How does the beautiful Jaguar F-Type fare with a 2.0 engine?
My friends and family could tell some very interesting stories about me.
I’ve often gotten myself into sticky situations. I’m an expert at hurting myself, I always seem to get lost, and I’m incredibly clumsy. I also enjoy a glass of flat cola.
Now, I’m aware that I’m not alone in enjoying a glass of flat cola, one of my best friends enjoys his cola still and it isn’t exactly the strangest thing to enjoy in a world of bonkers beverages anyway. That being said, you don’t see flat cola for sale anywhere, do you? They sell all sorts of odd exotic flavours of the world’s favourite drink, but they don’t actually sell flat cola.
Jaguar isn’t a cola manufacturer, it produces cars. The car we have in question here is its famous F-Type sports car. Have a look at it, it’s pretty isn’t it? It might be the prettiest car on sale today and looks like that produce a level of expectation. You want it to drive as well as it looks, you expect it to drive as well as it looks. Please let it drive as good as it looks…
Jag has a new engine for the F-Type, and it’s a 4-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo – an F-Type without the fizz. With almost 300 horses under the bonnet, it’s not exactly packing a serious punch – this is now top-end hot hatch power – but that’s not low on power either and all of it goes directly to the rear wheels.
My first journey in the ‘Flat Cat’ was my new commute – a 90minute journey across Yorkshire combining A-roads and motorway with a sprinkling of inner-town driving thrown in. First impressions were rather good, the front end is lighter and the F-Type turns in a little bit quicker than the bubblier versions with the bigger engines. The steering felt good in the hands, settled and sturdy, but the commute is a fairly slow journey. 55-miles each way of very little open road on which to really open the taps. Still, 43mpg from the day and a perfectly comfortable ride isn’t to be sniffed at.
Hang on a minute though, this is meant to be a sports car, not a comfortable commuter. What happens when you shake the bottle a bit? Off-peak A-roads revealed all, and it was all a bit flat, really.
With the 2.0-litre engine, this is quite a different car from the V6 model. The small unit does its best but never really delivers anything close to excitement or drama – the personality of the F-Type has undoubtedly been diluted by the inclusion of an engine which, if I’m being 100% honest with you, really doesn’t belong in this car.
Gone is the F-Type sound, of course, replaced in some places with the drones of something resembling more like a diesel than a petrol-powered heart. There’s still a sports exhaust which offers some little extra theatrics but can’t cover up the shortcomings of a turbo in-line 4. The noise isn’t the biggest problem though.
While 300-odd horsepower looks a lot on paper, the F-Type feels wheezy and struggles to give you anything when asked. It leaves you feeling hugely frustrated when the road opens up ahead of you and you anticipate a big surge forward only to get a ponderous, drawn-out jog towards the next corner.
When it is up to speed, a bumpy A-road straight will get the F-Type skipping laterally across the tarmac, and under anything close to heavy braking it feels unstable, requiring a lot of effort to keep in a straight line with quick inputs in the steering wheel. When you’ve got useable power and rear-wheel drive, handling like this never gives you the confidence to really push on. All in all, it feels like it is lost between being a muscle car and a sports car, and to be either of those things it needs an engine that suits it a lot better than this 2.0-litre.
For somebody who doesn’t like to drive spiritedly, perhaps the 2.0-litre F-Type is the best F-Type in the range. This quieter, lighter engine would work well in a convertible model with a slightly softer suspension set up perhaps. For anyone who considers themselves an enthusiast though, this is going to be a disappointing experience – and lets also not forget that this car costs upwards of £50,000 before you attach any options to it. There are more enjoyable cars to drive for nearly half that.
Flat cola isn’t cola. It goes against the true recipe of the drink, and though you might like it, it isn’t a true representation of the actual product. The same can be said for this version of the Jaguar F-Type.
Hey, at the end of the day we like what we like. I’m going to back to the fizz on this occasion.
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