JAGUAR F-TYPE COUPE

Jaguar_F-Type_Coupe_frontThe Jaguar F-Type, which reached us Downunder in 2013, has been argued by many as being the true replacement for the legendary E-Type Jag. Sure, the F- smaller than the E-Type but it doesn’t look that much down in size. Best of all it’s a genuine sports machine.

While the XK Jaguar is similar in size to the gorgeous old E-Type both are more grand-touring high-speed cruisers than full-on sports machines. There’s no doubt the F-Type is a real sportscar.

We have just spent a wonderful three weeks over the Christmas New-Year break in the newest version of the F-Type coupe, the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder. (Many thanks to the guys at JRA who made it work for us!)

Yes, turbocharged four-cylinder, not supercharged V6 or V8 as we have driven and loved in F-Types in the past – more details later.

Talking about price, the $107,012 F-Type four-cylinder coupe is $14,200 under the next least-expensive model, the 3.0-litre 250 kW V6 at $121,212. The topline 5.0-litre V8 coupe costs an astronomic $290,512.

STYLING
We just love the shape of the Jaguar F-Type. It’s got shades of the legendary E-Type in many of its lines, the large grille, long bonnet with a centre bulge and cooling ducts could have come from the pen of Sir William Lyons, the genius who designed the Jaguar E-Type all those years ago.

Jaguar_F-Type_Coupe_rear

Inside, the twin round dials immediately in front of the driver give it a classic sportscar appearance. The seats look as good as they feel and there’s a feeling of high speed luxury in the materials used.

Not visible under the superb body is the fact that the F-Type is made almost exclusively from aluminium. This lightweight material isn’t easy to work with, but the engineers at Jaguar have plenty of experience with this material and have made it work well at the same time as following the stylists’ wishes.

Due to the use of the four-cylinder engine there’s 50 kilograms less weight over the front wheels. More about that in our Driving segment.

POWERTRAINS
Chasing lower emissions has meant many European car makers – low, medium and upper crust – have worked magic with small-displacement high-pressure turbo units.

The guys and gals at Jaguar have managed to get peak power of 221 kilowatts at a pretty low 5000rpm. And a hefty 400Nm all the way from 1500 to 4500 revs, from their 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium twin-scroll single-turbo petrol unit.

The new engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic and sends drive to the rear wheels.

Jaguar_F-Type_Coupe_interior

Jaguar’s all-wheel drive system that’s sold in some high-performance variants isn’t offered in the four-cylinder. Which makes sense because (a) 400 Nm is easily controlled by a quality rear-drive system, (b) it would add weight in this less powerful car and (c) significantly increase the price.

INFOTAINMENT
Jaguar’s Touch Pro infotainment system features Meridian audio, a suite of connected services and, for the first time in F-Type, Apple CarPlay and Android auto. The new 10-inch touchscreen is significantly clearer than the superseded one.

SAFETY
This Jaguar sailed with ease through crash testing to gain five stars. As well as the passive safety proven by this brutal testing, this British sports machine has magnificent dynamics and huge brakes to let an intelligent driver avoid having a crash in the first place.

DRIVING
The engine is fast to respond and once a very brief period of lag has passed it has plenty of acceleration. The sound is pretty good, though obviously it doesn’t provide the aural excitement of the V8 unit.

The automatic is also quick to get into the act and the fact that there is peak torque there all the way from just 1500 rpm, which continues for another 3000 revs above that means there’s grunt to spare. Overtaking can be carried out safely with a minimum of time on the wrong side of the road.

Handling is sharp and precise and the little Jag ‘talks’ to you responsively through the steering wheel and the seat of your pants. There’s an immense amount of grip and the balance in the, relatively, lightweight chassis gives it a lovely nimble feel.

The front seats supported my slim backside nicely, but someone who is wider than average may find themselves less comfortable. The leather trim on the seats was firmer than I like, but try for yourself to see what you feel.

This is strictly a two-seater, indeed there’s a minimum of space behind the seats and tall occupants who want to lean their seats back may find themselves somewhat frustrated. Then again, that’s not uncommon in this class. The door pockets are a good size and there’s further stowage space between the seat backs.

Then there’s the boot – what a joke! The huge spare tyre takes up most of the space. To the extent that if you lie a bulky briefcase on top of the spare you won’t be able to shut the bootlid. We managed to squeeze a week’s shopping for two people by juggling our reusable bags into the various small areas around the spare wheel.

And if you think the F-Type coupe’s boot is bad have a look at a convertible’s…

SUMMING UP
The new low(ish) cost Jaguar F-Type looks great, drives brilliantly and deserves a place on the short list of any full-on driving enthusiast.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE (COUPE)
2.0 221 kW RWD: $112,078 (automatic)
3.0 V6 250 kW RWD: $126,278 (manual), $131,278 (automatic)
3.0 V6 280 kW RWD: $153,778 (manual), $158,778 (automatic)
3.0 V6 250 kW AWD: $174,578 (automatic)
2.0 221 kW RWD R-Dynamic: $119,878 (automatic)
3.0 V6 250 kW R-Dynamic: $134,078 (manual), $139,078 (automatic)
3.0 V6 280 kW R-Dynamic: $161,578 (manual), $166,578 automatic)
3.0 V6 280 kW R-Dynamic AWD: $182,378 (automatic)
5.0 V8 R AWD: $251,078 (automatic)
5.0 V8 SVR AWD: $295,578 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Jaguar dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Jaguar F-Type 2.0 (221 kW two-door coupe)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 2.000 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 221 kW @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 400 Nm @ 1500 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.2 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 199 g/km

DRIVELINE: Eight-speed automatic

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4482 mm
Wheelbase: 2622 mm
Width: 1923 mm
Height: 1311 mm
Turning Circle: 10.7 metres
Kerb Mass: 1525 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 63 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Three years / 100,000 kilometres

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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