Jaguar delivers a more agile F-Type with a new 2.0-litre turbo engine
Up until now, the smallest engine you’ve been able to buy in a Jaguar F-Type has been a supercharged 3.0-litre V6. With this downsized 2.0-litre turbo, the company is promising a feistier, more youthful machine, one with a slightly lower list price yet, with 296bhp, not significantly less power than the V6s and V8s that also remain on sale.
And the fact this is not replacing the vee-engines, unlike as with the Porsche 718 Cayman, makes it easier to see this 2.0-litre four-cylinder Jag for what it is – lighter, more nimble, better balanced F-Type that, according to the engineers at least, is the new handling sweet spot of the range.
First impressions? You don’t get the dramatic start-up bark of the V6s and V8s, that’s for sure. But although the engine doesn’t sound as rich, a well-tuned exhaust compensates here. The active system growls under acceleration and pops when you lift off: although it doesn’t have the charisma of the others, it’s fine enough for a four-pot.
It’s hard to find fault with the power delivery either, with pull coming in from as low as 1,500rpm. You don’t need to rev it sky-high, which helps mask the engine’s ultimate lack of soul, and it feels perfectly quick enough when you let the swift eight-speed automatic do its work – even if the claimed 0-60mph time of 5.4 seconds in reality feels little faster than a Honda Civic Type R hot hatch.
Look beyond the engine response and other benefits of its lighter weight show up. The front end feels more nimble, the F-Type steers more cleanly and even the ride quality seems a bit less crashy. It’s generally just that bit sweeter, even if the otherwise pleasing steering does show up an odd tramlining effect under heavy braking.
Jaguar F-Type 2.0 i4 R-Dynamic
Engine: 4 cyls, 1997cc, turbo, petrol
Power: 296bhp at 5500rpm
Torque: 295lb ft at 1500-4500rpm
Gearbox: 8-spd automatic
Kerb weight: 1600kg
Top speed: 155mph
CO2/tax band: 163g/km, 31%
Maybe this was the Norwegian roads we were testing it on, maybe it was related to the fact we were driving a convertible F-Type rather than a coupe: either way, it was curious enough to be concerning. We’ll have to wait until we get it in the UK to see if we can replicate it.
Otherwise though, the 2.0-litre F-Type is a welcome surprise. Now on sale for less than £50,000, it’s a nicely-balanced, more agile car than its multi-cylinder brethren, still with ample power for most, and with an engine note at least burbly enough to please the majority.
It’s a fine example of downsizing and injecting a bit of youthfulness into the F-Type range. Even if, we suspect, many will still find the more mature vee-engined cars just that bit more appealing.