Coffee Break

Car review: Jaguar F-Type

To say that the “original” Jaguar F-Type introduced in 2013 was a success would be possibly quite the understatement. If anything, the two-door, two-seater grand tourer was one of the landmark models of Ian Callum’s two-decade tenure as Jaguar design director, cementing the legendary British marque’s transition from the more retro aesthetic favoured by his late predecessor Geoff Lawson.

The next design era that Jaguar is already striding into, under Callum’s replacement Julian Thomson, has been given a strong start in the shape of the facelifted 2020 variant of the car, which in any case, might well have been signed off a while before the former design boss’s departure.

The restyle certainly makes a strong impression – almost too much so in a few people’s eyes, judging by some of the responses on social networks and online comment sections. But it’s a new look that is also more than deserving of a second look in person; whether one opts for the coupe or the convertible, the 2020 F-Type is sharp and striking in a way that absolutely befits the new decade.

So, how much has changed, really?

The answer, actually, is… not necessarily all that much. Sure – the bumpers, grille, headlights and tail-lights are all new, and the bonnet has been reprofiled. There are also new alloy wheel designs, and a refreshed range of colours to choose from… but the nipping and tucking is much more subtle elsewhere. The overall silhouette actually remains much as it was for onlookers in 2013, the updated F-Type still a convincingly contemporary interpretation of the legendary E-Type.

Underneath that reshaped bonnet, there has been some change to the engine choices as well. The V6 previously offered has gone, but you can still pick from a 300hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder, a 550hp 5.0-litre V8 or the 575hp V8 ‘R’.

As we know it’s thoughts of the ‘R’ that might well have your heart pumping most, we would recommend Antony Ingram of Evo’s more comprehensive review. And as he observes himself, while the revised range-topper has no shortage of appeal, it’s not necessarily the wisest choice of F-Type from either a chassis or bank-balance perspective.

Another hit F-Type – but one with lots of competition

Of course, if you simply have to have the most raucous F-Type available because you don’t believe in compromising your sporty credentials, the ‘R’ will have to do. Or will it? After all, if you’ve going to adopt that no-holds-barred attitude, you might as well at least seriously consider the more precise and predictable Porsche 911, which still feels like the more natural choice in terms of driver experience.

Looking inside, there’s further reason for slight disappointment; the F-Type, for better or worse, remains an unashamed two-seater, whereas the 911 is at least polite enough to offer a couple of small seats in the rear, just in case you do have another passenger or two from time to time.

Oh, and the 2020 F-Type’s new 10-inch widescreen infotainment system – while an improvement on the ageing previous version – could still be deemed more ‘decent’ than ‘great’.

Nonetheless, for the F-Type’s more avid admirers – and there are plenty – these observations may come across as slightly nitpicky. For most people, the latest iteration of this all-aluminium, front-engined British-built sports car is likely to be as good-looking, satisfying-sounding and fun to drive as ever.

And just in case you’re considering treating yourself to one but are presently struggling to get the pennies together, it’s worth noting that CarFinanceGenie can source the best finance with zero deposit for this and many other highly desirable cars.