With the introduction of a new range of four-pot Ingenium engines, Jaguar had the opportunity to insert one into the F-Type and create a new entry-level variant to supplement the supercharged V6 and V8 models, dropping the base 3.0V6 SC in the process.
The 2.0 turbopetrol is 24kW down on the base V6, and 50Nm poorer but it’s also lighter. Moreover, peak torque is produced from 1500-4500rpm, whereas the 450Nm in the V6 variant chimed in from 3500rpm. We found the base V6 was slightly quicker, around 0.4sec 0-100 and just over 0.2sec for the overtake. Jaguar rates the four as a 5.7sec car which we found about right. The bonus, price aside, is a reduction in fuel use, with an overall figure of 7.2L/100km. Exercise your right foot and you can add 10L/100km to that figure though.
In NZ the base F-Type is now the P300 R-Dynamic model, which features external highlights in black, a switchable sports exhaust, LED headlights with DRLs, special treadplates, upgraded 19-inch alloys and aluminium trim on the centre console. The cost for this variant is just under $120k. That compares with $150k for the V6 S, now known as the P380 Coupe, and $165k for the Convertible. They’re capable of 0-100 in 4.9sec, supposedly, so the base car gives them a bit of a run for their money, both figuratively and literally. But would buyers be happy with a four-cylinder F-Type? Well, they are with 718 Cayman and that’s even more expensive.
Anyhow, this base F-Type is quick, all without apparent effort. And that’s especially the case when you dial up the Dynamic mode. In the Normal setting it feels pretty onto it, providing you’ve got about 3500-4000rpm showing but in the Dynamic mode there’s notably more zest in its peel. It feels much friskier, especially at lower revs. And the steering bones up too, as does the suspension. In Dynamic the ride is firm but not overly so, thanks to adaptive dynamics, helping to keep the car on the straight and narrow over lumpy roads. It’s easier going in Normal mode, though the 19s keep things a bit busy.
There’s evidently 50kg less weight over the nose with the IL4, so turn in rate has been dialed back slightly via a revised steering ratio. It still arcs for the apex though. This whipped through some of our reference corners about as quickly as anything we’ve driven lately. The front hangs on for grim death, the rear less so; at dry T intersections it will easily spin up the rears to help you steer in the direction you wish to go.
Helping it round up the corners are wide tracks, a short wheelbase, a low centre of gravity and a 51/49 weight split. It all comes together with a neutral to oversteery attitude in turns, depending on how quickly you jump back on the gas at the exit, so the TC light twinkles bright if you’re a bit early and enthusiastic with nailing the throttle out of corners.
And it makes an interesting noise doing so. The standard fit sports exhaust you can thank for that, with loud banging noises on a trailing throttle, like there’s something clanging in the boot. Speaking of which, virtually every mm of space in the hold is taken up by a space saver spare, so best to option the tyre repair kit. Because the sports exhaust is switchable too, it isn’t too loud when you don’t want it to be. And road noise, which used to be excessive on the top models, is a relatively modest (for a sportscar) 74dB overall in this the base F-Type.
Pick the P300 model by its large oblong centrally exiting dual exhaust. All part of the visual theatre, and this is still a treat to behold, especially with the R-Dynamics bits and pieces. Inside there’s plenty of drama too, the pulsating red starter button, and in Dynamic mode the instruments turn bloody as well. The driving position plumbs the depths, and there’s leather and suede trim, but lack of any lumbar adjust and active cruise are oversights in a car costing this much. The latter isn’t even available as an option. Moreover, dual zone air adds $800 and blind spot monitoring/RCTA are an extra $950. Standard on the car are sonar both ends, comfort entry and start, and lane departure warning and lane keeping.
Of questionable relevance, Jaguar recently registered the J-Type name. It’s unclear whether this is a replacement for the F-Type or it’s a new 2+2 GT, the XK revisited then. Regardless, rumours also suggest this new Jaguar sports car will be mid-engined. Interesting times for Jaguar.
|Model||Jaguar F-Type P300 Coupe|
|Engine||1997cc, IL4, T/DI, 221kW/400Nm|
|Drivetrain||8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive|