Until now, the Jaguar F-type has packed a choice of rasping 3.0 V6 or burbling 5.0 V8 under its generously sized bonnet. Now Jaguar has announced another, more modest option: a new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, from Jaguar Land Rover’s latest family of Ingenium engines.
A hairy-chested sports car with only four pots? That’s not macho enough for me
It’s no weakling: with 296bhp on tap, the new 1997cc petrol engine is the most powerful four-cylinder unit in a production Jaguar yet. With 148bhp per litre, it actually has the highest specific power output of the F-type range, and with 295lb ft of torque spread from 1500 to 4500rpm it should offer plenty of in-gear shove.
Whether it’ll offer a suitably goosepimply soundtrack to match is another matter, but Jaguar says its engineers have been hard at work on the intake and exhaust systems to get an authentically brusque F-type sound. Higher-spec R-Dynamic versions will come with a switchable active exhaust, while standard models will feature automatically opening valves to become more vocal above predetermined revs.
All F-types fitted with the 2.0-litre engine come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel-drive.
So this will be a cut-price entry point to F-type ownership?
Erm. Of sorts. The 2.0-litre four-pot F-type will start from £49,900 – still a sizeable chunk of cash, and only marginally undercutting the manual rear-drive V6 coupe which starts from around £52,265.
It’ll be cheaper to run, however, with combined fuel economy of 39.2mpg claimed to be a 16% improvement over the equivalent rwd V6, and CO2 emissions of 163g/km CO2, compared with 199g/km for the automatic V6 coupe and 255g/km for the equivalent V8 model.
How fast is the four-cylinder Jaguar F-type?
It’s brisk enough; 0-62mph takes 5.7sec, the same time as the manual rear-drive V6 coupe. For context, the auto V6 takes 5.3sec, and the all-wheel-drive version of the 550 horsepower V8 4.1sec.
Top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
Anything else new other than in the engine bay?
The F-type range as a whole has been given a minor brush-up for 2017 (on sale now, but confusingly called the 2018 Model Year range by Jaguar).
There are subtly redesigned bumpers, optional full LED headlights, slimmer seats, a much-improved touchscreen system and a suite of active safety systems including autonomous emergency braking.
The four-cylinder F-type is around 52kg lighter than the equivalent V6 model, and has had a subtle reduction in spring and damper rates to accommodate the reduction in corner weights. The electric power steering has been recalibrated slightly, too.
‘Most of the weight reduction is over the front axle, making the car beautifully balanced and really agile to drive,’ reckons Erol Mustafa, chief product engineer for Jaguar sports cars.
You can spot the four-pot F-type from the outside by its single exhaust outlet (V6 models get twin central tailpipes and V8s quad outboard ones) and its model-specific 18-inch wheels – although spanglier 19- and 20-inch rims are an option.
Why is Jaguar doing this?
The slightly lower price point and reduced running costs make the F-type range more accessible to more people, as well as lowering the overall CO2 average across the range. Porsche, don’t forget, has succumbed to pressure and gone four-cylinder in the Boxster and Cayman, too.
Smaller-capacity F-types will also be subject to less heavy taxation in certain overseas markets. The vast majority of cars sold in Europe as a whole have four cylinders, rather than six or eight.
Run me through the Jaguar F-type range as it now stands, then. I’m confused
Standard F-type and F-type R-Dynamic:
- 296bhp 2.0 4-cyl – rear-drive auto
- 296bhp 2.0 4-cyl – rear-drive auto
- 335bhp 3.0 V6 supercharged – rear-drive, manual or auto
- 375bhp 3.0 V6 supercharged – rear-drive (manual only) or all-wheel-drive (manual or auto)
F-type 400 Sport:
- 395bhp 3.0 V6 supercharged – rear-drive or all-wheel-drive, auto only
- 542bhp 5.0 V8 supercharged – all-wheel-drive, auto only
- 567bhp 5.0 V8 supercharged – all-wheel-drive, auto only
All of the above variants are available as either a coupe or convertible.