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Driven: Jaguar F-Type four-cylinder lands

Type cast: The four-pot version of the Jaguar F-Type is now on sale and starts from $107,012, plus on-road costs.

Four-cylinder variant to help reverse Jaguar F-Type sales decline


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13 Dec 2017

JAGUAR Australia has wiped more than $10,000 from the entry point to F-Type ownership with the arrival of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that will target a younger demographic and aim to boost the sportscar’s flagging sales.

Coinciding with the arrival of the model year 2018 F-Type line-up, the new 221kW 2.0-litre coupe starts at $107,012 plus on-road costs and the convertible at $125,712, or $14,200 below the updated 250kW 3.0-litre supercharged V6 equivalents.

A revised model structure has also seen the V6 S model grade scrapped, replaced only by an R-Dynamic design and exhaust package available on all four-cylinder and V6 model grades for – in the case of the entry coupe – $7800 extra.

The move to install the 400Nm Ingenium engine in the F-Type follows Porsche’s move to offer a four-cylinder Boxster and Cayman, and Jaguar Australia product planning manager Andrew Chapman declared those sportscars as prime targets for the fresh entry model.

“We will expect potentially a slightly different demographic, it (four-cylinder) has been a very positive move in terms of opening up from the model on to younger customers,” Mr Chapman told GoAuto at the national media launch of the F-Type four-cylinder on the New South Wales Central Coast this week.

“This makes F-Type more accessible. We would be optimistic that we would be pulling (Porsche) Boxster and Cayman customers, (Audi) TT customers, that sort of demographic.

“Then hopefully we can keep them on board and take them on the F-Type journey all the way up to SVR.”

While the Jaguar has remained more expensive than the $100,855 Audi TT S, it has undercut the $115,300 Porsche Cayman, which requires a further $1850 for an automatic transmission that is standard on the entry F-Type.

Mr Chapman said it was “hard to tell” whether the four-cylinder would become the top-selling F-Type, however, despite the pre-facelift entry V6 being the most popular version beforehand.

He predicted that the car-maker would require “six to nine months” to see how the new line-up settles in, and therefore declined to forecast an increase in sales.

According to VFACTS November, sales figures Jaguar has sold 135 F-Types year-to-date, down from 172 units last year for a decline of 21.5 per cent.

“Obviously we expect some incremental business. We’re opening up to new customers so you would expect it to add to our sales,” he continued.

“The V6 has been a key player for us in terms of being a volume car on F-Type, (it) has been extremely successful car at bringing people into the F-Type brand.

“I think it will take a bit of time to see how the four-cylinder will interact with the V6 and what the split will be. I think it’s going to take some time for that to become clear (but) I think with the V6 buyers, you tend to get people choosing between the V6 and the V6 S. We get a reasonable split there.”

With “around three quarters” of F-Type buyers choosing coupe over convertible, Mr Chapman said that such a trend was also unlikely to change.

He insisted, however, that there was a sizeable enough pricing gap between the four-cylinder and V6 F-Types to attract market attention.

“There’s a significant saving if you look at the entry point to the two vehicles (four-cylinder and V6),” Mr Chapman added.

“Even if you’re looking at the R-Dynamic 2.0-litre, at a $114,000 entry point, you’re below the 250kW V6 coupe by a significant amount. It’s $120,000-plus.

“We’re obviously pretty sure we’ve got the most competitive position that we think we can have and we think $107,000 is a great position.”

Jaguar has also claimed that the four-cylinder version of the F-Type has a different driving character to that of the V6 model grades. The smaller engine has reduced kerb weight by 52kg to 1525kg (coupe) and 1545kg (convertible), with the majority of the mass removed from the front axle.

That required a suspension re-tune, with a spring rate reduction of 4.0 per cent at the front and 3.0 per cent at the rear, while a new lightweight 18-inch alloy wheel design has been made as standard to further reduce unsprung mass.

It has endowed the four-cylinder with a livelier and more agile driving character compared with its siblings, according to Jaguar.

The new 2.0-litre Ingenium turbo four-cylinder engine produces 221kW at 5500rpm and 400Nm between 1500rpm and 4500rpm, slightly down on the entry V6’s 250kW/450Nm outputs.

However, with a claimed 5.7-second 0-100km/h, the four is only four-tenths slower, while its combined-cycle fuel consumption of 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres leaves it 1.2L/100km thriftier than the V6.

Despite being tagged a purer F-Type, however, a six-speed manual transmission – typically cited as the driving enthusiast’s choice – has been reserved for the V6 only, with an eight-speed automatic standard with the four-cylinder engine.

Torque vectoring with a limited-slip differential, and all-wheel drive to replace the standard rear-wheel drive, have both also been reserved as V6-only options.

On the outside the F-Type four-cylinder can be distinguished by a large centre exhaust pipe, replacing the twin-centre unit of the V6, while LED headlights debut as standard on the R-Dynamic along with lane-departure warning and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) on all of Jaguar’s MY18 sportscar range.

Specification has otherwise become mirrored between four-cylinder and V6, with leather/suede cloth trim, electrically adjustable front seats and steering column, single-zone climate control air-conditioning, automatic on/off headlights and wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror and 8.0-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and 380-watt Meridian audio system standard.

Optional equipment includes a blind-spot monitor/lane-keep assistance/rear cross-traffic alert package ($2210), keyless auto-entry ($1200), reverse-view camera ($1060) and digital radio ($640), among others.

In addition to LED headlights, the R-Dynamic adds 19-inch alloy wheels, black sports bodykit and two-mode switchable sports exhaust.

As per every F-Type, boot volume for the two-door two-seater sportscar has been rated at between 207 litres (convertible) and 310L (coupe).

2017 Jaguar F-Type four-cylinder pricing*
Coupe (a)$107,012
R-Dynamic Coupe (a)$114,812
Convertible (a)$125,712
R-Dynamic Convertible (a)$133,512

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