Jaguar’s sportiest car gets a midlife update paired with a 2.0-litre turbo engine
Photos: Leow Ju-Len and Lionel Kong
A lot has been written and plenty of videos made about the Jaguar F-Type coupe. Yet for all that press since its launch in 2014 the car has been a quiet mover that didn’t shake up mainstream perceptions the way that the Porsche Cayman managed to do. That’s not to say that the F-Type isn’t great, but like practically all Jaguar sports cars over the last 20 years, you do need to know what you’re looking at to appreciate its story as they don’t trade on extroverted and wild looks.
For this midlife update, The F-Type coupe is officially getting just one engine variant in Singapore: the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo engine. It’s a pretty powerful motor befitting the car’s image, with a maximum output of 296 horsepower but without the thirsty appetite for petrol of a large capacity V8 engine.
The V8 engined, 575hp F-Type R and 450hp versions of the coupe are still officially available but are indent-only models here.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty that’s new about this update, from the reshaped front end to the new interactive driver display with a 12.3-inch screen and smartphone connectivity.
The version driven here is also unique in that it’s the First Edition trim variant, with larger 20-inch wheels, an exterior design pack, and special interior package in a contrasting red. It costs a pretty hefty S$35,000 over the standard R-Dynamic trim model, but is available only in the first year of the model’s production. If you really like your F-Type and want it to look different from the others, then this one’s calling out to you.
The original car had a very long gestation period, with prototypes appearing as early as 2000 before production finally began with the convertible version in 2013.
If you’re new to the F-Type, it’s a two-seat coupe with the engine in front, driving the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. You’re not going to get any more than two people in the car because rear seats don’t exist in this car. There’s a medium sized storage cubicle behind each seat for smaller items, and a decently large, though shallow boot in the rear. If you’re only going to buy one car, this might not be the best choice as carrying capacity is limited.
The cabin is cosy with a low seating position, and from where you sit, the rear wheels are almost just behind you. This gives the car a very different dynamic feel and when working the steering wheel the car almost feels like it’s rotating around you rather than being led by the nose like other more conventional body designs.
In typical Jaguar fashion, there’s a moving part in the cabin in the form of the centre aircon blower vents. They rise up from the dashboard every time the car is started, and drop flush with the top after you switch off the car. There’s no particular reason to have them do it other than to look interesting.
The engine note is typical four-cylinder turbo, not entirely beefy but not quite anemic either. There’s a sports exhaust mode button on the centre console that toughens up the aural presence somewhat, but in the light of the imminent arrival of the electric age, how many more cars are we likely to be getting like this one?
The F-Type was always meant to be a very sporty grand tourer, though one could argue that the top-spec F-Type R is really a track day machine. The two-litre turbo version here isn’t short on power though and it can be an exciting machine when driven with commitment, though you do have to remember that this is a rear-wheel driven car and the wheels are almost right behind you. This gives the car a very agile feel that is at odds with its long 4,470mm length.
Rearward visibility is actually pretty good despite the chunky C-pillars, though reverse parking takes some acclimatising because the car pivots very tightly around its rear axle so it can get into tighter spots than you would expect.
Sequential gear shifting via the paddle shifters is also pretty much lag-free, though the gearbox shifts very logically when left in its default automatic mode too.
However it’s also true that there is nothing like the Jaguar F-Type available from any major car manufacturer at the moment, with the classically long nose and set-back cabin profile of a traditional British sports car that dates back to the E-Type of the 1960s.
Jaguar F-Type 2.0 First Edition
|Engine||1997cc, inline-4, turbocharged|
|Power||296hp at 5500rpm|
|Torque||400Nm at 1500-4500rpm|
|VES Band /||C2 / S$20,000*|
|Price||S$377,999 without COE|
|Verdict:||Still a pretty unique luxury sports coupe with character, but only when driven with serious intent|