Jaguar F-Type 2018 review

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

The Jaguar F-Type is a logical successor to the legendary E-Type, and the new 2.0-litre version does nothing to diminish that.  

Report by Ernest Litera.
April 2018.


Since its launch, the F-Type has proved the most convincing Jaguar sports car since the legendary E-Type. While various sporting models introduced between these two pandered too much to the soft touring market, the F-Type looks right, feels right and is quick and capable. 

Today’s supercharged 3.0-litre V6 and 5.0-litre V8 coupe and convertible F-Types brought tantalising power and perform­ance to a finely crafted chassis, and pricing crept increasingly upmarket. 

Small engine, dynamic performance

Now there’s a new entry-model F-Type featuring a 211kW turbo-charged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. It’s 52 kilograms lighter than the 250kW V6, particularly over the front axle, aiding nimble handling, while fuel consumption is cut by 16 per cent.

But don’t dismiss the performance capability and tuneful engaging character of this F-Type based on the number of cylinders. Launch response is impressive with 400Nm of torque delivered from just 1500rpm, compared with the V6’s 450Nm which doesn’t arrive until 3500rpm. 

With its eight-speed auto gearbox and lighter kerb mass, the four-cylinder produced a 0-100km/h time of 6.1 seconds and 0-400 metres in 14.3 seconds. To put that into perspective, those times are 0.8 and 0.4 seconds respectively faster than the original 3.8-litre six-cylinder E-Types as recorded by English magazine Autocar. 

Optimum blend of performance and economy

Modern materials and technologies, such as ceramic ball bearings in the twin-scroll turbocharger and an electro-­hydraulic valve-train providing variable valve lift and duration, deliver an optimum blend of performance and economy. 

The 2.0-litre model continues with Jaguar’s all-aluminium body and suspension construction. Interestingly Jaguar acknowledged the muted tones of a typical four-cylinder and has engineered active intake and exhaust systems that deliver just the right amount of background grumble during forceful acceleration and the expected bark when downshifting. 

The eight-speed auto deals equally with gentle shifts in stop-start traffic or rapid-fire changes under full load, but can hesitate during kick-down. The solution? Click the sports mode button to ensure the right gear for this Jaguar to pounce.

Alternatively, drivers can take manual control via steering-wheel paddles. On our test, fuel economy averaged 9.2L/100km against a government figure of 7.2L/100km.

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Price range

The F-Type four-cylinder coupe is $107,012 plus on-road costs, and the convertible is from $125,712. Our test car, the R-Dynamic convertible, added a design pack in gloss black, 19-inch wheels, a switchable active exhaust, LED road lights and an aluminium centre console, all for $133,512. 

However, the car ended up topping out at $168,782 before registration, reflecting the enticement for customers to indulge in a vast range of options which in many instances may have been considered standard.

These include keyless entry ($1200), rear-view camera ($1060), front parking sensors ($710) and digital radio ($640). The standard safety list incorporates autonomous emergency braking, four airbags and lane-departure warning, but the F-Type has not been ANCAP-rated. Regrettably, almost every other desirable safety feature is in the $2210 Drive Pack or is a pricey stand-alone option.

A snug interior

This two-seater roadster has classic design presence on the road, with its low ride height, long bonnet and doors, stubby tail and notably wide hip line. It’s difficult not to simply fall into the low-slung seats, exiting may require a hand on the sill to lever yourself out.

The distinctive cockpit layout feels snug but not cramped, with good head and leg space, seat lumbar adjustment and outstanding comfort and operational convenience. Cabin storage is modest.  

Electrically adjusted leather and suede-trimmed seats are nicely shaped and supportive, while you sit in a classic sports car pose, with legs outstretched and arms gently bent. The wide cockpit layout is smart and tidy rather than radical and has a large centre screen.

Classic dials face the driver, and most-used functions are in the range of steering wheel buttons. The powered soft-top with its heated glass window seals snugly, operates in seconds and doesn’t impinge on the small boot, arguably sufficient for just two soft overnight bags.

Overseas model shown

Easy to live with

Despite its imposing width and access foibles, the F-Type is a surprisingly easy sports car to live with. Vision with the top raised is acceptable, the driveline delivers smoothly and responsively and the ride, although firm, is well insulated.

There’s double-wishbone suspension front and rear, with electric power steering tailored for both precision and road feel at normal speeds. 

The 2.0-litre version is a stunner on good roads. Push a little harder on a back road and the large wheels and tyres start to be more influenced by road surface irregularities, bringing a distinct tendency to move around more than expected. However, once this is understood and expected, the handling limits are high and the driving engagement very rewarding.

The verdict

Classy, competent and easy to live with, the new 2.0-litre F-Type Jaguar seems to bring the marque’s sporting credentials to a more affordable level, yet many desirable appointments and safety features are pricey extra-cost options.

Jaguar F-Type R-Dynamic 2.0-Litre

Price

$133,512 + $10,759 (est) ORC. Premium paint $2950. Range $107,012-$133,512. 

Safety

ESC. ABS. 4 airbags. AEB. Adaptive cruise control. Lane-departure warning. 

Connectivity

8” touch-screen. Sat-nav. USB input. Options: Premium audio $7260, digital radio $640, Connect apps $1190.

Vehicle features

Single-zone climate control. Leather/suede electric seats. Options: Full leather $4720.

Driver features

Fully adjustable steering column. Push-button start. Drive modes.

Specifications

Drivetrain: 1997cc, 4cyl turbo-petrol engine. Rear-wheel drive. 8spd auto. 221kW@ 5500rpm, 400Nm@1500rpm. 

Performance

0-60km/h, 3.0 sec.
0-80, 4.3. 0-100, 6.1. 0-400m, 14.3.

Fuel

9.2L/100km (RACV); 95-RON

RACV rating

*** 1/2

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