The Jaguar F-Type has been around since 2013 as Jag’s halo sports car. It’s fast, sexy, expensive, and pretty much has everything you want in a performance two-seater. To keep the F-Type fresh, Jag keeps coming up with new models and features, so now there are 24 different ways to order an F-Type. The then new 2018 F-Type 2.0-liter Ingenium T/C i4 joins its siblings with an updated design, better specs as standard, and a more ergonomic cabin. However, it also pushes the price of a new F-Type under the R120 000 00 mark and we got a feel of it!
But to its credit, Jaguar’s new variations on the F-Type theme are real and different models, with nary a paint-and-stickers special edition to be found. You can get your F-Type with a fixed roof or a ragtop, with a God-fearing stick shift or a smooth eight-speed automatic.
On the outside, there are now full LED headlamps as standard, while the “shark gill” air intakes on the front have now been switched for a single aperture with lozenge mesh. The daytime running lights now double as the front indicators, while at the back there are darker lamp lenses.
On the inside, Jaguar has switched to new, lightweight and slimline seats which promise to be more ergonomic as well as less bulky. They use pressure die cast magnesium alloy frames to help save more than 17 pounds over the old seats, in fact, while still getting extra backrest and upper seat support. Sport versions will be standard on most cars, while the F-Type 400 Sport, R, and SVR will get Performance versions with more detailing and shoulder wings.
The SVR’s Siena Tan leather are offered as an option across all F-Types, while key controls – including the engine start button and the gearshift paddles – have satin chrome finishes. There’s more chrome on the doors, vents, and steering wheel, while the centre console can optionally be had in carbon fiber, or comes as standard in one of three metal finishes.
The biggest news, though, is the introduction of Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium petrol engine to the car. Under the shapely hood there’s a four-cylinder, turbocharged i4 2.0-liter engine, which delivers 221kW of power at 5,500 rpm. There’s the same, eight-speed automatic transmission as in the more powerful V6 cars, too. While you’d expect the four-cylinder to be slower than the 3.0-liter supercharged V6, in actual fact the differences are pretty minimal. 0-100 km/h comes in 5.7 seconds in the i4, versus 5.1 seconds in the RWD automatic V6. Top speed is 250km/h, compared to the V6’s 275km/h.
There are a few ways in which the F-Type i4 could be more rewarding, indeed. For a start, peak power and torque arrive significantly quicker than in the V6, where maximum power doesn’t kick in until 6,500 rpm and maximum torque at 3,500 rpm. The four-cylinder is lighter, too.
Did that add up to a perkier, more flingable car on the road? We certainly thinks so, it’s worth pointing out that the majority of the mass reduction has been made over the front axle, shifting weight balance a percentage point to the rear. The engineers have also been able to reduce the front and rear spring rates as there’s less weight to deal with, and there’s the promise of more steering feedback too. Brake-based torque vectoring is included as standard, as are new, lightweight 18-inch wheels.
Circling back, the F-type 2.0 comes with Jaguar’s latest technology setup. That means a Touch Pro interface with an eight-inch touch screen and a fast 60GB solid-state drive. You can customize your in-car desktop, and the F-Type comes with navigation. Tablet gestures are supported. The basic Meridian 10-speaker sound system is good and of course you can always spring for the 12-speaker surround sound upgrade.
Of course, the primary goal here was to lower the price of entry to F-Type ownership, something the four-cylinder does nicely. The i4 Coupe is definitely a driving enthusiast’s car. It’s definitely not the most powerful engine you can buy, but it’s got enough power and it’s got the brake and suspension upgrades. It’s got enough luxury touches to be comfortable, but it’s not a Sandton Drive cruiser. Finally, it’s a lot less money than the super hot rod. For what it’s worth, if I was choosing an F-Type to drive every day, I’d get a convertible i4, and I’d never look back.