The Jaguar F-Type sports car has just been overhauled with new styling and technology to better take on the latest Porsche 911. The targets were to give it a “more assertive” look, improve key elements like the infotainment system, and to lift material quality to the level of more recently launched models, such as the I-Pace.
One major surprise is the disappearance of the F-Type V6. From 2020, Jaguar's sportscar will come with a choice of either two 5.0-litre supercharged V8 power levels (retaining the 575hp-at-6,500rpm version, and a new unit with 450hp at 6,000rpm) or the continuing entry-level 2.0-litre turbocharged Ingenium four-cylinder engine producing 300hp at 5,500rpm.
In a reorganisation at the top of the F-Type’s three-tier range, the 575hp performance versions of the coupé and convertible are available with only all-wheel drive and the plushest, sportiest R specification – which also gets a complete rethink of spring and damper settings. This flagship can cover 0-100kph in just 3.5sec and has a 300kph top speed.
The 450hp and 300hp versions are available in either middle-level R-Dynamic trim (or entry-level guise). The lower-powered V8 can turn a 4.4sec 0-100kph time and hit 285kph, while the 2.0-litre’s 0-100kph time is a respectable 5.4sec and its top speed is 250kph.
The 450hp V8 buyer gets to choose between rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive systems, while the 2.0-litre customer is offered rear-wheel drive only.
One major advantage of the model with the smallest engine is its 120kg-lower kerb weight (it weighs 1,520kg against 1,640kg for the rear-wheel drive V8) which lightens the nose and improves steering response. The heaviest F-Type is the full-house R convertible equipped with four-wheel drive, weighing 1,760kg.
For the first year, the F-Type will be offered in First Edition guise with either 450hp or 300hp engines. The units will be based on R-Dynamic equipment levels, but with a collection of special colours, unique trim details and 'First Edition' branding.
All F-Types have active exhausts and the V8s have a special ‘quiet mode’ to help prevent neighbourhood disturbances when owners leave home early or arrive late.
The most important exterior changes are ahead of the windscreen, aimed at giving the body a greater apparent length (no, it’s not longer) and an even wider, more planted stance (neither is it wider). It has a slightly reworked clamshell bonnet. Each of the three models now gets a unique lower bumper shape – clean and sculptural for the entry-level model, bolder with aero blades for the R-Dynamic and with black bezels for the large and sporty-looking lower air scoops on the R models.
That new treatment allows the introduction of slimmer LED headlights framed by ribbon-like daytime-running lights for which Jaguar claims a “calligraphy” effect. The running lights are slim along their horizontal element but widen as they sweep upward and outward.
The haunchy rear shape remains intact, partly because of the F-Type’s mission to be a timeless design and partly because Jaguar’s design team (along with buyers) continue to like the original shape. The tail-lights have adopted a slimmer, ‘chicane’ design introduced on the I-Pace and there are adjustments to the number-plate recess and the diffuser shapes.
The three F-Type models continue with powertrain-based exhaust tailpipes. The 300hp version retains a handsome central quadrilateral-shaped outlet and the V8s have quad systems that differ slightly in detail.
Inside, the F-Type catches up with other Jaguar models, notably with materials of obviously higher quality, and adds some unique details. There’s now a 12.3-inch driver display, with unique F-Type graphics, that can be configured as a large central tachometer. It also gets JLR’s familiar 10.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay compatibility. The 2020 model does, however, retain the three rotary heating and ventilation controllers Jaguar regards as essential to a good driving machine.
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