Price from: £49,900 Release date: On sale now
Three hundred horsepower. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? That’s the equivalent of two Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDIs or more than three Nissan Micras. But it’s also the power output of the new entry-level Jaguar F-Type, despite it swapping the V6s and V8s of pricier models for a turbocharged 2.0-litre.
This four-cylinder motor is coupled to an eight-speed automatic gearbox (there's no manual alternative), and can propel the baby F-Type from 0-62mph in 5.7sec. Just as appealing to some will be the 10.4mpg improvement in average fuel economy compared with the V6. So, is the 2.0-litre now the model to go for?
Jaguar F-Type 2.0 i4 on the road
In addition to reduced fuel consumption and emissions, the new 2.0-litre engine reduces the weight of the F-Type by 52kg. However, it still tips the scales at at least 1525kg, so performance isn’t as rapid as you might expect. Sure, it picks up keenly enough from low engine speeds, but you have to rev it hard before it begins to feel properly quick.
Even then, the performance is more like that of a hot hatch than a sports car. And that’s quite fitting; the exhaust may have been tuned to deliver an array of pops, crackles and burbles, but close your eyes (preferably from the passenger seat) and you could easily be in a Mercedes-AMG A45 or Volkswagen Golf R.
It isn’t just the engine that’s new, though; the suspension has also been tweaked to suit the car's lighter weight. This revised set-up is actually slightly softer, but Jaguar claims that it makes the F-Type more agile. We’d need to drive the 2.0-litre car back-to-back with a V6 to be sure if this is true, but the new model certainly feels keen to turn into corners.
The steering remains precise, too, having plenty of feedback and a pleasing heft. However, the front wheels tends to follow the contours of the road when you’re just trying to go in a straight line.
At least you don't have to worry about a lack of traction when accelerating out of corners, a characteristic that can make more powerful F-Type variants tricky to drive at times.
Jaguar F-Type 2.0 i4 interior
The interior of this new entry-level F-Type is much like that of pricier models, which means it feels suitably driver focused, with deeply cowled instruments and a central grab handle that seems to fence the passenger off from the dashboard controls.
It feels pretty classy, and Jaguar has clearly tried to keep the overall design uncluttered; most heating and ventilation functions are controlled via three simple rotary dials, while the central air vents rise out of the top of the dashboard only when required.
Unfortunately, the central touchscreen, through which you operate most other functions, can be distracting to use on the move because the menus aren’t very logically ordered and you have to look away from the road to find the correct area of the screen to hit. But at least all F-Types now come with Jaguar’s latest InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, which offes much faster responses than the system fitted at launch.