F IS FOR FANTASTIC – JAGUAR F-TYPE 2.0-LITRE
Jaguar F-Type 2.0-litre
JAGUAR HAS BEEN VERY BUSY DEVELOPING THE LIKES OF THE F-PACE AND EAGERLY-AWAITED E-PACE SUVS IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, BUT THE BRAND WILL ALWAYS BE SYNONYMOUS WITH GORGEOUS SPORTS CARS. BERNIE HELLBERG ATTENDED THE LOCAL UNVEILING OF THE BRAND’S LATEST INCARNATION OF THE F-TYPE AT KYALAMI INTERNATIONAL RACE TRACK IN MIDRAND RECENTLY.
The F-Type sits at the heart of the Jaguar range, and until now had packed either a glorious-sounding V6 or burbling V8 engine under its rakish bonnet. But, in a move that might sound like heresy to some, the F-Type is now gifted with a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged engine as well, making it – ever so slightly – more attainable.
It’s not any old 2.0-litre lump either. With the new unit it’s the most powerful four-cylinder engine we’ve seen in a production Jaguar to date, delivering an impressive 221 kW.
Rear-wheel-drive only, and with an eight-speed automatic gearbox (there’s no manual option), the new engine will propel the F-Type from zero to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds, with a top speed electronically limited to 250 km/h. To put that in perspective, the auto V6 is only marginally quicker from a standing start, taking 5.3 seconds to hit 100 km/h.
It should be more affordable to run as well, says Jaguar, with a combined fuel economy of 7.2 l/100 km, which is a significant improvement of over the equivalent V6 (8.4 l/100 km) and CO2 emissions of 163 g/km compared with 199 g/km for the automatic V6 coupé.
Naturally, the trimmed-down F-Type – it is 52 kg lighter than the V6 – is lighter on the pocket too. The “entry-level” 2.0-litre
coupé starts at R914,202, as opposed to the cheapest 3.0-litreV6 which enters at R1,040,206, with the convertible adding R77,800 on top of the base price.
A REAL LOOKER
The F-Type has bags of presence, even when it’s standing still, with beautifully executed lines. It is, simply put, a fantastic-looking car. We drove the coupé at launch, but spending our own money, we’d probably go for the soft-top just for the sheer thrill of driving with the roof down.
The entire F-Type range gets some subtle styling tweaks, with redesigned bumpers and optional full LED headlights, while there are now slimmer seats and, for the 2.0-litre car, a singletailpipe exhaust.
There is also a range of driver-assist features available, including autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign-assist, lane keepassist, and Jaguar’s adaptive speed-limiter system.
Slide into the F-Type, and you feel adequately cocooned. Jaguar has managed to keep the interior of the F-Type uncluttered – the central air vents disappear into the dash when not required, and a frameless rear-view mirror adds to the premium feel.
The F-Type features Jaguar’s latest InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, providing control over navigation, music, phone, climate, and various additional driver aids.
The boot is pretty compact – more so in the convertible, where it’s just big enough for two overnight bags – so if you’ve got more stuff to pack in the back, you might want to go for the coupé.
Any such misgivings are forgotten, however, as soon as you press the start button and the F-Type fires into life.While there’s not quite the same drama as when you start the V6 or V8, it will still raise a smile.
We drove the R-Dynamic version, which sits on slightly larger 19” wheels, rather than the new, lightweight 18” wheels that come with the standard model, but more impor tantly comes with a switchable active exhaust. Flick it into Dynamic mode and that smile will grow into a grin as the F-Type growls and rumbles as you accelerate, then spits, and crackles resonate from the exhaust as you lift your foot off the pedal.
This aural experience has been enhanced – or manufactured, depending on how you want to look at it – by some ingenious sound augmentation that comes through the F-Type’s loudspeakers, but we’d take this over a more sedate exhaust note any day.
The Jaguar F-Type 2.0-litre is achingly gorgeous to look at, and Jaguar’s got it pretty much spot on with the engine at its heart as well. It produces a great (albeit enhanced) engine note and, while it might not be quite a match for the slightly pricier V6, it delivers an incredibly fun drive thanks to the F-Type’s lighter weight and tuned chassis. More agility for less money will always win in our books.