A 2.0 litre 4-cylinder Supercharged engine has been added to the F-Type. Was this really necessary? Can a downsized engine make a sports car more fun to drive, or is it a sorry version of a true British sports car? Jared tries to answer these questions.
The F-Type line-up has been updated, and just a few months ago, Jaguar launched the all new F Type SVR in India. That car gets a 5 litre V8 supercharged engine capable of making 567bhp and 700Nm of torque. In March last year we got to drive it and we were blown away by the super exotic version created by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations. The F-Type SVR sits right at the top of the F-Type family tree. However, the newest member is the baby F-Type called the 2.0. Since the F-Type was first launched the landscape has changed significantly and many car makers are downsizing their sports cars. Porsche has started adding flat fours to the Boxster and Cayman, and JLR’s very own 2.0 litre Ingenium engine line-up has also been added to many of their vehicles. The F-Type is now the new recipient of that very engine.
Still packs a punch
Yes, a 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine does sound small, but this one is supercharged and has been tuned for 296bhp and 400Nm of torque. That means this version only gives up 39bhp and 50Nm of torque to the base version of the V6 F-Type. The engine is mated to an 8-speed gearbox that powers the rear-wheels, so yes it still is very much a proper sports car. The engine has gotten quite a powerful punch and can race from 0-100km/h in just 5.7 seconds. That’s just a second slower than the V6. What I really liked about the engine is that it feels a lot more usable and enjoyable in an urban setting, and it surely makes the car more comfortable to drive around on a daily basis. It’s refined, reserved and quiet. However, if you would like to get a feel of its sporty character just switch into Dynamic mode, and engage the Active Sports Exhaust and you will start to feel the car’s true aggressive character. The throttle is much more responsive, the cars’ overall character becomes aggressive and the purring sounds from the exhaust are accentuated with pops. The exhaust sound still isn’t a load roar, but an aftermarket exhaust can change all that. Really though, the 2.0 litre engine doesn’t feel sluggish and underpowered and it will still bring a smile to your face. Sure, it’s not going to put as wide a grin on your face as the more powerful variants of the car would, but it still is exciting.
We have come to love the F-Type for the way it handles, and this baby version of the car does not disappoint at all. I would even go so far as to say that it’s even more fun to drive because of the confidence you feel when driving it. Pushing a car around and knowing how it will behave is always a lot more fun. The F-Type 2.0 is essentially the same car as the larger engine variants, and the driving dynamics of the car are more or less the same, which means it is fantastic to drive. The handling is spot on and obeys your every command. You can attack corners with great confidence and the suspension setup really shines through. It is stiff when it has to be and always firmly planted on the tarmac. The 2.0 version is more circus cat than wild jaguar, because it behaves and obeys your every order and will not bite your face off. And I have to admit that the reason this car drives so well is because of the lack of power. I have always said it in the past, and I will say it again. Adding more and more power to vehicles is a complete marketing gimmick. What I prefer is usable power, and quite frankly, if you don’t know how to use 300bhp to your heart’s delight in a small, light and compact rear wheel driven British sports car, well then, I don’t know how to respond to that. This baby Jag has all the all the torque you need from the moment you press down on the accelerator. The Ingenium engine delivers every ounce of that 400Nm of torque from as low as 1,500rpm, all the way up to 4,500. If you choose to drive in manual mode, you will rarely need to down shift when you are driving in the city or on the highway. Attacking corners however, is very fun, and this car would certainly be a blast to drive on track as well because of its agility.
Elegance of a Jungle Cat
Big jungle cats are the most elegant and beautiful creatures on our planet, and there is a sense of awe whenever you see them. The same goes for the F-Type – this car is beautiful. The build quality is immaculate and the low and long silhouette is very sporty. The rear haunches are nice and muscular and the 18-inch wheels, although not extra big, do look very good. The main difference that lets you now that this is a baby F-Type are the LED lights, the slightly redesigned front bumper, the single exhaust right smack centre at the rear, and of course, the badging. You would really have to be a hardcore car geek to really spot the difference. Even on the inside it’s pretty much the same, although, if you compare the F-Type to other sports cars, it does feel like the design has grown a little long in the tooth. I don’t think it’s something that young people would aspire towards owning because if does feel very much like something you dad or even grandad would appreciate. Yes, it’s sporty but, still it’s just not cool enough on the inside.
Yay or Nay?
A smaller turbo-petrol engine also means you save on fuel costs. But that should be the least of your concerns. You should be more concerned about the price. The baby F-Type is priced at almost Rs 1.2 crore on road. For that price you could get a Porsche 718 Cayman, which also just so happens to be a downsized sports car with a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo with almost the exact same power output as the F-Type 2.0. But, if you are looking for an even more exhilarating rush, at around the same price point, then it’s a no brainer for me. The Audi RS5 would destroy this little kitty kat, and it only costs roughly Rs 20 lakh more. However, if you just want to get noticed driving a seductively beautiful British sports car there is no shame or harm in owning the F-Type 2.0, which can also put a smile on your face in more ways than one. But then again, if you want to go all out and if you really love the design of the F-Type you could always spend a couple crores more and get the SVR version.
- JAGUAR F-TYPE 2.0
Engine: 1,997cc / 4-Cylinders 16-Valves / Supercharged
Transmission: 8-Speed AT Rear-Wheel Drive
Power: 296bhp @ 5,500rpm
Torque: 400Nm @ 1,500 – 4,500rpm
Price: ₹90.93 lakh (Ex-showroom India)
X-Factor: The 2.0-litre motor not only makes the F-Type more attainable, but arguably more fun to drive too.