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First drive: Jaguar F-Type 2.0-litre Coupe. Image by Jaguar.

First drive: Jaguar F-Type 2.0-litre Coupe
Jaguar slots a four-pot into its sex-pot coupe. Itís still basically brilliant.

 



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Jaguar F-Type 2.0-litre Coupe

5 5 5 5 5

A combination of necessity (the need to reduce CO2 emissions) and rivalry (well, if Porsche is doing it...) has led Jaguar to fit a four-cylinder engine to its delectable F-Type sports car. The good news is that necessity and rivalry seem to make for a pretty good combination...

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Jaguar F-Type Coupe 2.0-litre 300 Quickshift
Price: £44,900
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body style: two-seat coupe
CO2 emissions: 163g/km
Combined economy: 39.1mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 5.7 seconds
Power: 300hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,500- to 4,500rpm

What's this?

Well, it's a Jaguar F-Type, obviously. Look at that pert coupe shape, the seemingly endless bonnet, the snug two-seat cabin and the roaring, feral, V6 or V8 engine that... erm... no, wait, what?

Yes, Jaguar has done the apparently unthinkable and fitted a four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine to its sexy two-seat sports car, following in the wheel tracks of Porsche's similar update for the 718 Cayman and Boxster. The snarling, snorting, V6 and V8 engines are still very much available, but the four-pot makes the F-Type a little more affordable (by about £3,000 compared to the base 340hp V6 model) and a lot more efficient (163g/km of CO2, official 39mpg on average).

You'll not really notice the change from the outside - Jag's chief designer Ian Callum and his team have made only the slightest of changes, and if you spot the new 18-inch alloy wheels and the single exhaust pipe exiting at the centre of the rear bumper, then you've clearly been to Specsavers. And probably the local anorak emporium. The rest is stock F-Type - so, gorgeous basically.

The cabin is also only barely altered. There are new seats, which are a little less bulky and therefore release a little more legroom, and there's a slightly updated Touch Pro infotainment system, which uses an eight-inch touchscreen as tested here. Jag has also updated the F-Type's safety systems, so that the autonomous emergency braking and the lane-keeping steering now feed off the same stereoscopic camera mounted behind the rear-view mirror, and there's now a driver drowsiness monitor to help keep you alert on those midnight runs to Geneva (Ed: people still do that in coupes, right?).

Oh, and of course there's the small matter of the 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine itself. It's part of Jaguar's (and Land Rover's) in-house-designed 'Ingenium' four-cylinder range, and as with all the other units is built in a recently-constructed factory in Wolverhampton. It's impressive in its tech specs, including low-friction ceramic bearings, a twin-scroll turbo nestled close to the cylinder head for improved responsiveness, clever electro-hydraulic camshafts for fully variable valve timing, and a high-pressure direct injection fuel system. That all adds up to a healthy 300hp, 400Nm of torque, alongside CO2 emissions of 163g/km and combined fuel economy of 39mpg. A cross-continent coupe you can crack 40mpg in? Sign us up...

How does it drive?

Really quite brilliantly, at least as far as we can tell on the Norwegian roads on which Jaguar let us test the car. Norway's speed limits are low and tightly enforced, so our opportunities to crack the throttle open were limited, but it was enough to learn that the F-Type remains a terrific car to drive. The four-cylinder engine means a weight reduction of 52kg, almost all of it from the front of the car, so Jaguar has reworked the spring rates, the damper settings and the steering calibration to suit. The four-pot F-Type is claimed to be more agile than the V6 or V8 model, but to be fair you'd probably need some graph paper and a scientific calculator to spot that - just take it that the four-cylinder F has the same responsive, communicative steering, the same poise and adjustability, the same keen-ness for corners and the same composed and comfortable ride as the bigger-hitting models.

Clearly, with less horsepower and torque, it's going to be less tail-happy than the V6 or (especially) V8 models, but on unfamiliar tarmac, spearing between pine trees and sprinkled with damp patches from morning showers, that was fine by me. I'm not Colin McRae re-born, thanks very much.

And it's not slow, either. OK, so 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds means you're going to get mullered away from the traffic lights by more than a few hot hatches, but thanks in part to its low-slung driving position and the somewhat suggestive up-and-down motions of that long bonnet (ahem, oooh vicar) the F-Type feels rather faster than the numbers suggest, and the combo of 400Nm of torque and that slick-shifting eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox (no manual option for the four-cylinder as yet) means that all but the most power-hungry will be satisfied here.

Ah, but what of the noise? This is where Porsche displeased so many with the 2.0-litre flat-four turbo fitted to the 718 Cayman and Boxster. Not enough volume, said the critics. Where's the old flat-six music gone, asked the purists? Why does it sound like a Beetle, queried a certain TV presenter? Personally, I didn't mind the new 718 engine's sound (rather like an old Impreza Turbo) and I certainly liked its 300hp and its real-world 40mpg economy, so bear that in mind when you read what I thought of the F-Type's musical performance.

So, it's a four-cylinder engine, which means that anyone expecting the same John-Williams-Conducts-The-Royal-Philharmonic-Orchestra sound is on a hiding to nothing, not least because the F-Type's V6 and V8 engines are amongst the loudest and most gloriously noisy engines you can buy. That said, Jag has tweaked the four-pot's sound effects as much as it can, and fitted a sports exhaust system as standard, and the result is not bad at all. Quieter and less dramatic than the V6, of course, but pleasantly purposeful, growly, and with a delightful overrun exhaust pop and burble when you're pressing on. Certainly sufficiently aurally entertaining for me, anyway.

Verdict

So, the F-Type four-cylinder is cheaper (slightly), more economical (quite a bit), more environmentally friendly (ditto), just as good to steer and drive around corners (oh yes) and looks every bit as good as the V6 and V8 models (most definitely). And the only price for all that is a slight reduction in volume and the removal of one or two trumpets from the mechanical orchestra that is the V6? To be honest, we're struggling to see much of a downside here...

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

3 3 3 3 3 Passenger Space

2 2 2 2 2 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Neil Briscoe - 2 Aug 2017









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2017 Jaguar F-Type Coupe. Image by Jaguar.2017 Jaguar F-Type Coupe. Image by Jaguar.2017 Jaguar F-Type Coupe. Image by Jaguar.2017 Jaguar F-Type Coupe. Image by Jaguar.2017 Jaguar F-Type Coupe. Image by Jaguar.

2017 Jaguar F-Type Coupe. Image by Jaguar.2017 Jaguar F-Type Coupe. Image by Jaguar.2017 Jaguar F-Type Coupe. Image by Jaguar.2017 Jaguar F-Type Coupe. Image by Jaguar.2017 Jaguar F-Type Coupe. Image by Jaguar.








 

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