We love Jaguar’s F-Type. To drive it is a raucous experience, to look at it is a pleasure, to listen to its supercharged V8 is to hear Zeus sling thunder from the heavens. It is an adrenaline junkie in a velvet evening jacket.
And so it was with extreme skepticism that we first heard the news that Jaguar would be declawing our beloved F-Type. The company wanted to create a more affordable version and, in doing so, announced it would put a dinky 2.0-litre, four-cylinder motor under the F-Type’s beautiful hood.
Upon glancing at its specifications, however, it appears this new little motor punches above its weight. With the aid of a turbocharger, it makes 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. That smaller motor helps the F-Type lose 52 kilograms, too. Press the starter button and this baby F-Type doesn’t roar to life exactly, but it does purr. When we found a twisty road, something felt different. The car turned into corners with less effort. There was a new-found delicacy to the way it handles. We were soon carrying far too much speed through tight turns. Maximum torque arrived with the needle indicating 1,500 rpm, picking up the car and throwing it out for corners. The eight-speed automatic (no manual, we’re sorry to report) made the most of the engine’s power.
Jaguar’s engineers tell us the smaller engine improves the front/rear weight distribution and allowed them to soften the springs and dampers by a few percentage points. That explains why this car flows over the road so effortlessly, and why it feels so adjustable mid-corner. It means the most affordable F-Type is, incredibly, perhaps the sweetest handling of the bunch. You’re less likely to risk losing your license in this one, too.
It turns out our skepticism was entirely without reason. The F-Type range now stretches from this $68,500 offering for beginners to the deranged, experts-only $139,500 SVR. The former has 296 horsepower, the latter nearly double, with 575, but both feel like proper Jaguars. There’s now a breadth to the F-Type range that shows just how right this sports car really is.
2.0-litre turbo L4