For reasons we’ve touched on, it would be unrealistic and unfair to expect this four-cylinder F-Type to match the performance level of the often lighter, more powerful and less luxury-minded rivals against which it’s priced.

It’s less unfair, though, for the car’s owner to expect a more vigorous showing than you might get from a typical £30k-£40k hot hatch: a 0-60mph mark, for argument’s sake, between 5.0sec and 5.5sec.

Traction is strong out of the hairpins even through the open rear diff. Torque vectoring system prevents oversteer from developing quickly elsewhere

If the F-Type had achieved Jaguar’s acceleration claim, it would have hit that mark (albeit narrowly) and lifted itself beyond the pace of more humble performance machinery.

But in actuality, the car needed 5.7sec to hit 60mph from rest, 14.6sec to hit 100mph and 5.1sec to go from 30mph to 70mph through the gears; which is slower than both the current Honda Civic Type R and Ford Focus RS on two counts out of three and is beaten by the VW Golf R across the board.

Just as a 718 Cayman S isn’t quite in the Jaguar’s league on luxury, of course, neither are any of those hot hatches, but that doesn’t make the comparison entirely spurious.

The fact is that this car doesn’t have the potency to be quite as fast as it ought to be, and it doesn’t feel that way, either – even compared with the four-cylinder opposition.

Jaguar’s Ingenium 2.0-litre four-pot sounds just a little bit flat and spikey around idle, and less rich and smooth than any of the F-Type’s other motors by some distance.

Engage ‘Drive’ and it knuckles down more promisingly, though. It responds smartly to the accelerator, provides a useful if not quite fully forceful-feeling amount of mid-range torque, and sounds at least a little rasping and sporty (helped a fair bit by noticeable engine-note synthesis via the audio speakers).

The way the car pulls through the middle of the tacho’s range is swift enough, but there’s a distinct lack of enthusiasm to the way it revs beyond 5000rpm, even by four-cylinder turbo petrol standards.

The bottom line is that the rush of urgent acceleration you expect of a Jaguar sports car never really materialises.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox does well to make the most of the engine’s potency – or perhaps to cover for the apparent shortage of it.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Back to top

It shifts quickly and to well within 1000rpm of the redline in manual mode, and intelligently for the most part when left in ‘D’, although not always as smoothly as you’d like.

With the transmission in  ‘Sport’, it’s quick to respond to a lunge of the accelerator and holds onto lower intermediate gears well, particularly when the Dynamic driving mode is also selected.

It’s an automatic gearbox, in short, that enhances the powertrain’s driver appeal although it can do little to fully redeem it.

Find an Autocar car review