2018 Jaguar F-Type First Look | Edmunds

2018 Jaguar F-Type First Look

Four Cylinders Make for the Most Accessible Looker

Announcing that the 2018 Jaguar F-Type now includes a four-cylinder option triggers a fascinatingly diverse reaction. The responses range from indifferent "Ohs" to scrunched-up noses to genuinely enthusiastic "Nice!"s. Four-cylinder Jaguar sports cars have historical backing, but it's been a long time since such a thing existed.

The F-Type four-cylinder gives buyers two new, lower-priced entry points (coupe and convertible), slotting below the supercharged V6- and stonking supercharged V8-equipped variants. There are no badges and precious few visual differentiators that denote an F-Type's four-cylinder status. There's a single oblong tailpipe tip and, well, that's about it. This is a savvy move on Jaguar's part, considering that styling is one of the primary reasons buyers gravitate toward the F-Type. Surely none of them would mind if onlookers simply assumed they were driving, say, the pricier V8-equipped F-Type R model.

2018 Jaguar F-Type

Four-cylinder-equipped F-Types will be rear-wheel drive and fitted solely with the corporate eight-speed automatic transmission. To keep costs down, these models are equipped with fixed monotube dampers in lieu of the continuously variable ones found elsewhere in the range. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, but 19s and 20s are optional — another smart move.

The F-Type's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine itself is pretty clever. It's an offshoot of the engine in the XE sedan, sporting a new cylinder head and turbocharger in the quest for rapid boost buildup. As in the Ford Focus RS, the F-Type's twin-scroll manifold is integrated into the cylinder head. This engineering setup, coupled with a two-path cooling system, provides independent control for the block and head, provides for quicker turbo response, better packaging and improved efficiency. Finally, the Ingenium engine family's valvetrain includes a variable valve lift system on the intake side that, to be succinct, provides a tremendous amount of control.

2018 Jaguar F-Type

The four-cylinder's headlining numbers are 296 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque between 1,500 and 4,500 rpm. The target, Jaguar says, is for the four-cylinder to emulate the robust power delivery and rapid response of its supercharged engines. Zero to 60 mph is said to take 5.4 seconds. Fuel economy numbers are yet to be released, but they will certainly be the most miserly of all F-Types.

Equally as appealing as the four-cylinder's price point is the fact that the coupe's 3,360-pound curb weight is roughly 115 pounds lighter than an otherwise similar V6 model, and most of the weight comes off the nose. The resulting weight distribution shifts 1 percentage point rearward and is said to imbue the four-cylinder model with more playful handling. Engineers correspondingly dialed back the spring rates by a few percent to improve the ride quality. That all sounds great, but we've often puzzled over why the all-aluminum, two-seat F-Type is as dense as it is.

There are a handful of other tweaks to the F-Type for 2018 but none as significant as the introduction of a four-cylinder engine. Its base price of $60,895 places it on equal footing with a base Porsche Cayman or Chevrolet Corvette Stingray with a few options. All of them provide a different driving experience, but there's little doubt that such an accessible F-Type will steal at least some sales away from the other two.

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