Can An Inline-Four Turn The Jaguar F-Type Into A Proper Sports Car?

We had a brief drive in the new four-cylinder F-Type in Norway, and found a car with - for better and worse - a very different character to its V6 big brother
Can An Inline-Four Turn The Jaguar F-Type Into A Proper Sports Car?

I like the F-Type very much. I love the way it looks. I’m rather partial to the way it sounds, be it the snarling V6 or the gargling V8. And I’ve always liked the way it makes you feel special. But I’ve long since reconciled with the fact it’s not really a sports car: if you expect it to be thus, you’ll probably come away disappointed.

It’s always felt a bit big and a bit heavy to be considered a proper sports car, and is arguably at its best when you’re driving at seven-tenths and not taking proceedings too seriously. But, there’s a new version of the F on the block, and it promises to be a very different beast, doing away with a theatrical V engine in favour of a turbocharged inline-four.

Can An Inline-Four Turn The Jaguar F-Type Into A Proper Sports Car?

Given that noise is a big selling point for the F-Type, I’d understand if the mere prospect of such a thing is off-putting for you. But stick with me here, as there’s a big advantage to the drop in cylinders and displacement: weight. This new entry-level machine is 52kg lighter than the base V6, with most of the savings - as you’d expect - on the front end. In other words, it’s like someone just removed a thin teenager from the bonnet.

To go with all that, the springs and dampers have been revised, the steering given a unique calibration for this version of the F only, and there’s a torque vectoring system previously reserved for the all-wheel drive models. The whole shebang weighs in at £49,900, £3600 less than the cheapest automatic V6 (there’s no manual option here).

Can An Inline-Four Turn The Jaguar F-Type Into A Proper Sports Car?

During a brief drive in Norway as part of the Range Rover Velar launch, this all seemed to play out exactly as I’d hoped. There’s a keenness to the turn-in that wasn’t there before, and there isn’t the same uneasy weight transfer you tend to feel mid-corner in the V6.

F-Types have always had quick, light steering, which always felt like it was writing cheques the chassis couldn’t quite cash. That isn’t the case here, even with the four-cylinder’s re-tuned electric power steering, which seems faster still. It gives the front-end a pointy, sharp-edged feel.

Can An Inline-Four Turn The Jaguar F-Type Into A Proper Sports Car?

It’s not like it’s slow, either. The weight drop means that the 297bhp, 295lb ft ‘Ingenium’ 2.0-litre lump powers the car to 60mph in 5.4 seconds - a tenth quicker than the base V6 - and a boosty mid-range results in something that feels very potent at anything above 2000rpm.

It’s definitely a better driver’s car than the V6 and the V8, and I’d love to say that’d be enough for me to shirk a bigger engine for one of these. But I can’t. Not yet, anyway: our test route in Norway consisted mostly of wide sweeping bends, with only the occasional opportunity to throw the new baby F around to see if its newfound agility is enough of a boon to compensate for the aural deficiency.

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Yep, despite Jaguar’s promises that this would deliver that “renowned F-Type sound,” there’s really nothing remarkable about the noise it makes. There are pops and bangs aplenty, but the induction and exhaust noise itself is a typical humdrum inline-four drone. It’s not especially loud from the outside when it’s not doing the whole machine gun fire thing, and on the inside, there’s some ill-advised added noise piped through the speakers.

Jaguar claims it has “used the infotainment system to subtly overlay the inherently characterful Ingenium engine with specific frequencies and sounds that are already present - to make aural feedback even better,” but we rather wished it hadn’t.

It’d have been better to either leave it alone, go with a sound tube, or perhaps fit something along the lines of that vibrating hockey puck device VW Group stuffs into the bulkheads of its sportier cars. An inline-four can be made to sound rather pleasant, but usually not this way.

Can An Inline-Four Turn The Jaguar F-Type Into A Proper Sports Car?

We also had real tram-lining issues out in Norway on the car’s 19-inch Pirelli P Zeros. Whether or not the changes at the front end make it more prone to such behaviour, or if it was just something exacerbated by the roads out there, we’re not sure.

So, right now we don’t want to give you a definitive verdict - the new entry-level F-Type deserves a much more thorough investigation than the one it’s had so far. But despite the disappointing din from the engine, we like what we’ve experienced so far. It’s an intriguing, more athletic addition to the range that looks to be much closer to sports car territory than its heavier siblings, and a car that shouldn’t be discounted because of its cylinder deficiency.



