JAGUAR F-TYPE 2.0T
Scratching two pots sharpens F-type’s handling
Lighter turbo four pot sharpens price and handling
PORSCHE can clearly get away with a four-cylinder sports car, but can Jaguar? Based on initial impressions of the fourpot F-type, the answer is yes. Because when you jump in the new entry-level F-type, it quickly impresses with its agility, performance, and – to a certain extent – even its sound.
A four-cylinder F-type wasn’t in the original plan, but then along came Jaguar Land Rover’s new four-cylinder Ingenium engines.
“As soon as we started producing that engine, I knew we had to do this car,” says project boss Erol Mustafa.
The on-paper benefits of the allaluminium, direct-injection turbo four are solid: with 221kw/400nm, it loses out 29kw/50nm to the base V6, but fights back with a 52kg weight saving – about 90 percent of this down to the engine itself – and promises 16 percent better official economy, at 7.2L/100km.
After the supercharged response of other Fs, the lack of throttle immediacy detracts a little, but the turbo brings a perky hit of boost low down that makes the rear tyres feel like they’re grafting hard (without the help of an LSD) to transmit power, and there’s a lustiness to the midrange delivery too.
It feels natural to shift well short of the 5500rpm power peak, but the tightly stacked, punchy gear changes land you bang in the power band time and again; it’s easy to get in a cross-country flow.
Jaguar’s V6 and V8s sound like they’ll drown out a fireworks display with their pops, fizzes, and crackles, and any four was going to have a hard time following those acts. But there’s an energetic friskiness to the four- cylinder sound, and you still get the pops and crackles on the overrun. Avoid hanging onto high revs and the Ingenium 2.0-litre is really quite likeable. The handling benefits from fewer cylinders too, as does responsiveness, the four-pot F-Type's lighter nose diving into corners with precision and enthusiasm. There's also more adjustability off-throttle than the V6 models. Spring rates are dropped four percent front, three percent rear, but perhaps it's because adaptive dampers are off the menu that this F-Type rolls a little more freely, giving you extra options to play with the weight transfer. Shame the re-tuned electric power steering feels heavier, too keen to self-centre, and communicates so little road-surface information. A few flaws, perhaps, but it's hard not to fall for Jaguar's most affordable, least powerful F-Type. It's so promising it makes us wonder how a lighter, more potent 'clubsport' version would feel. Improbable, perhaps, but on this evidence it'd be quite a thing.
Model Jaguar F-type Coupe Engine 1997cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo Max power 221kw @ 5500rpm Max torque 400Nm @ 1500- 4500rpm Transmission 8- speed automatic Weight 1525kg 0-100km/ h 5.7sec ( claimed) Economy 7.2L/ 100km Price $ 107,300 On sale November