- Published: Friday, 08 December 2017 05:12
A new version of Jaguar’s F-Type Coupe loses two cylinders but gains plenty
SINGAPORE — They say time is money but this is ridiculous. Choose the new F-Type 2.0 Coupe over the next model up on Jaguar’s pricing ladder, and you’ll have a car that’s 0.4 seconds slower than to 100km/h but S$46,000 cheaper.
There’s nothing tricky about that; the 2.0 has a four-cylinder turbo that’s good for 300 horsepower, which isn’t all that far off the 340 hp offered by the basic 3.0 V6.
By any standard, 300hp is a lot. It’s enough to launch the F-Type 2.0 to the hundred mark in 5.7 seconds, anyway, which is plenty quick.
That sounds like your classic no-brainer, so you can stop reading now. End of story.
Except nothing is ever that straightforward, of course.
No manufacturer has managed to make a turbo four-cylinder with a cultured voice, and Jaguar is no exception. That being so, the F-Type 2.0 is missing what some people consider a key part of an exciting driving experience. It’s a feast for the eyes, but the ears, well…
It’s not that it sounds bad, but the soundtrack suffers in comparison to the howl of the V6 model, or the menacing snarl of the V8. Rev the engine hard, and it just sounds like it’s trying to dislodge a bone from its throat.
Mind you, there’s a button that opens an exhaust flap to deepen its rumble, and it induces a few pops and crackles when you lift off the throttle.
The 2.0 itself, which is a member of Jaguar-Land Rover’s new “Ingenium” series of engines, is quite the gem, too. It spins up smoothly, and revs like it wants to. Its 400Nm-strong flood of torque arrives early as well, at just 1,500rpm, so you seldom catch the engine napping.
Some of that is down to the eight-speed auto, which has ratios well-chosen to keep the engine feeling lively, especially when you switch the car over to its more sporty ‘Dynamic’ mode.
All in all, it’s a nicely energetic engine, despite having to push a surprising amount of weight around — at 1,525kg, the Jag is pretty hefty for a petite car, weighing more than, say, a Mercedes C-Class.
Still, it’s a good 52kg lighter than the 3.0 V6, and the bulk of that savings comes from the nose end of the car. As you’d expect, that really pays dividends for the handling. The Jag never feels like a car you have to wrestle, and responds to steering inputs with jaunty enthusiasm.
Although the ride is firm, it’s beautifully controlled, and though you can feel how pockmarked our roads have become, you never get the sense in the F-Type that you’re being jostled unnecessarily.
The steering is nicely weighted, too, and if anything you’d want it to be a fraction less heavy in Dynamic mode.
Those characteristics combine to produce a pleasant confection, where eager acceleration meets lively, surefooted handling.
In that sense, this F-Type feels like a completely different animal from the 5.0 Supercharged model, a car we remember fondly for its wild oversteer and ability to eat rear tyres like candy. If that car was a handful, the F-Type 2.0 is your hand-in-hand companion.
It’s a lovely place to spend time in, anyway. The cabin might only have space for two, but it doesn’t feel cramped, and it’s built to a high standard. Some of the switchgear feels gimmicky in the 5.0 but seems more at home in a 2.0-litre car, and yet it all feels suitably posh; our test car’s latte upholstery oozed class, particularly when paired with contrast stitching.
That the Jaguar’s exterior still looks exquisite after four years on the market reminds you that the F-Type has always been a car of classic beauty and timeless proportions, and it’s easy to imagine someone picking one up for the styling alone. There are better reasons to choose it over the V6 or V8 modes, though, not least of which is the fact that it lowers the entry price by a good fifty grand.
It might not sound as nice, but it sounds like a good deal to us.
NEED TO KNOW Jaguar F-Type 2.0 Coupe
Engine 1,997cc, inline 4, turbocharged
Power 300hp at 5,500rpm
Torque 400Nm at 1,500rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
Top Speed 249km/h (limited)
0-100km/h 5.7 seconds
Fuel efficiency 7.2L/100km
Price S$342,999 including Certificate Of Entitlement
Agent Wearnes Automotive