JaguarForums Exclusive: 2018 Jaguar F-Type Coupe Review
Four-cylinder Jaguar sports car proves the entry level isn’t a bad place to be.
Imagine sitting down to dinner at a restaurant and seeing no salt or pepper shakers on the table. You order your meal and it arrives, but your waiter doesn’t bother to ask if you would like freshly grated parmesan on it. It becomes clear that you will eat your dinner as it was prepared by the chef, without any additional seasoning. You consume it in its purest form. If it’s delicious, it’s delicious because it left the kitchen that way, not because of anything added to it.
It’s similar with a sports car. If it’s set up the right way from the factory, it’ll be fun to drive before the automaker decides to add power or other upgrades to it. You shouldn’t have to put it in its track mode or drive it like you’re trying to flip it. Good is good no matter what speed you’re going.
For several years, the Jaguar F-Type has used six- and eight-cylinder engines in various states of tune. I was fortunate to get the 550-horsepower F-Type R as my first Jaguar press car. A year later, Jaguar handed me the keys to the 575-horsepower SVR. Each instance was a dream come true for me because I got the opportunity to drive beautiful, high-performance machines from a legendary sports car manufacturer. To Jaguar, each loan to me was just another day at the office. More often than not, vehicle manufacturers keep their press fleets stocked with the high-end versions of their models. When they hold a press launch of a new vehicle, they often have several loaded test vehicles waiting to be driven, photographed, and fawned over. It makes sense; they want to wow journalists and audiences by showing them their best.
Jaguar added a new power plant to the F-Type lineup for the 2018 model year. It developed the turbocharged Ingenium 2.0-liter four-cylinder in-house and incorporated ceramic turbocharger ball bearings for reduced friction, a twin-scroll turbo for quicker spooling, and variable intake valve lift for optimum power through the rev range. Output is 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.
When I learned that I had an opportunity to get the four-cylinder 2018 F-Type Coupe and drive it around Austin, Texas for a week, I immediately took it. I was excited to experience the most paired-down, stripped-back form of the F-Type. No supercharged V8. No all-wheel drive. No massive rear wing. No salt. No pepper.