The new entry-level F-Type could pave your way into the world of British sports cars
Photos by Azfar Hashim
When you think European coupes, the models that immediately come to mind would have to be either one of the Germans; Audi’s A5, BMW’s 4 Series and Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class Coupe. To most, either one of the Germans is the mark to reach for, as they not only have the badge but also performance to match. Hence why you see so many of them plying our roads.
But if you’re the sort who wants to steer clear of the usual suspects and want something different, well, this Jaguar F-Type Coupe should be right up your alley.
Clamshell bonnet - cool eh?
It’s not exactly a new model I’ll give you that. But what Jaguar has done recently - to broaden the appeal of this particular model - is introduce an entry-level version.
Powering this 2.0-litre F-Type Coupe is Jaguar Land Rover’s latest 4-cylinder ‘Ingenium’ powerplant. It is mated to an 8-speed ‘box, sourced from ZF; this pairing ensures the F-Type Coupe has 296 bhp and 400 Nm worth of torque at its disposal.
On paper, standstill to 100 km/h is delivered in 5.7 seconds, but we do suspect it does faster than that; after all this rear-wheel drive coupe weighs in at just slightly above 1.5-tonnes and the way it lunges forward in the first three gears are good enough at outrunning the rest of traffic, particularly in Dynamic mode.
However there is one downside to this car – the engine’s refinement. While we clearly embrace the melody produced by its supercharged V8 variant (test-driven quite some time back), this unit does come across as coarse anywhere past the 4,000 rpm mark; it gets more unpleasant when you’re driving with the audio system switched off.
To (maybe) compensate that, Jaguar fitted a little fun button in the centre console: The sport exhaust button. Switch this on and enjoy the braaappp, braaappp, brapapappap coming from the rear. To date, Jaguar remains one of the best in this regard.
The F-Type remained a cruiser most of our time with the car. Unlike the ham-fisted manner we drove the V8 version, this 4-cylinder was driven the way its average owner would drive it – in a steady manner. In urban traffic, the F-Type feels comfortable and gentlemanly, to the point every phone call I received over the car’s Bluetooth system were answered with a cockney accent, automatically. I even told the callers my name is now Charles.
Joke aside, you get the point. The F-Type displayed the typical British class as it trundles along from point to point. On the expressway, the cabin shows off exemplary refinement too, shutting off both wind and road noise.
There’s good weight and feel at the helm, and it shows its advantage along twisty back roads. You know exactly what the front two wheels are up to, and the chassis responds to your every input very well. A well tuned suspension, along with sticky Pirelli P Zero rubbers ensure plenty of wide smile as you leave pesky tail-gating hot-hatches behind you; it feels very balanced even near its limit. Oh, the brakes are brilliant hence allowing you to brake a little later than normal.
If I were to purchase an F-Type Coupe for myself, this is exactly how I would spec it up: In British Racing Green, with brown/black combo for the interior. The cabin is a well-appointed one, with all controls clearly labelled and easily within driver’s reach; that said, the air-con’s temperature display is probably the industry’s biggest.
There’s a rude surprise waiting in the boot though. Although promising 407-litres, the placement of the spare tyre immediately decreased that all the way to, maybe, 20-litres. Which meant I had to leave the boot cover at home when I needed to ferry big items; and when the car is parked at a public carpark over lunch, my items were not hidden away from prying eyes. Plus, I’m not willing to leave the spare tyre at home – because, what if I get a puncture?
So as a whole the 2.0-litre F-Type Coupe is not short of quirks, making it a little imperfect for the average buyer. But heck, I would still have one over the Germans despite the premium it commands; simply all thanks to its sexy exterior, lovely exhaust, brilliant driving character, unforgettable cockpit and the fact that it’s a Jaaag.
Sometimes, you have to go against the norm.