Motoring and Property Editor
3:04 PM 28th October 2020
Facelifted F-TYPE Under The Spotlight
Photos by Will Larmour
Back in 2013, when the world seemed a better place, Jaguar launched the F-TYPE, a spiritual successor for the iconic E-TYPE. I have been lucky enough to drive the car in various guises from V6 Coupe to a frankly rather scary SVR. All have provided thrills aplenty, and thankfully no spills.
There was even an F-TYPE rally car which I got to drive on a short and challenging off-road section whilst being tutored by a professional. I think I was probably a lost cause, but it was fun.
Time marches on and Jaguar are in the process of refreshing most of their line-up and as the F-TYPE has had a facelift, I needed no excuse to book one in for a week’s testing.
Most noticeable are the changes to the front of the car – bumper, grille and headlights are all new and reflect the new Jaguar corporate look. Most seem to like the changes, though I must confess to thinking chief designer Ian Callum got it right first time.
At the rear there is a new bumper and lighting changes, but nothing terribly radical. An assortment of different alloy wheels is also on offer to complete the new, sharper look.
There are some changes to the interior. Ahead of the driver is a new 12.3-inch digital instrument panel with a choice of layouts. I settled for a central speedometer with other information set to either side.
Jaguar has also fitted its latest InControl Touch Pro infotainment screen. The 10-inch display offers access to all key functions and is easy enough to use. The graphics could be a little slicker…
Below it sits proper controls for the heating and ventilation, a definite bonus when so many manufacturers are incorporating these functions into their touchscreens.
Otherwise it is business as usual with comfortable and supportive seats and a delightfully sporting, low-slung driving position. Longs spells behind the wheel were relaxing.
Jaguar has now dropped the V6 engines from the F-TYPE but worry not as there are two snarling V8s still on offer. Both supercharged and with 450PS and 575PS respectively, they offer stupendous performance with the more powerful able to sprint from 0-60mph in just 3.5 seconds.
On test here however is the P300 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine car, itself no shrinking violet. On paper the manufacturer quotes a 0-60mph sprint time of 5.4 seconds. It does not feel that fast in the real world. I would also mention that the engine is not the most tuneful, so accessing the upper reaches of the rev range will not bring any aural excitement. You can press a button to make the exhaust note louder though.
The ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox is a familiar offering, with smooth changes the order of the day. Sport mode sharpens things up and holds on to the gears to better access the available performance.
I recorded 30mpg overall, a good result for a car of this type and one which was not driven by yours truly with economy in mind.
A switch alongside the gear selector allows access to ‘Dynamic’ mode, which in turn tightens up the dampers and automatically puts the gearbox into sport mode. A little unnecessary in my opinion as it manages to make the already firm ride even more unyielding. Leave well alone and enjoy what is a great handling car. Now if you are heading to a track day, then maybe…
My week behind the wheel included a 500-mile round trip to an event near Bicester. Setting off in appalling weather conditions at 4.30am, I was soon awake. The F-TYPE coped with the soaking wet roads and thankfully once on the M6, things improved and I was able to relax and enjoy the motorway cruise. Wind noise is well suppressed, with road noise being the loudest sound apart from Zoe Ball chatting at full pace on the radio…
After a day spent behind the wheel of a rival manufacturer’s products, it was no chore to slip into the F-TYPE’s comfortable seat for the cruise back home. So, accomplished sports car and able long distance express.
I am a big fan of convertible cars and of course the F-TYPE can also be head in that form. The downside is the rather modest sized boot. There is no such issue with the coupe, the 509-litre offering being enough for a week’s holiday luggage I would suggest.
My test car was a ‘First Edition’ model, from £63,980 on the road. Highly equipped, the only extras were a ‘Climate Pack’ (two-zone climate control, heated steering wheel and windscreen), privacy glass and 12-way heated and cooled electric memory front seats. Adding about £2,000 to the price, I would tick the boxes.
My week with the F-TYPE went all too quickly. Widely admired wherever I went, the updated car still has the ability to turn heads.
The 2.0-litre engine is almost as quick as the larger V-engines and will undoubtedly be much more affordable to run. But you don’t want to know that, so my advice would be to spend a little more cash (ok quite a lot more) and opt for the 450PS supercharged V8 model, then it will sound as good as it looks!
Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe 300PS First Edition
List price £63,980 on the road
As tested £66,335
300PS 2.0-litre turbocharged engine
Eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox
0-60mph in 5.4 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Economy 29.2mpg (combined cycle)
Emissions 215g/km CO2