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Jaguar’s new F-TYPE P300 proves small is beautiful

 In 2021, a growling V8 may seem a little gauche for some. Just as well Jaguar has the perfectly formed solution

It’s very easy to assume that bigger is always better, especially when it comes to car engines.

You’ll have heard the various sayings…”There’s no substitute for cubic capacity,” or “There’s no replacement for displacement.”

Last year, Jaguar rolled out its new F-TYPE. Externally there is very little to tell between this latest F-TYPE and the outgoing model, which is a good thing as it’s a beauty. The front end is more aggressive – some like it, others are less so sure. It’s personal opinion.

But imagine our disappointment when we asked Jaguar if we could borrow one and were told that they’d be sending us one with a measly 2.0 litre engine under the bonnet.

The V6 engine has been dropped from the latest range of F’s, meaning you can now choose either coupe or convertible body styles with a 2.0 4-cylinder powerplant or a 5.0 litre V8 with either 444bhp or 567bhp on tap. In comparison, the 2.0 engine churns out 296bhp.

OK, so you’d imagine that there is no contest between the 2.0 and 5.0 litre cars – but you’d be wrong. While the bigger engines use a supercharger, the 2.0 litre has a turbo bolted onto it which gives brisk performance. Zero-60mph takes 5.4 seconds while the smaller of the two 5.0 litre engines only takes a single second off that time. In real world driving you’d struggle to tell the difference between the two.

You’d also struggle to differentiate between big engine and small engine by glancing in your rear view mirror as an F-TYPE approaches or peering through the windows to look at the incredibly smart, leather clad interior. Every F-TYPE comes fully loaded. Build quality is now up with the best that Germany can offer. The cabin is a lovely place to be.

The big differences are in terms of purchase and running costs and – and this could be a clincher for many people – sound. Or should we say noise.

The ‘cheapest’ of the 5.0 litre F-TYPEs comes in at a shade over £75k. Meanwhile, the 2.0 F-TYPE manages to duck well under the £60k barrier at £54,510 so if you like the look of the F-TYPE (who wouldn’t?) then you can buy one for reasonably sensible money. You won’t wince at the petrol pump either because, go carefully and you’ll reach into the top 30s mpg.

The difference in terms of noise is when you first fire-up the car and also when you floor the throttle. The 5.0 makes windows rattle on the other side of town. It really is a glorious sound.

To be fair to it, the 2.0 litre engine also produces a pleasant rumble, but it’s never going to compete with a V8.

However, as with the majority of cars, the Jaguar F-TYPE will spend most of its life trundling along the tarmac at a steady cruise. In other words, once you settle the car into a long-legged stride, all you can hear is wind and tyre noise. Both models make for extremely relaxed grand touring in class GT mould. At a steady 70mph on the motorway, you can’t tell which F-TYPE you’re in.

And here’s the odd thing. The 2.0 litre F-TYPE is actually more fun to drive. Whereas it’s very easy in the 5.0 litre models to slip it into auto and just sit back, the 2.0 litre enjoys being driven hard. There’s also very little danger of the rear end stepping out of line on a damp road when you apply the power.

Sure the 5.0 litre engines will always be the defining choice of power for Jaguar F-TYPE aficionados, but don’t get all sniffy about the 2.0 version. It can hold its own and is hugely rewarding to drive.

In many respects, as an all-round package, for the money, it’s arguably the best F-TYPE. Yes, if we had £97,315 lying around, we’d go for the V8 567bhp AWD F-TYPE, but a saving of around £40k is a seriously tempting proposition for anyone out there who is looking for a well-rounded sports car that still turns heads.

Find out more about the new F-TYPE.

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