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. 

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