SMALLER ROAR SPELLS BIG THINGS FOR THE JAG F-TYPE COUPE

Some may protest the new 2.0-litre four-cylin­der engine re­duces the big cat’s roar, but it’s still a proper Jag, writes Jack Evans.

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - News - FIRST DRIVE BY JACK EVANS

WHAT IS IT? The F-type has formed a cru­cial part of Jaguar’s line-up for some time now, pro­vid­ing sports car looks and thrills to con­trast with the more prac­ti­cal ve­hi­cles in the Bri­tish man­u­fac­turer’s range.

Tra­di­tion­ally pow­ered by large, dy­namic en­gines, it has now been fit­ted with a smaller, more ef­fi­cient unit. Some may protest that the new 2.0-litre tur­bocharged In­ge­nium petrol engine doesn’t suit the Jag’s mus­cu­lar feel, but we’ve man­aged to get be­hind the wheel to as­sess whether such crit­i­cisms are de­served.

WHAT’S NEW? The big­gest change is that all-new engine. De­spite its rel­a­tively low ca­pac­ity, the four-cylin­der, 2.0-litre unit still man­ages to churn out 295bhp and a gen­uinely im­pres­sive 400Nm of torque.

The big­gest ben­e­fit of hav­ing a small engine is econ­omy, and the F-type is bang on the money in this re­spect, re­turn­ing 39.2mpg on a com­bined cy­cle – a re­duc­tion of more than 16 per cent com­pared with the V6-pow­ered F-type – and emit­ting just 163g/km CO2

There’s also a wider range of safety sys­tems fit­ted to this F-type, in­clud­ing au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, traf­fic sign recog­ni­tion and lane-keep as­sist.

The in­te­rior has been up­dated, too, with new light­weight sports seats and Jaguar’s lat­est Touch Pro in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, the lat­ter be­ing a huge step up in us­abil­ity and re­spon­sive­ness over the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion. As usual, the four cylin­der is avail­able in ei­ther the Coupe or Con­vert­ible F-types.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? The orig­i­nal F-type al­ways had a cer­tain mus­cle car feel­ing to it. That was most likely down to the tra­di­tional front-en­gined, rear­wheel-drive lay­out – though the all-wheel-drive ver­sions changed this – as well as the stocky and pow­er­ful pair of en­gines to choose be­tween.

On the face of it, the F-type has changed lit­tle. Sit be­hind the wheel and, yes, some el­e­ments of the cabin have changed and, yes, the light­weight slim sports seats do pro­vide a lit­tle more com­fort than the units they have re­placed. But you could be sat in pretty much any other F-type – un­til you start the engine, that is.

Whereas you’d usu­ally ex­pect the low grum­ble of a V8 or the crackle of a V6, you’re greeted by a much throat­ier hum than you think you’d get from a four-cylin­der. Bor­ing it ain’t.

Up and run­ning, the F-type feels a touch sharper than those pow­ered by ei­ther a V6 or V8. Turn in is very good, and the car feels more sprightly than be­fore.

This is due to the four-cylin­der’s 52kg weight sav­ing over the equiv­a­lent V6-pow­ered model, and you cer­tainly feel it. There’s next to no turbo lag, and the plen­ti­ful torque on of­fer means the car is re­lax­ing to drive when you want it to be, while ac­cel­er­a­tion still feels more than ad­e­quate for a sports car; it takes just 5.4 sec­onds to hit 60mph.

As re­gards sound, of course, the 2.0-litre was never go­ing to match the full-fat 5.0-litre V8 fit­ted to the F-type R for sheer au­ral drama, but it isn’t half bad. Plant the throt­tle and you’ll be re­warded with a gen­uinely sporty engine note. This is down to Jaguar’s spe­cific tun­ing of the ex­haust to max­imise its sound.

The F-type’s ride is also im­pres­sive, deal­ing ad­mirably with lumps and bumps in the road. The car’s spring rates at the front and rear have been re­duced to com­pen­sate for the over­all re­duc­tion in weight, and they’ve been tai­lored in just the right way, giv­ing enough sta­bil­ity through cor­ners or at higher speeds as well as plenty of ride com­fort at lower speeds.

HOW DOES IT LOOK? There’s no deny­ing the F-type is a pretty look­ing thing. Even now, de­spite go­ing on sale back in 2013, it still looks fresh on the road. Thanks to re­designed bumpers and new LED head­lights, it looks fresher still, while our test car’s Ul­tra Blue paint colour re­ally did make it an im­pres­sive car to look at.

The in­te­rior fea­tures some of the harder plas­tics that drew crit­i­cism of the older car, but all in all, it’s a well-ap­pointed, com­fort­able place to be. There’s plenty of alu­minium used through­out, while tan leather seats such as those fit­ted to our test car do won­ders at lift­ing the over­all feel of the car’s in­te­rior.

WHAT’S IT LIKE IN­SIDE? The in­side of the F-type four-cylin­der is much like that found in the stan­dard F-type.

That’s no bad thing, as its driver-fo­cused na­ture suits the over­all feel of the car. As be­fore, there are some harder plas­tics to be found lower down the ve­hi­cle, and the ro­tary gear se­lec­tor is start­ing to look a touch old, but it’s gen­er­ally a nice place to be.

Those slim­mer sports seats of­fer plenty of sup­port, too, and look no­tice­ably bet­ter than the older ones.

WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE? Prices for the F-type four-cylin­der start around the £49,000 mark. For that, you get an in­creased va­ri­ety of driver as­sis­tance sys­tems, adding to the car’s safety lev­els. Au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing comes fit­ted as stan­dard, and this sys­tem can de­tect a col­li­sion and ap­ply the brakes should it need to.

The Touch Pro in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is con­trolled via touch and is leagues bet­ter than the sys­tem it re­places, in­cor­po­rat­ing satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, me­dia con­nec­tiv­ity and Blue­tooth.

It also al­lows for pinch-to­zoom map con­trols – handy when try­ing to quickly find a des­ti­na­tion – as well as a ‘Com­mute’ mode that learns reg­u­lar jour­neys, then gives es­ti­mated ar­rival times in­clu­sive of traf­fic con­di­tions on the route.

VER­DICT Many diehard Jag fans won’t be en­thused by the idea of fit­ting an F-type with a 2.0-litre engine. How­ever, given its ad­di­tional poise and sharp­ness, as well as its added econ­omy lev­els, there’s no rea­son why this four-cylin­der shouldn’t be con­sid­ered a proper Jaguar.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.