2014 Jaguar F-Type Convertible & 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony
We here at Autos.ca try to maintain our focus on affordable, practical cars. But every once in a while, a shiny new toy (or two) will come along that has us dropping everything and driving clear across the city just to drive around some more comparing notes. It’s not often the cars we line up are two of the most drop-dead sexy, engaging and beautiful-sounding convertibles on the market.
Much has been said about both the new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and 2014 Jaguar F-Type, but we’re not shy about piling on.
Although on the market since last summer, the F-Type is the new kid on the block, even if it seems to pick up where the E-Type left off in 1975. Wikipedia states: “Its combination of good looks, high performance and competitive pricing established the marque as an icon of 1960s motoring.” Well, it still has good looks and high performance, bringing to bear Ian Callum’s design skills and Jaguar’s technical mastery of aluminum and newfound investment in supercharged power.
The Corvette enters its seventh generation, in production continuously since 1953, but it too resurrects a nameplate from its past, now bearing the Stingray name and badge, not worn on Chevrolet’s (and America’s) sports car since 1976. Naming aside, the Corvette is an American icon with a long tradition of racing success, brilliant dynamics, gobs of power, great value and crap interiors and seats. Well, the seats and interior are finally up to the car’s dynamic prowess, and Chevrolet has taken the engineering to another level with an aluminum frame and adaptive magnetic suspension that they pioneered. And it’s still a great value.
So, when we had an opportunity during our week-long test drive of the Jaguar F-Type Convertible to pay a visit to GM headquarters in Oshawa and sample the Stingray Convertible on a warm, sunny afternoon, well, the result is what you see here in these pages.
It may seem unfair to pit cars at such disparate price points against each other (the Vette in the $80s and the Jag just over $110K all told), but these have to be two of the most desirable droptops of recent note, so we thought we’d find out which one kept the tightest hold on our hearts after a beautiful summer day’s drive.
Note that we only had the Corvette Stingray for the afternoon, and it was a pre-production model loaned to us especially for this comparison.
Yeah. So I’m supposed to say that one of these looks better. Ha! No question they look different, but better? I’m not touching that one with a 100-foot burnout.
The Jaguar is fresh and new, the modern design language Ian Callum has brought to the brand coming into its own, and a great opening act for the pièce de résistance, the F-Type Coupe. Yes, I’m a coupe man (I prefer the Corvette coupe to its convertible counterpart as well, so it’s all even in that regard, too), but that’s not to say the F-type droptop isn’t exquisite. The profile in particular is stunning, especially the back end, the way the trunk lid juts out slightly and then cuts back into the bumper. I also loved the fascinating rear light shapes and how they illuminate with a delicate LED spar underlining the en vogue cropped circle taillights and an elegant diffuser tucked under the bumper that looks sporting in contrasting black against the Firesand orange.
It’s modern, but seems almost subtle next to the hypermodern and technical Corvette, all Transformer angles and ready to slice through the air like some sort of robot samurai (I’ve been all about robot samurai lately). Its wide, low stance made us think that it is longer, wider and lower than the F-Type, and indeed it is in all respects but width.
|Dimensions of the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and Jaguar F-Type|
The back end has been criticized in parts, but when I look at it, I see a kind of superhero mask, something harsh and sinister as in The Watchmen rather than an older, traditional comic book series. It imparts a sense of brutality and power that reflect the car’s potency.
Although for overall looks I can’t declare an overall winner, the Jaguar wheels deserve a nod compared to the simple but stylish chrome forks of the Corvette. From a distance they seem to be black wheels with a contrasting silver outer ring, but upon closer inspection they feature five delicate black metal spokes with carbon-fibre spars wrapped around them like origami buttresses. However, both come with various wheel and tire options to suit your personal tastes and performance needs.