Sub-£50k F-Type shows that you don’t need eight or even six cylinders for serious performance
Not so very long ago, the idea of a sporting Jaguar engine with any fewer than six cylinders would have been laughed out of the company board room.
Times change though, and Jaguar is now looking to take on cars like Porsche’s Boxster and Cayman at the more affordable end of the performance car market. The result is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder F-Type that Jaguar is describing as its “most dynamically capable, most performance-focused” model yet.
The 2.0-litre’s engine stats – 296bhp and a 295lb ft torque peak from just 1,500rpm – sound promising. So does a sub-£50,000 entry-level price. Judging by the passenger ride we’ve had in the new entry-level F-Type with Jaguar’s top engineer and driver Mike Cross, the promise is likely to be borne out on the road when the first cars are picked up from dealerships this August.
The 5.4-second 0-60mph time that Jaguar is quoting for the rear-wheel-drive-only 2.0 guise is actually a tad quicker than that delivered by the current entry-level F-Type, the more expensive six-speed manual 335bhp V6. Jaguar’s engineers are bigging up the throttle response of the new four-pot, which has its own model-specific eight-speed ZF Quickshift auto gearbox.
With Cross at the wheel on the car’s development roads in Warwickshire, it quickly becomes clear that the new car has near-supercar ability, thanks in no small part to its 52kg lighter engine reducing front end weight and boosting agility. Jaguar chief product engineer Erol Mustafa describes the car as “beautifully balanced and really agile to drive… it’s really at home on twisty roads.”
Anyone brought up on Jaguar sixes and eights needn’t worry about the four’s exhaust note. It’s sporty. Some of it comes from the engine and some from the car’s audio system, but the combination works well.
The most powerful F-Type SVR model is now over £110,000, but in keeping with Jaguar’s traditional emphasis on value, the 2.0 won’t be despecced to get it under the £50k mark. A convertible version will also be available at just over £55,000.