Entry-level price, soft-top motoring with the F-Type. Is it a Boxster beater?
We must, apparently, all learn to love four-cylinder engines. A few years ago we were told to love diesels, now it’s four-pot petrol engines that we have to embrace. Porsche has already gone down this route with mixed acclaim, with the 2.0-litre flat-four Boxster. Now Jaguar is joining in.
This version comes with the 2.0-litre petrol version of Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium engine, but at least it makes 296bhp, a very respectable amount, and 295lb ft of torque – ditto.
When you’ve finished going through the running costs data, the main advantage is to bring in an F-Type under £50,000, even if the Coupe was in a form where nobody would buy it without adding stuff. But the convertible comes in at around £55,000 or, as tested here, nearly £60,000. That’s about ten grand more than for the equivalent Porsche Boxster. How does that add up then?
2017 Jaguar F-Type Convertible 2.0 i4 R-Dynamic
Engine 1997cc, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol;
Power 296bhp at 5500rpm;
Torque 295lb ft at 1500-4500rpm;
Gearbox 8-spd auto;
Top speed 155mph;
Fuel economy 39.2mpg;
CO2 rating 163g/km
It adds up to some lower weight, about 52kg less, and most of that from over the front wheels. That means some quicker turn-in and faster changes of direction that you’d get with the more powerful F-Types. It feels more nimble, more agile. Because it’s an entry-level car, passive dampers are standard and they do a good job, adding a real sense of pliant control which is allowed by the softer springs which are allowed because of the lower weight.
You can push the car harder in the corners, and what goes for the handling goes for the engine. You can feel, if you focus, that this isn’t a natural sports car engine. It doesn’t really long to be caned stupid, instead offering loads of torque from 1,500rpm, with a lack of willingness to charge to the redline.
However, because you don’t have the masses of power of the V6 or V8 options, using the eight-speed transmission allows rapid progress without the need to either back off because it’s getting scary or because the traction control is having to keep interrupting proceedings. What you have you can use to the full, and that’s quite a nice feeling.
However, it is a four-pot, and lowering the roof reminds you of that. You can make the exhaust pop and bang if you add the right mode, but it’s still not a V8. In the same way that the Porsche Boxster is a disappointment to the ears.
That much the two cars have in common, but to our eyes, ears and other senses, the Porsche just shades this. The F-Type Convertible with the 2.0-litre engine is a good combination, and one you can at least feel you can use to the limit, unlike the more intimidating V8 versions, but you’re paying quite a bit for the pleasure of less drama and noise compared to some notable competitors. And, really, choosing this car means you’re saving £3,700 compared to buying the 3.0-litre V6 auto. We’re not convinced the numbers add up.