Three years after Jaguar first challenged the Porsche 911 with its F-Type Coupe, which is the best used proposition?
There was a lot of excitement when the Jaguar F-Type Coupe was announced in 2014. The plan – simple to conceive, incredibly difficult to execute – was to beat Porsche.
It didn’t quite manage it, but three years’ worth of depreciation later, a used F is suddenly very tempting.
These two cars prove that you don’t need big V8 or V10 engines to deliver supercar pace. The 3.4-litre Porsche somehow produces 345bhp without the aid of a turbocharger or a supercharger, and sounds amazing right up to 7000rpm and beyond. The optional sports exhaust is borderline anti-social.
Porsche 911 Carrera PDK
Engine size 3.4-litre petrol
List price when new £75,897
Price today £60,000
Torque 288lb ft
Top speed 178mph
Fuel economy 34.4mpg (Official average)
CO2 emissions 191g/km
By contrast, the Jag does have a supercharger, taking the 3.0-litre V6’s output beyond the 911’s to 375bhp, but its extra weight means it accelerates more slowly. It’s all relative: 0-60mph in 4.7sec is quick by any standards. The F-Type is even noisier than the Porsche, howling even during town toddling and popping on every throttle lift, particularly in Dynamic mode. This mode sharpens the throttle response and weights up the steering, but even so the Porsche tops the F-Type on twisty roads. Its extra lightness and stiffness means there’s none of the Jaguar’s pause before the front end reacts to steering inputs.
The Porsche rolls less through bends, too. It could do with more engaging steering, but you can’t question its accuracy or reassuring weight. The Jag has lighter but equally accurate steering, but an Audi R8 provides more feedback.
The F-Type’s eight-speed automatic gearbox works well, but isn’t at its most responsive when the driver takes control via the steering wheel paddles. The Porsche’s seven-speed PDK auto box responds instantly in either mode.
The 911 isn’t known for its great ride quality, but cars with the optional PASM adaptive suspension will actually be more comfy than the F-Type. You’ll still feel the bigger bumps through the Porsche’s firmer suspension but few will complain about the general ride of either car.
The 911 has a superb driving position and an equally fine cabin with lovely materials throughout. The Jaguar’s interior is more dramatic, with the heating vents humming up from the dash on startup, but its materials are a step behind the Porsche’s. Its seats aren’t as good either, and the touch-screen infotainment with its complex menus is not as nice to use as the Porsche’s intuitive screen- and rotary knob-controlled system.
Jaguar F-Type Coupe
Engine size 3.0-litre petrol
List price when new £60,250
Price today £39,000
Torque 339lb ft
Top speed 171mph
Fuel economy 32.1mpg (Official average)
CO2 emissions 209g/km
The Porsche has a pair of small rear seats that can be folded away to create a surprisingly usable cargo space to supplement the front compartment that will take one or two soft bags. The F-Type is a pure two-seater. Its shallow conventional boot has a useful secret space under the floor.
There’s a big difference between the used prices of same-age F-Types and 911s. The strong resale values that were initially predicted for the Jag haven’t come to pass, which is great news for used buyers as it brings early examples into play at under £40,000.
Of course, you can get a Porsche 911 for under £40,000, but it will be a much older or higher-mileage car, or possibly both.
There’s not much in it on running costs, with 34.4mpg for the Porsche and 32.1mpg for the Jag. The 911’s lower emissions results in a slightly lower annual tax bill of £270 compared to £295 for the F. As and when Jaguar adds the F-Type to its menu-priced servicing for cars three years of age and older, it’s a fair guess that its servicing will be somewhat cheaper than the Porsche’s.
Both marques are below average on the What Car? Reliability Index, with Jaguar slightly higher than Porsche.
Three years from launch, the F-Type still looks really sharp. The V6 S variant is a great choice in the range. It’s fun to drive and makes an amazing noise, but the really big plus is its used price. For £40,000 or so, we’d go for the Jaguar every time, despite its less than perfect gearbox.
Crank the budget up to £60,000 though, and a three-year-old 911 Carrera with average mileage becomes the best pick. The F-Type is undoubtedly great fun, but an 911 of this vintage is a level above it on handling and cross-country pace. It also feels classier and has more practicality.
£60,000 will get you a nearly-new F-Type but an older Porsche will deliver more satisfaction over time and hold its value better than a newer F-Type too. The 911 takes the win.
Price today is based on a 2014 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing