DriveWriting as devil’s advocate about the new Jaguar F-Type…
Jaguar are on a roll these days. Car after car spill off the design board to delight waiting customers. With the splendid F-Pace, Jaguar have achieved the highest accolade as the big SUV is voted Car Of The Year. Well deserved hugs all round.
For me, the mighty Jaguar F-Type coupé is one of the most beautiful sports cars on the road today and it drives as well as it looks. It’s proper. I have driven it in its various current guises (3.0L V6 and 5.0L V8) and it never fails to delight and excite.
Jaguar F-Type & Cleaner Combustion
A few days ago the company revealed a four-cylinder version of the Jaguar F-Type sports car and this is where I start to wonder if this is necessarily a good thing. The new car will be offered in coupé and soft-top versions as usual and is powered by a 1,997cc turbocharged Ingenium petrol engine that develops 296bhp at 5,500rpm, with 295lbft of torque from 1,500-4,500rpm.
I can understand that in a world run by people obsessed with car emissions (but seemingly less worried about the 101 other things that emit noxious fumes) car makers don’t have it easy. They have to strive to continue to produce the goods as they are increasingly backed into a corner; but how far can you go in watering down a product?
This new Jaguar F-Type version will be cheaper, will still do the traffic light sprint in under six seconds, use 16% less fuel and emit just 163g/km of evil. Being lighter, it is said to be more agile, more efficient and more affordable. Jaguar say that the lighter weight of the four-pot motor will improve steering response, body control and ride comfort. That’s all good isn’t it?
Jaguar F-Type And A Sense Of Disappointment
Well, yes, I suppose so. But does it not also detract from the whole ethos of the sports car? Will it have an artificially induced roar? The wheels of this latest Jaguar F-Type will be smaller apparently. It has one exhaust instead of twin or quad pipes. At what point does a hot hatch in a ballgown become a full-blown sports car?
There are plenty of small-engine two-seaters on the market at half the price that can still deliver similar goods. To me, it’s like taking the finest malt whisky and watering it down with ginger ale just to make it go further.
I hope I’m wrong. I can see that Jaguar wants to broaden the appeal of the car to attract a new and perhaps more eco-conscious buyer who doesn’t consider displacement a priority but would such people buy a car like this? Improved fuel consumption is good when on a budget but if you can afford a Jaguar then it follows you can afford the fuel.
Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line Director, Jaguar F-Type explains, “Introducing our advanced four-cylinder engine to F-Type has created a vehicle with its own distinct character. Performance from an engine of this size is remarkable and is balanced with improved fuel efficiency and affordability, making the F-Tyre experience more accessible than ever before.”
It’s not as if Jaguar is a lone voice in the wilderness, I guess. Pretty much everyone’s at it except the supercar makers. The trouble is, these are cars that most regular folk can’t afford. The Jaguar F-Type, although obviously pricey, is accessible to many more. With either the V6 or V8 engine it is the people’s British-made sports car and a worthy successor to the legendary E-Type. I just hope the new car doesn’t come with a nagging sense of disappointment, that’s all. Geoff Maxted