love the SVR’s sport seats. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

It’s difficult not to write an epic for such a phenomenal sports car, but instead of running on at the mouth I recommend you head to your local Jaguar retailer and ask them to start one up in the showroom or on the lot, turn on the switchable active exhaust, rev the throttle and then listen to the snap, crackle and pop of the exhaust. If you’re not raring to go for a drive after that, you might be better off moseying down the road to the Lexus store for a smooth, comfortable ride in ES 300 hybrid. 

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann 

Photo credits: Trevor Hofmann and Karen Tuggay 

2019 Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible Road Test

2019 Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible
The new Jaguar F-Type P300 is nearly $10,000 more affordable than the base F-Type in 2017. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Most will agree that Jaguar’s F-Type is one of the most beautiful sports cars to come along in decades, and this sentiment would be reason enough to make it one of the most popular cars in its class, which it is. Yet there’s a lot more to the F-Type’s success than jaw-dropping bodywork, from its lightweight aluminum construction that aids performance, supported by a wide variety of potent powertrain options, to its high quality luxuriously appointed interior, there are few cars that come close to matching the F-Type’s styling, capability or value. 

Yes, it might seem strange to be talking value with respect to a near-exotic sports car, but the F-Type, already an excellent buy throughout its initial four years of availability, became an even better deal since Jaguar installed its new in-house Ingenium 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine under its long, elegant hood for the 2018 model year. While the formidable turbocharged and direct-injected engine makes a very healthy 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, it provides a considerable economical edge over its V6- and V8-powered counterparts and all rivals, while a significantly reduced base price of $68,500 didn’t hurt matters either. 

2019 Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible
Still drop-dead gorgeous after all these years. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Last year’s starting point represented a $10k advantage over the F-Type’s previous base price, which resulted in a much more attainable point of entry and a whole new opportunity for Jaguar. In fact, the new F-Type P300 Coupe and Convertible instantly became prime 718 Cayman and Boxster competitors, whereas pricier more powerful F-Type trims, which include the 340 horsepower supercharged 3.0-litre V6 in base form, 380 horsepower supercharged 3.0-litre V6 with both base and R-Dynamic cars, 550 horsepower supercharged 5.0-litre V8 in R guise, and 575 horsepower version of the latter V8 in top-tier SVR trim for 2019, plus rear or all-wheel drive and six-speed manual or quick-shifting paddle-shift actuated eight-speed automatic transmissions, continue to fight it out with the Porsche 911 and others in the premium sports car segment, including plenty that cost hundreds of thousands more. 

The car in question in this review, however, is the 2019 F-Type P300, which starts at $69,500 in Coupe form and $72,500 as a Convertible this year. With close to 300 horsepower of lightweight turbocharged four-cylinder cradled between the front struts it should provide more than enough performance for plenty of sports car enthusiasts, especially when considering that key competitors like Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Alfa Romeo don’t offer anywhere near as much output from their entry-level four-cylinder sports models, with 220 horsepower for the TT, 241 for the SLC, 241 for the (2018) Z4, and 237 for the 4C, while F-Type P300 numbers line up right alongside Porsche’s dynamic duo that are good for 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque apiece. 

2019 Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible
The LED headlights are standard, but the 20-inch glossy black alloys are optional. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

If you’re wondering whether the F-Type P300’s performance will match your need for speed, it can zip from zero to 100km/h in just 5.7 seconds before attaining a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), and it feels even quicker with Dynamic sport mode engaged and its available active sport exhaust turned on. Jaguar makes its eight-speed Quickshift automatic standard in this rear-wheel driven model, and the steering wheel paddle assisted gearbox delivers super-fast shift intervals that combine with the brilliantly agile chassis to produce a wonderfully engaging seat-of-the-pants driving experience. 

The agile chassis just noted refers to a mostly aluminum suspension mounted to the bonded and riveted aluminum body structure noted at the beginning of this review, a lightweight and ultra-rigid construct that certainly isn’t the least expensive way to build a car, but results in satisfyingly capable handling no matter the corner the F-Type is being flung into. The stiffness of the monocoque allows Jaguar to dial out some of the suspension firmness that competitors are stuck with in order to manage similar cornering speeds, which allows this little two-seater to be as comfortable over uneven pavement as it’s enjoyable to drive fast. Specific to the P300, less mass over the front wheels from the mid-mounted four-cylinder aids steering ease and potential understeer, making this one of the best balanced sports cars I’ve driven in a very long time. 

2019 Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible
The classic styling of a soft-top suits the F-Type ideally, and this roof’s quality is impressive. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

My tester’s $2,550 optional Pirelli P-Zero ZR20s on glossy black split-spoke alloys certainly didn’t hurt matters, hooking up effortlessly after just that little bit of slip only a rear-wheel drivetrain can deliver when pushed hard through hairpins. What an absolute delight this car is. 

