The Jaguar F-Type we’ve grown to know and love usually comes with a raucous V6 or V8 engine under the bonnet and plenty of noise to boot.
But as car companies are trying to make their models more economical while still providing the same performance, engines are shrinking so less models will come with larger units.
For this version of the F-Type though, Jaguar has fitted it a turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder block that still delivers plenty of performance and thrills but may not offer the same note F-Type fans have become accustomed to.
So, how does this version of the popular Jag sports convertible stack to its more potent versions? We take a look…
Well the four-cylinder unit doesn’t lack in the power and punch department, as it produces 296bhp and 400Nm of torque – more than enough for the everyday. All of that is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, with the sprint to 60mph over in a claimed 5.4 seconds. The top speed is 155mph, which – unless you’re on a track – you won’t really notice day-to-day.
With the smaller capacity compared to other F-Type engines, fuel economy is considerably improved with Jaguar claiming 39.2mpg. Emissions are also better, and when you think that it is a sports car, 163g/km CO2 is very respectable indeed.
Ride & Handling
The smaller engine also lends to a lighter car overall, as the difference between carrying the flat-four and a V6 means a 52kg weight reduction. Although it is still a heavy car overall, the F-Type with the four-cylinder block feels more direct on turn-in and more agile through a series of corners. There is a good level of sharpness with the steering and feels more manageable than the standard V6 and V8 duo.
By fitting the smaller engine, Jaguar has engineered the chassis to feel more suited to that unit, meaning it feels slightly less firm than before and is not a bad cruiser at all.
Interior & Equipment
Despite putting across the air of a premium manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover vehicles have always been a mixed bag in terms of interior quality, and the F-Type four-cylinder continues in that vein. The overall feel is good, aluminium trim is found throughout, and that complemented the dark-red folding roof found on our test vehicle.
For the interior of a two-seater sports car, adjustment was actually quite good, with the figure-hugging sports seats fitted to our test model also being heated. The steering column was adjustable too, so it wasn’t too difficult to find the right seating position.
The version we tested was in the R-Dynamic spec, which had a starting price of £59,980 and as standard it comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, an active sports exhaust – which did make a difference to the engine note when the car was pushed – and the gloss black design pack, with adaptive LED headlights and daytime running lights also included. You do also get an eight-inch colour touchscreen with a smooth-enough infotainment system, satellite navigation and a Meridian surround sound setup.
But the version we tested costs £67,320 thanks to optional extras, such as larger brakes – costing £2,290 – and red brake callipers, which aren’t a necessary addition.
The four-cylinder F-Type Convertible has a starting price of £56,280, which is a £5,500 premium over the coupe version. You are better off plumping for a mid-spec as you do get plenty of great features, but be wary of adding too many extras as the costs can spiral and resale values could be seriously down on what you might expect.
With the better fuel economy, stops at petrol stations will be fewer and further in between when compared to the V8 and V6 models, but don’t expect to save a lot on fuel costs.
For people looking for the sports car thrills but with lower running costs and less environmental impact, the four-cylinder F-Type makes a lot of sense. It’s got a lot of driving feel going for it and in many circumstances, is better to drive than the more powerful F-Type models. But the engine can detract from the excitement as it doesn’t thrill as much and can let the driving enthusiast down. But Jaguar has showcased that a smaller engine doesn’t necessarily mean less fun.
Model as tested: Jaguar F-Type four-cylinder
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol
Max speed: 155mph
0-60mph: 5.7 seconds