I don’t know whether or not I should brag about weighing less than the total reductions of the 4 cylinder.
i’m going to anyway

08/01/2017 - 23:10 |
32 | 0

Are you some kind of mouse, or perhaps some sort of hitherto-unknown species of intelligent butterfly that can use a qwerty keyboard?

08/02/2017 - 07:28 |
15 | 0
3Fiddy (JDM Squad) (SAAB Squad) (S-Chassis squad)

As long as it sounds maaaaad and drives well, I don’t see why not, but I’d like to see a manual option offered in the future, that’d make it complete as a “Baby F-Type”.

08/01/2017 - 23:17 |
2 | 0

In tearms of sound and excitement it doesn’t come anywhere close to the V6. Sorry, but I really couldn’t care less about another turbo 4-pot.

08/02/2017 - 00:04 |
6 | 0
3Fiddy (JDM Squad) (SAAB Squad) (S-Chassis squad)

In reply to by Skyy

I see, 4 cylinders are indeed getting into all sorts of cars, but in terms of sound, give em a chance; there are lots of exceptional 4 cylinders (I’m not specifying configuration) like the Subaru EJ Series, the SR20, B16B, F20C, K20 I could go on and list more, point is you’ll never now if something’s going to workout unless you try.

08/02/2017 - 00:43 |
5 | 1
Sivert Grande

As a Norwegian I’m tempted to say that the tramlining was purely the road’s fault but, to be fair, the setup of the car could very well have had something to do with it.

08/02/2017 - 01:38 |
0 | 0
Danny S

Why the artificial engine noise? And unless I missed something, it’s automatic only?
The F-Type is a brilliant car, and I’m sure this one is too. But I doubt anyone’s going to buy this - it’s more than twice as much as a BRZ, which would be lighter, manual and still fairly luxurious. You could throw a turbo in the BRZ and still have spent far less than the Jag.

08/02/2017 - 02:02 |
2 | 0

“Throwing a turbo” in a car makes it illegal on the road in most European countries.

08/02/2017 - 02:43 |
1 | 0

the thing is, its not up against the GT86 or the BRZ this is for people who like the badge want something that looks sporty but is easy to drive and is luxurious inside. its more likely to be bought by an older person or someone as business car. Which the Brz is not something you would buy as a business car.

08/02/2017 - 06:52 |
2 | 0
Joel Brennan

In reply to by Danny S

A BRZ is not a rival for an F-TYPE. It also isn’t “fairly luxurious”… Performance isn’t always the only goal for drivers. The F-TYPE is a beautiful, well-built GT sports coupe. The BRZ is a better driver’s car, but no F-TYPE customer is going to complain about the dynamics, since they could have bought a 911 or 718.

10/16/2017 - 19:38 |
0 | 0
The Silver Paseo EL54

I wonder how it’d look like when some D1GP driver took it under his wings… 2JZ huge-winged 1000hp widebody F-Type anyone??

08/02/2017 - 05:48 |
0 | 0

Yes you can by LS swap. An nice lightweight cammed 480HP LS3 can be had for about $7500

08/02/2017 - 06:22 |
1 | 0

I definitely think that it has been made more sporty. But this or a Audi s5 ?

08/02/2017 - 07:32 |
0 | 0

This all the way

08/02/2017 - 09:00 |
0 | 0
Aaron 15

As much as this car feels better through the corners, I’m sorry, this isn’t a proper Jag. V6 Sport 400 and V8s FTW!!

08/02/2017 - 08:36 |
4 | 0

Why isn’t it a proper Jag? The first Jags had a 4 cylinder with 1500 cm3. The XK6 was introduced with the XK. Next was a V12. The V8 isn’t really Jaguar (the XJ40 was developed purposely with a too narrow engine bay to allow installation of only the I6. The V12 had a totally reengineered engine bay, as did the later V8 models get) and the V6 is probably least Jaguar in the terms of tradition.

08/02/2017 - 10:13 |
0 | 0

for me i prefer a v6 because its smoother and gives you that e type feel

08/02/2017 - 08:38 |
0 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

The Jaguar E-Type never had a V6.

08/02/2017 - 09:13 |
2 | 0



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