You’re sitting in a showroom, spec’ing your new car. As you look down the trim level descriptions you see a grade that suits you perfectly, giving you everything you need and excluding nothing you can’t happily live without. You’re about to tick it.
Then the shiny-teethed salesman points out that for just £25 a month more you could have the grade up from that, quickly dazzling you with a brochure of gadgets, luxuries and alleged financial advantages. The little voice in your noggin says you don’t need any of these things and it’s more sensible to get the lower trim option, but the devil who holds the key to your wallet knows how to press your buttons.
Get the lower grade and that demon will always nag at you, saying you should have got the nicer one. Spend out on the upgrade and you’ll know you’re wasting money on tech you probably won’t use and definitely don’t need.
The exact same principle used to go for the Jaguar F-Type when it came to choosing an engine. After the four-cylinder version arrived, customers no doubt sat, sweaty-palmed and guilt-ridden (whether they admit it or not) over whether the four-pot was a cop-out and whether they should go for the much more characterful and sports car-appropriate V6.
Most didn’t; the V6 has been canned because so few people were actually buying it, but to those choosing four-bangers there was always that knowledge that within reach was an engine that would have felt so much richer. My own words from what seems like a very short three years ago give an anti-four-pot opinion that I stood by until the very moment the V6 left the building.
Now there’s a new F-Type coming, with no V6 (unless you live in the USA). There’s only the wild new 444bhp V8 in either rear- or all-wheel drive and the Ingenium 2.0. The choice is suddenly clearer; the F-Type’s identities better defined. For the masses it’s a four-cylinder sports GT, not as lithe or dynamic as a Cayman or Boxster but much more affordable than a basic 911. It’s affordable to run in a way the V6 never was and yet still benefits from the aura of the small-volume, big-noise V8. It’s the Carrera 2 to the (now also canned) F-Type SVR’s GT3, if you’ll forgive the obvious flaws in the analogy.
You can now buy a four-cylinder F-Type knowing that it’s the only realistic way to access the stunning shape and new face, which makes it look like a Maserati from a parallel dimension, while resting assured that the wider model range has deep enough performance pedigree to still make you feel good about your own car.
I wrote in that piece years ago that the four-pot Jag F was a fraud. At the time it really did feel like that when it was butted up against the six. Now, though, it feels like the car’s personality has shaken off gremlins. If you want an F and you’re not minted, you get the Ingenium engine because that’s your option and you can afford to fuel it. That, now there’s no engine upgrade temptation for your wallet demon to exploit, is absolutely fine by me.