Lister is a British brand that has a history of building sports cars based on Jaguars. This has been happening since the 50s and Lister continues to build recreations of the successful Knobblys to this day. Along side, Lister have been tinkering with a couple of modern Jaguars, mainly the F-Type and F-Pace.
In 2018, Lister announced that they would be offering 99 Lister LFT models based on the Jaguar F-Type R, for sale. The changes did not appear to be significant – they were. To the naked eye, there were a few body panels that had been exaggerated. These include a sizeable front splitter, rear diffuser and some re-profiled air intakes, all of which are made of carbon fibre. The devilish connotations come courtesy of a boost in power to 666bhp and to help control the increase, the brakes and suspension were also uprated.
99 units not exclusive enough for you? Fear not, following the strong interest in the LFT, Lister announced the LFT-C, a convertible F-Type treated to the same tuning ad the LFT coupe. Just 10 would be built. There is one element of the project that seems particularly well suited to the convertible configuration – the exhaust.
To find out how the package works as a convertible and just how rude the exhaust really is, Lister offered me 48-hours behind the wheel of the LFT-C. First impressions are bold, as is the finish of the car. There are race car inspired roundels and an ever thickening racing stripe running the length of the car. The wheels are huge and sit tight under the wheel arches, the shorter suspension gives the car real stance and make a statement of intent. The LFT-C means business. It is still familiar F-Type, no bad thing as it remains one of the best looking cars to this day. Inside things, are again, recognisable, but with bespoke touches.
The standout feature is the stitching, yellow on black and sewn in an attractive style. There are no changes to the architecture, but the finish of the leather is far superior to that in the Jaguar on which it is based. Lister are keen to say that the choices of colours and finishes are near endless and that the only limitations are your imagination.
I strapped myself behind the (HUGE) steering wheel and what appears to be the only physical remaining Jaguar badge aside from the infotainment. Roof retracted, it was time to see what the Lister sounded like. Hint: If you’re in an enclosed space, such as a car park, be ready to scare innocent bystanders if you’ve pressed the loud exhaust button. The engine burst into life with a tremendous roar. Subtle – no, amusing – most certainly. Things are no quieter when you get moving, and it is wonderful.
Do not get me wrong, this is a car that is not for everyone. It may be painted black, but with its yellow highlights and anti-social exhaust, you cannot be someone that shies away from attention. Yes, you can leave the exhaust in quiet, but that is not why this car exists. It is designed to take a good car and make it something that makes you laugh, giggle and smile. Around town it turns heads and camera phones in abundance. Everyone within a few hundred meters can hear it coming and wants to know what it is and what the badge on it means.
Then you get out of town and start to appreciate more than its shouty exhaust and race inspired aesthetics. The power is impressive, it doesn’t feel like 666bhp to me as the car isn’t exactly Lotus light, but once you are in the upper echelons of the rev range, it does start to really pull as the supercharged 720Nms get to work. It gets off the line remarkably well, 0-60 mph is done in just 3.2-seconds thanks to a grippy getaway – the F-Type R on which the LFT-C is based sends power to all four wheels. This means that you can, on occasion and where legal, use all of that devilish power and the swelling torque. You will not be chasing lap times, but you will chase the redline in every gear to hear the V8 at full chat. Under full throttle it is difficult to articulate just how loud it is.
It is not just on power that it induces smiles, but on the brakes too. On downshifts the noises are, arguably, even more hilarious. It gargles on the overruns and there are comical pops that are so loud they can be heard streets away. The top speed suggests that my impression of it not feeling all that fast is off the mark…it will top out at a barmy 205mph (330km/h).
The Jaguar F-Type R was already an impressive piece of kit, the driving experience was dominated by the engine and that raucous exhaust note. Lister have taken that to new levels, but the car still works as a GT car that you can live with, as long as you can deal with the added attention, harsher ride and the painful scratching of the carbon splitter grating on tarmac. The changes are bespoke and they feel that little bit more special. Some of the finishing on the stitching is wonky, not ideal for an OCD plagued person such as I, but it adds charm. The levels of personalisation, Lister say, are near infinite. The base price for the LFT-C is £139,950.