It’s powered by a small engine—slightly bigger than that in a Toyota Corolla—but the way the car handles, the way it responds and the way it sounds makes the new Jaguar F-Type 2.0-litre Petrol R a true sports car.
The experience starts with the chassis, steering and suspension system.
The chassis is made with aluminium, which is both stiff and light, enabling the car to swiftly change direction without losing its line or grip on the road.
The electrically-powered steering is perfectly weighted. It becomes firmer as the car goes faster, and even at high speeds you get to feel how the tyres are gripping the road ever harder.
The double wishbone suspension enhances handling further by maximising contact between the tyre and the road.
All this leads to unrivalled driving enjoyment.
Now these characteristics aren’t new to a sports car. Most Porsches and Lamborghinis give you similar, some even better, driving experience. The new is that the F-Type 2.0-litre Petrol R is priced less than half its above-mentioned competitors, and offers you a lot of what they do—in terms of driving experience, in terms of exclusivity, in terms of handling—and then a bit more (in terms of fuel-efficiency and lower running costs).
The engine it gets is called the Ingenium (1997cc). It develops maximum power of 221kW (296bhp) and torque of 400Nm (available from just 1500rpm onwards). While it’s powerful, what helps initial acceleration and agility of the F-Type is an overall vehicle weight reduction of 52kg—most of which is over the front axle. Also, this R variant gets a feature called the switchable active exhaust—you can manually open exhaust valves so that the silencer produces a race-car inspired sound.
The cabin feels every inch a true sports car—with the dashboard focused towards the driver and body-hugging sports seats providing the limited comfort sports car are expected to provide. A nice touch is the AC vents that remain hidden until you switch on the AC. It’s a true two-seater—there’s no place inside the cabin even for your handbag.
In some ways, the F-Type 2.0-litre Petrol R is two cars in one. It features adaptive dynamics—both dynamic mode and torque vectoring by braking. Without getting into too much technicality, what adaptive dynamics does is it adjusts the car’s set-up to the way you are driving. For instance, when you are cruising at a constant speed, it provides more ride comfort, and the moment you floor the accelerator, the focus shifts to better handing (of course, at the expense of comfort).
Sports cars aren’t meant to be fuel-efficient, and neither is the F-Type 2.0-litre Petrol R when compared to, say, a Corolla. But driven at a constant speed under 100kph, you can expect a mileage of about 12-13kpl, which is exceptional within the small world of sports cars.
It’s priced Rs 93.6 lakh (ex-showroom), which is half compared to the new Porsche 911 and almost one-third the F-Type 5.0-litre V8 SVR (Rs 2.65 crore) and all the Lamborghinis. Performance-wise, it might not truly match up to those expensive machines, but sense-wise, the F-Type 2.0 L Petrol R appears to make a lot of sense—it handles, looks and sounds almost similar, and with the money you save you can bring home a top-end luxury sedan, and enough fuel to power both the cars for years.