Many will look on this car as the runt of the litter but there is certainly credibility to the key claim made by Jaguar’s chassis engineers about the F-Type 2.0: that, in some ways, it has better handling and more driver appeal than any of its range-mates.
Even though the test car indicated the same 52/48 front-to-rear weight distribution on MIRA’s scales as both the V8 S convertible we tested in 2013 and the V6 S coupé we tested in 2014, it does indeed ride and handle like a slightly lighter, better-balanced take on the F-Type concept.
The car may have moved from adaptively damped to passively damped suspension for this particular execution, but its ride tuning is so clever that you probably won’t notice initially. On the 19in wheels associated with R-Dynamic trim, there’s decent low-frequency compliance and a reasonable sense of suppleness at low and middling speeds.
Raise your prevailing speed and the ride certainly firms up, though, and body control becomes much less compromising as the dampers switch their attention from low to high-frequency inputs.
At that point, the car takes on the character of a much more simple, old-fashioned sort of sports car.
Over bigger intrusions, it struggles to match the deftness and dexterity of its adaptively damped brethren, pitching and jouncing a little and failing to mix ride comfort and dynamic composure quite as cleverly.
But the pay-off is a sense of simplicity, honesty and predictability about this car’s chassis that isn’t present in any other F-Type. It might not handle a medium-sized bump taken at a certain speed quite as smoothly as a V6, but the way it handles that bump gives you a more dependable idea of what it’ll do over the next one.
Moreover, the obvious surfeit of grip over grunt, excellent handling balance and always taut body control makes this feel like a car that’s made to be driven hard.
The power steering isn’t particularly lively with feedback but it has consistent weight and well-judged pace and it suits the car’s purposes well.
We didn’t encounter the slight inconsistency of loading under braking that we unearthed on our first drive of this car in Norway earlier this year, but it wouldn’t have been impossible for Jaguar to have tuned out whatever caused the quirk in the intervening period.