I love that it’s so quick when called up yet so effortlessly enjoyable to drive at all other times too. Even around town, where something more exotic can be downright tiresome, the F-Type is totally content to whisk driver and passenger away in quiet comfort. It helps that its interior is finished so nicely, with soft-touch high-grade synthetic or leather surfacing most everywhere that’s not covered in something even nicer, the cabin accented in elegant satin-finish aluminum and sporty red contrast stitching throughout. 

The Windsor leather covered driver’s seat is multi-adjustable and plenty supportive too, while the leather-wrapped multi-function sport steering wheel provided enough rake and reach to ideally fit my long-legged, short-torso five-foot-eight frame resulting in an ideal driving position that maximizes comfort and control. I’m sure larger, taller folk would fit in just fine as well, thanks to plenty of fore and aft travel plus ample headroom when the tri-layer Thinsulate filled fabric top is powered into place, a process that takes just 12 seconds at speeds of up to 50 km/h no matter whether raising or lowering. 

2019 Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible
Fit, finish and Jaguar’s choice of materials set the F-Pace apart from many competitors. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Doing the latter doesn’t infringe on trunk space, incidentally, which measures 200 litres (7.0 cubic feet) and is a bit awkward in layout. If you want more I’d recommend the F-Type Coupe that has one of the largest cargo compartments in the luxury sports car class at 308 litres (10.9 cu ft) with the cargo cover in place and 408 litres (14.4 cu ft) with it removed. 

Back in the driver’s seat, Jaguar provides a classic dual-dial analogue gauge cluster centered by a sizeable colour TFT multi-information display, which while not as advanced as some fully digital driver displays on the market is probably more appropriate for a sports car that focuses on performance. 

The big change for 2019 was the addition of a 10-inch Touch Pro infotainment display, which replaces the 8.0-inch centre touchscreen used previously. Its larger size makes for a more modern look, while it’s certainly easier to make out obstacles on the reverse camera. The larger screen benefits all functions, with the navigation system’s map more appealing and easier to pinch and swipe, and only the home menu’s quadrant of quick-access feature not making use of all the available space (a larger photo of the classic red British phone booth would be nice). 

2019 Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible
The mostly analogue gauge cluster gets this particularly well designed multi-information display at centre. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The standard audio system is from Meridian and makes 380 watts for very good sound quality, while additional standard features include pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, automatic climate control, powered seats, and leather upholstery on the inside, plus 18-inch alloys, LED headlights with LED signature lighting, rear parking sensors, a powered retractable rear spoiler, and more on the outside. 

The Windsor leather and contrast stitching noted earlier came as part of a $2,250 interior upgrade package that improves the upholstery overtop special performance seats while finishing the top of the instrument panel, console and door trim in the same Windsor leather for a thoroughly luxurious experience, while my tester’s heated steering wheel and heated seat cushions come as part of a $1,530 Climate pack, with an extra $300 adding ventilated seats to the mix if you prefer, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration was added for an additional $300. 

2019 Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible
The new standard 10-inch infotainment display makes the backup camera better than ever. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Lastly, proximity-sensing keyless access made entering and exiting more convenient for $620, heatable auto-dimming side mirrors with memory made nighttime travel easier on the eyes for just $210, as did automatic high beams for oncoming traffic at $260, whereas blind spot assist might have definitely proved worthwhile at $500, as would front parking sensors at $290, while the aforementioned switchable active exhaust system was well worth the investment for another $260. 

Incidentally, all prices were sourced right here at CarCostCanada, where you’ll find pricing on trims, packages and individual options down to the minutest detail, plus otherwise hard to find manufacturer rebate information as well as dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands when negotiating your deal. 

At the risk of this sports car review becoming terminally practical, the F-Type P300’s fuel economy is so good it deserves mention too, with both Coupe and as-tested Convertible achieving a claimed 10.2 L/100km in the city, 7.8 on the highway and 9.2 combined, which beats all Porsche 718 and 911 variants by a long shot, not to mention hybrid sports cars like Acura’s new NSX. 

2019 Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible
We recommend spending a little more on these performance seats. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Of course, F-Type efficiency takes a back seat when moving up through the aforementioned trims, but the more potent V6 is still pretty reasonable at 11.9 L/100km city, 8.5 highway and 10.4 combined, at least when it’s mated to the automatic. This engine allows for a six-speed manual too, which isn’t quite as praiseworthy at 14.9, 9.8 and 12.6 respectively. 

Enough silliness, because we all know buyers in this class don’t care one iota about fuel economy despite all the effort that Jaguar puts into such regulatory concerns. The F-Type is really about titillating the five senses via near overwhelming visual stimulation when parked and endorphin releasing on-road acrobatics when active. Of course, 296 horsepower can’t excite to the same levels as 550 or 575, but this F-Type P300 is the perfect way to make each day more enjoyable without breaking the bank. It’s an affordable exotic that’s as worthy of the “Growler” emblem on its grille and wheel caps as the “Leaper” atop its rear deck lid. 

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press 

Photo credits: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press 

Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.