Los Angeles lives for the car. This isn’t a radical thing to say, but it is true. From sitting in traffic on the 405 to zipping through the tight curves of Mulholland or cruising through Beverly Hills and down Rodeo Drive, much of the city can only really be seen or appreciated from a motorized vehicle. If the subway is the soul of New York, the car is the soul of LA. And what you’re driving says an awful lot about you. In an era when Uber and Lyft aspire to be viable alternative in many cities, the simple reality is that in the sprawl and thrum of the City of Stars, they really aren’t.
I had the pleasure of experiencing Los Angeles from the driver’s seat of a silver 2018 Jaguar F-Type convertible this past summer. And when I say pleasure, I mean it. Over the course of a week—and some 12 hours give or take of sitting virtually stationary in the notorious traffic—I found the car to be exceedingly comfortable, well-designed and intuitive. It is luxurious without being plagued by gimmicks or sacrificing usability for the sake of appearance. And when I was able to unleash its 296 horsepower, along Mulholland for instance or during a tarmac-chewing trip up the PCH to Malibu (before it was decimated by fires), it tore down the road as if fueled by pure adrenaline. Indeed, the car has a 0-to-60 time of just 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 155. Fast for sure.
The F-Type also benefits from well-designed driving modes (select “Dynamic” for when you want to unleash the beast) and an unobtrusive auto-stop on the engine, a particularly valuable feature in a traffic-choked location. The roof can extend or retract at speeds of up to 30mph, providing flexibility and a sense of freedom. The standard Meridian Sound System delivers a flawless listening experience, and the built-in navigation suite is intuitive and provides generally good way-finding, even when taking traffic into account.
Of course, nothing is perfect. The usual caveats about two-seaters apply here: very little storage space, low to the ground so not good for geriatric knees, yada, yada, yada. But that’s kind of the point. The only real drawback isn’t even a drawback, at least not for me. In a city as car-centric as Los Angeles, the F-Type doesn’t attract the kind of stares that it would elsewhere, even in New York or Chicago, although it definitely looks and sounds fantastic.
Case in point: I drove it to a meeting in Century City and parked in the garage of a high-rise office building that plays host to a variety of high end entertainment companies, law firms and wealth managers. The exhaust rumbled satisfyingly. Driving deeper and deeper underground I passed, at first, your typical BMWs and Porsches. Then a Bentley or two. Then a classic, bright red Ferrari Testarossa. The F-Type, in this company, felt a bit low-key.
The reality is, although the F-Type is very, very stylish, it does not demand attention. It has class and a bit of charm, rather than ostentation. It’s not a car for those in search of bling or a statement piece. It’s a car for those who love driving and who want a sporty experience. On looks and performance, it stacks up well against the competition, and at $63,000, it is a steal. What does the F-Type say about you? Well, at a minimum, it communicates good taste and good instincts, seasoned with a sense of adventure.
2018 Jaguar F-Type Convertible, MSRP $63,000, jaguar.com