Jaguar owners are a special breed of people. They are proper and refined, yet athletic. I often times picture a gentleman or madam who is casually driving along a country road to attend a polo match. But then when no one is watching… he or she will smash the gas pedal in delight. After all, Jaguar’s motorsports heritage dates back to the 1950s. Traditionally you would hear the roar of a V12 or V8 command the road in anger as the gas pedal hits the floor, but this is 2018. Emissions regulations are forcing companies to produce smaller and more efficient engines. But at the same time there is pressure for manufactures’ to squeeze more power from each cylinder in order to stay competitive. Hence the reason 4-cylinder turbos are becoming more and more popular in performance cars like the Porsche 718, Ford Mustang, and Alfa Romeo Giuila.
When I look at the spec sheet, it is amazing to think that Jaguar is able to squeeze 296 horsepower and 295 pounds of torque out of a 4-cylinder motor. That is V8 power from 10 years ago. The little motor is able to push the car from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and it is able to deliver a top speed of 155 mph. That is proper Jaguar performance! But when I get a lead foot I begin to notice that something is missing. Something doesn’t sound right. Then I remember that it is the exhaust note. The vehicle isn’t silent by any stretch of the imagination, but your neighbors won’t hear you come home at night either. Personally I can’t think of anything more exhalating than accelerating as fast as you can in the F-Type SVR, with a 575 horsepower Supercharged V8. It is my favorite sound in the world. The 5.0L motor rockets the car from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, but it feels like you are going a million miles an hour because of the sensory experience…. It is what is missing from the 4-cyinder F-Type. Or is it?
What if you no longer have an inner child that loves burning rubber? What if your idea of the perfect Sunday afternoon going fast on curvy road, but you don’t need the world to know about it? Then the 4-cylinder F-Type might be the prefect solution for you. You can get the prestige of owning a Jaguar F-Type without the x factor. It is visually a stunning car! I love the look of the F-Type coupe with its sleek lines and iconic sports car shape. The build quality is precision grade, and ride is on par with a traditional sedan. Driving it you get the feeling that you are driving a sports car, but it doesn’t beat you up like a sports car. Additionally, because this model comes with a fuel efficient 2.0L 4-clyinder motor and an 8-speed automatic transmission, the gas mileage is impressive. I would even venture to say that on a long road trip, I would take the 4-cylinder variant over the V8 because of the fuel economy. Let’s face it, you don’t need a V8 on a four-lane highway.
And because you have fewer cylinders, the starting price of the F-Type drops from $70,000 with the V6 to $60,000 with the 4-clinder. I found the 4-clyinder motor to be plenty of power for an everyday sports, but it is not going to win any races in the grocery store parking lot. In that price point you could also get a Chevy Corvette or 718 Cayman. Both of those cars are significantly quicker (3.8 seconds 0-60 mph and 4.9 seconds 0-60 mph respectively), but the Jaguar F-Type is a true gentleman’s car. It has a rare phycological quality that is hard to replicate. If I was going to the race track, I would want to take the Corvette or Porsche, but if I am going to fancy dinner party or on a long road trip, I would want to take the Jaguar – no matter which motor is under the hood.
So is there really something missing from the 4-cylinder Jaguar F-Type? Yes, but only for 5.4 seconds at each stoplight.