Jaguar F-Type Coupe 2.0 R-Dynamic: When Less Can Be More

A classy coupe with a design flair for the dramatic, the entry-level Jaguar F-Type four-banger boasts a punchy and prodigious downsized engine, and with less weight at the front, is a more accessible and agile its brutish V8 sister models.

An entry-level addition to the British car maker’s two-seat premium sports car model line, the 2-litre four-cylinder version of the Jaguar F-Type Coupe is a more accessible, affordable and frugal alternative to existing 3-litre V6 and 5-litre V8 incarnations. Hot on the heels of the most powerful SVR skunkworks F-Type iteration, the four-pot 2.0 gives away a substantial 271BHP to the big cat’s top dog sports model, but is also significantly 180kg lighter, more nimble and more often is more fun to drive, and especially so in daily driving situations.

Arriving as part of a subtle F-Type mid-life facelift and model revision, the more economical turbocharged 2.0 model is visually little different, but delivers a somewhat different driving characteristic to the previous 335BHP entry-level V6 model. Positioned close to the lesser of a now expanded three supercharged V6 engine F-Type selection, the 2.0’s performance is little behind the entry-level V6 but is conversely more fuel efficient.  In terms of character the 2.0 places more emphasis on low-end and mid-range muscle and versatility than the supercharged V6’s sweeping and higher-revving delivery.

Little changed in design, the revised F-Type range circa model year 2018 retains the same svelte and feline lines, curves and profile, long bonnet and pert rear as when it first launched back in 2013. Similarly unchanged are the F-Type’s wide, hungry and recessed mesh grille and moody, slim rear lights. However, the updated model does ditch the original’s gill-like side intakes for a single opening mesh design, and also features more variation in its front bumper and lower lip design to differentiate between models and specifications, and full LED headlights.

Driven in the more aesthetically aggressive R-Design trim level and with a large fixed rear wing for dramatic posture and improved aerodynamic down-force, and large 20-inch alloys with staggered front 255/35ZR20 front and 295/30ZR20 rear tyres for added traction and grip, the entry-level 2.0 looks about as menacingly assertive as the full fat SVR version. More planted into the tarmac at speed and through fast corners with the larger tyres and fixed rear wing, the F-Type Coupe 2.0’s smaller and lighter turbocharged 2-litre 4-cylinder engine does however make it more nimble, agile and eager into corners and tidier when making sudden direction changes.

Driving the rear wheels through a slick, smooth and quick shifting 8-speed automatic gearbox with a broad range of ratios for performance, efficiency and versatility and escalating responsive auto and manual paddle-shift modes, the F-Type 2.0 is however not offered with all-wheel-drive or manual gearbox options as some other F-Type models. Developing 296BHP at 5500rpm and 295lb/ft torque throughout a broad and accessible 1500-4500rpm plateau, the F-Type’s new Ingenium family four-cylinder engine allows for brisk performance including 0-100km/h acceleration in just 5.7-seconds, a 250km/h top speed and modest 7.2l/100km combined cycle fuel efficiency.

Responsive from standstill with its quick spooling exhaust gas-driven turbocharger, if not as immediate off the line and sweepingly consistent from tickover to redline as its bigger displacement and mechanically-driver supercharged sister models, the F-Type 2.0 is however formidably punchy, eager and a genuinely swift car. Effortless flexible as it accumulates speed when driving on its big brawny and generously broad mid-range torque sweet spot whether overtaking or cruising at speed, the four-cylinder F-Type is however a distinctly lower revving machine than other F-Types, and running out of steam past its 5500rpm power peak, is back in its abundant comfort zone once the next gear is selected.

Despite its lower revving character, the F-Type is one of the most rewarding and fun F-Type models around, which allows one to enjoy pushing it hard without going too fast, and all the while enjoying its aggressively growling and churning acoustics. Lighter in front and in general, it is nippy, maneuverable and eager turning into corners with quick, direct and well-weighted steering delivering a meaty yet more delicately nuanced feel for the road than much of the competition. Hunkered down, taut and settled on the road, the F-Type 2.0 well controls body lean through corners and remains buttoned down over road imperfections.

A front-engine rear-drive sports coupe with near perfect weighting and a relatively short wheelbase, the F-Type 2.0 delivers agile and adjustable handling with a more purist appeal than all-wheel-driver F-Types. Flat and taut through corners and grippy when exiting a corner as one comes back on power, the F-Type’s rear can however be easily, predictable and gradually be coaxed out slightly to tighten a cornering line. However, its stability controls keep things well in check, and while a limited-slip differential would have made a nice addition for such situations, the F-Type does however feature selective brake-based torque vectoring for added agility and stability.

Settled, reassuringly stable and refined at speed and in town, the F-Type’s ride smooth and somewhat firm over jagged lumps and bumps, but otherwise its fixed rate double wishbone suspension fluently flows with road textures. Cozy and comfortable, the 2-seat F-Type’s cabin is classy, sporty and driver focused with thick steering wheel, lots of lush leathers and metals, soft textures and an intuitive layout. Visibility is good in front, but with rear thick rear pillars, big haunches, low roof and a small rear hatch, one tends to use the reversing camera for improved rear visibility. Meanwhile boot space well accommodates luggage for two for a weekend excursion.

Driving position is meanwhile supportive, alert and more comfortable, with slimmer, more ergonomically contoured standard R-Dynamic seats proving more comfortable for larger and taller drivers than the SVR model’s yet sportier seats. Well-kitted with safety, comfort, infotainment and driver assistance systems, one found the F-Type’s blind spot warning system particularly useful and its infotainment touchscreen user-friendly. However, and though convenient, the standard electric opening rear tailgate is perhaps an unnecessary luxury and small weight gain for so sporty a car with lightweight aluminium construction.

Specifications: Jaguar F-Type Coupe 2.0 R-Dynamic

  • Engine: 2-litre, turbocharged, in-line 4-cylinders
  • Bore x stroke: 83 x 92.3mm
  • Compression ratio: 9.5:1
  • Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, variable timing, direct injection
  • Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
  • Ratios: 1st 4.714; 2nd 3.143; 3rd 2.106; 4th 1.667; 5th 1.285; 6th 1.0; 7th 0.839; 8th 0.667
  • Reverse / final drive ratios: 3.295 / 3.55
  • Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 296 (300) [221] @5500rpm
  • Specific power: 148.2BHP/litre
  • Power-to-weight: 194.1BHP/tonne
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 295 (400) @1500-4500rpm
  • Specific torque: 200.3Nm/litre
  • Torque-to-weight: 262.3Nm/tonne
  • 0-100km/h: 5.7-seconds
  • Top speed: 250km/h
  • Fuel economy, combined: 7.2-litres/100km
  • CO2 emissions, combined: 163g/km
  • Fuel capacity: 63-litres
  • Length: 4482mm
  • Width: 1923mm
  • Height: 1310mm
  • Wheelbase: 2622mm
  • Track, F/R: 1597/1649mm
  • Boot capacity, min/max: 310/408-litres
  • Unladen weight: 1525kg
  • Suspension, F/R: Double wishbones
  • Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion
  • Turning circle: 10.7-meters
  • Brakes, F/R: 355/325mm ventilated discs
  • Brake calipers, F/R: 2-/1-piston
  • Tyres, F/R: 255/35ZR20 / 295/30ZR20

Previous articleLada 4×4 Urban 5-Door: Unpretentious Utility, Affordable Ability
Next articleFord Expedition Platinum 4×4: Big Impression