The Jaguar F-Type is a genuinely beautiful car. It’s much harder to do that these days, with lots of rules and regulations making life hard for designers. But Jaguars aren’t designed by people who throw their crayons in the air when things aren’t easy.
It’s been around for ages, the F-Type, and is slowly evolving. Things change – the V6 manual I drove for Carsguide in 2016 is now the middle of the range. To chase more buyers, a lower entry price and emissions targets means less noise but a tremendous opportunity to slot in JLR’s own Ingenium turbo four-cylinder.
Of course, I have questions. It’s lighter, sure, but the F-Type, based as it is on the old XK, is a tubby old bugger, so can four cylinders cut it?
This car is also a coupe, which means no wind-in-the-hair silliness, so is there even a point?
And here in the MY19 car, there is finally – finally – an update to the troublesome media system. The old one took so long to accept a command, you may as well have gone and reprogrammed the sat nav yourself.
It doesn’t look any different from the MY18, at least not substantially. The cleaner headlights have been about for a while and look superb. You can tell it’s the 2.0-litre four from the back, with a less aggro rear bumper and big, single exhaust exit. I reckon the coupe looks terrific from the back and even better from the rear three-quarter.
The cabin is also largely unchanged. The switchgear is pretty much the same and the proper shifter remains rather than Jaguar’s attractive-but-silly rotary dial. Try doing a quick three-point-turn in a rotary dial Jag.
The R Dynamic brings a bit of extra visual oomph, including bigger 19-inch wheels. The 17s (?) on the base car are a bit…uh…not great. The carbon interior parts are actually alright – that sort of option doesn’t always hit the mark, but they look good.
Jaguar-Land Rover’s own Ingenium is under the bonnet here. At first, that engine family was a pair of four-cylinders (petrol and diesel) and in various states of tune. They’re torquey monsters, even the 147kW single turbo entry level has 320Nm.
The F-Type ships with the twin-turbo petrol four, delivering a whopping 221kW (300PS) at 5500rpm and a ripping 400Nm from 1200-4500rpm. That’s a lot of torque from
(I do wonder what a top-end Ingenium diesel would be like in the F…)
A ZF eight-speed transmission sends the power to the rear wheels and, as always, it’s brilliant. The active sports exhaust doesn’t do anything for the power
Jaguar reckons you’ll crack 100km/h (0-62mph) just in 5.7 seconds, which is not mucking around.
This is the lightest F-Type. weighing in from 1525kg (more likely heading towards 1600kg), so it’s hardly super-light on its feet.
Bits of the
F-Types are glorious things. It wouldn’t matter if you dropped in a three-cylinder 1.0-litre, they’re just lovely to be in. A Jag on the driveway is one thing, but an F-Type makes you smile, no matter what. Even though I don’t own the thing, every time I looked out the front window, there it was. Passers-by were of the same opinion.
The 2.0-litre fires up with a promising bark and on the move, the steering feels different
It really does move around very nicely. Despite looking like the front has suspension travel of approximately one centimetre, the clever suspension packaging ensures it has rather more. It handles moving around the suburbs very nicely, with a plush ride. Beware the long nose and plastic aero bits that hang low on the front scrape on just about everything.
The twin-turbo is a fine engine – it could do with a little less lag, but apart from that, it’s terrific. Getting the exhaust to bark the way it does must have taken a lot of work and it’s all part of the fun. The engine does kind of suit the coupe a bit more. While it’s not a shrinking violet, having the roof down won’t make a huge difference to the experience.
As with the rest of the F-Type range, it’s great fun to push along. It’s a long car, but it feels so right to thread through the bends. Cars this size tend not to be especially agile, but the F-Type hides its weight. The light steering reminds you the nose is lighter, the
Stand on the throttle out of a corner and you’ll even get a bit of
What’s nice about the 2.0-litre is that it is a bit more of a precision tool and won’t cost the earth to run. It’s a bit less conspicuous but no less gorgeous than its higher-powered peers and if I hadn’t fallen so helplessly in love with the SVR, this would probably be my favourite F-Type.
Images: Rhys Vandersyde
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Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.