Since its arrival in 2013, two attributes have come to define the F-Type: its sublime aluminium bodywork and the way it sounds.

Its appearance can’t be said to be in jeopardy, Jaguar’s coupé this year having received only a judicious nip and tuck to its much loved curves, but the soundtrack has changed immeasurably of late because you can now buy an F-Type with just four turbocharged cylinders.

Yes, downsizing has claimed another unlikely victim, although not – as has been the case for Porsche’s most recent iterations of the Boxster and Cayman – at the expense of choice.

Rest assured, you can still get an F-Type with a supercharged V6 or V8 motor.

What this new Ingenium-engined model means, however, is that you can also get an F-Type that costs about £50,000 new, can surpass 40mpg at a cruise and – for better or worse – doesn’t wake the dead on a cold start.

This delicately yet fundamentally alters the F-Type proposition. In four-cylinder guise, no longer can this be considered a dyed-in-the-wool grand tourer whose various dynamic shortfalls are to be forgiven on account of its effortless large-capacity gait and elegant demeanour.

What it retains of those characteristics will stand this junior offering in good stead – a classically good-looking car with a classically sporting layout will always hold strong appeal – but agility and precision are the order of the day when all of a sudden your chief rivals are bona fide sports cars in the mould of the aforementioned Porsche duo and Audi’s TT RS.

Ascertaining the extent to which Jaguar has succeeded in honing this lighter F-Type into a dynamic match for those cars is reason enough for it to be the subject of our gruelling road test.

Prospective owners will also want to know where this car draws the line between the two automotive spheres it now straddles. 

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
    First Drive
    15 December 2017
    The super-saloon version of Alfa’s long-awaited M3 rival has already wowed our road testers, but what’s it like to live with?
  • Lexus LS 500h
    First Drive
    14 December 2017
    New flagship saloon from Lexus provides a luxury interior to rival the best but comes up short due to its hybrid powertrain
  • Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0 TSI SE
    First Drive
    14 December 2017
    Volkswagen's has high aspirations for its new crossover be the best in class and then some. We've driven the 1.0 TSI T-Roc out in the UK to see if it's as good as Wolfsburg says
  • Dacia Sandero Stepway LPG
    First Drive
    14 December 2017
    We’re familiar with the Sandero – it’s the cheap fuel that really intrigues us. We’ve sourced a dual-fuel Dacia to determine whether running a car on LPG is practical in Britain
  • Ford Mondeo ST-Line
    First Drive
    13 December 2017
    The Mondeo ST-Line marries sporty styling with that car's signature dynamism to make a rather appealing package designed for private buyers