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Stylish revamp gives Jaguar F-Type a sharper new look for 2020


The Jag F-Type sports car gets an overhaul, with a new front-end and an improved cabin. We take a peek.

What is it?

The F-Type has formed a key part of Jaguar's line-up for some time now, providing sports car looks and thrills that evoke much of the marque's thrilling 71-year history of building sports cars.

Traditionally powered by large, dynamic engines, it was fitted with smaller, more efficient units a year or so ago, although range-topping models retained the big V8s.

The engines have been further tweaked, with new features being added. Whilst we haven't driven the new car yet, the changes all look to be right on the money. There remain coupe and convertible choices, and some special models as well including a First Edition of the newly-revamped car.

The F-Type has been around as a two-door, two-seater sports car since 2013, initially as a convertible, and then a coupe.

It has made quite in impact in those seven years, winning 178 awards to date, including World Car Design of the Year.

The range offers a good choice, from entry-level rear-wheel drive 300PS four-cylinder model up to the all-wheel drive 575PS V8 R.

What's new?

Whilst this is not a second-generation car (there's rumours of that for 2022) this is still a significant facelift.

The biggest changes are at the front of the car with an even more muscular, assertive design to help it battle against rivals like the Porsche 911.

The cabin too, has been given the treatment, with richer, more luxurious materials and detailing.

And as you' expect the technology has been brought bang up to date. The engine and transmission revisions are said to have significantly enhanced the driving dynamics.

What does it look like?

There's no denying the 'old' F-Type was a pretty looking thing. Despite being on sale for six years, it still looked fresh on the road.

Some 2018 styling enhancements like redesigned bumpers and new LED headlights, kept the fresh look, while some striking paint options - including a lovely Ultra Blue - continued to keep it an impressive car to look at.

But it's this department that has had the most investment for 2020. Jaguar Design Director Julian Thompson and the team set themselves the challenge to "design the most beautiful sports car, with purity, proportion and presence" but one that was "unmistakably Jaguar".

And they've carried it off - the new car has even more stage presence and (almost) menace than before without veering into brashness.

Super-slim pixel LED headlights with subtly updated signature 'Calligraphy' J daytime running lights, and sweeping direction indicators, blend into the 'liquid metal' surfacing of a new clamshell bonnet, exaggerating the car's visual width and accentuating its assertive stance.

The new front bumper and subtly enlarged grille deliver even more visual impact and presence. The grille's design has been changed, and there are wider air intakes.

The rear haunches have been revised and new slender rear lights added in an LED chicane signature, inspired by the Jaguar I-PACE all-electric Performance SUV, with subtle monogram pattern detailing and a fine 'pinstripe' beneath.

In fact, the changes subtly move the F-Type's styling towards the more modern Jags like the I-Pace SUV.

What's under the bonnet?

The original F-Type always had a certain muscle car feeling to it. That was most likely down to the traditional front-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout - though the all-wheel-drive versions changed this - as well as the stocky and powerful original pair of engines to choose between.

The introduction of the smaller 2.0-litre turbocharged Ingenium petrol engine wasn't exactly applauded by all Jag fans, but we profoundly disagreed. The engine was perfectly good for the lower-trim cars, with poise and sharpness, as well as added economy and lower emissions.

Punters who wanted a big bang for their buck could still choose the higher-end models with suitable V8 aggression.

The choice now remains between four and eight cylinders. All engines - 300PS turbocharged four-cylinder and 450PS and 575PS V8s - feature active exhaust systems, which are switchable either as an option or as standard.

Customers who choose the 450PS or 575PS supercharged V8s benefit from the new Quiet Start function, which ensures a more subtle, refined sound - the electrically-actuated bypass valves in the rear silencer remain closed until they automatically open up under load. If desired, Quiet Start can be over-ridden by selecting Dynamic Mode or by pressing the switchable exhaust button before starting the engine.

The distinctive crackle and pop on the overrun synonymous with F-Type remains, says the manufacturer. The soundtrack has been tuned to suit each engine.

Emissions levels have been further reduced by the use of efficient, close-coupled particulate filters.

The higher-trim performance models are of course the fastest. The new 450PS supercharged V8 offers maximum torque of 580Nm being generated from just 2,500rpm.

It is offered with a choice of all-wheel drive and - for purists - rear-wheel drive. Both versions can accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 177mph.

The range-topping all-wheel-drive F-Type R model is supercharged to 575PS and 700Nm (up from 550PS and 680Nm respectively). Its performance is excellent, with the sprint to 60mph taking just 3.5 seconds, while maximum speed is an electronically-limited 186mph.

What's it like inside?

The 2013 car had perhaps a tad too much hard plastic inside. This was eased by the 2018 revamp and enhanced again by the 2020 facelift.

The new F-Type also offers more driver-focused technology, including a reconfigurable, high-definition, 12.3-inch Interactive Driver Display, Touch Pro infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard and software-over-the-air functionality so future software updates can be made at the owner's convenience, without having to visit a showroom.

Two Meridian sound systems are offered to give better sound reproduction.

The interior combines traditional Jag craftsmanship with rich materials such as Windsor Leather and satin-finish Noble Chrome.

Details include monogram stitch patterns in the seats and door trims, Jaguar Leaper motifs in the headrests, and subtle 'Jaguar Est.1935' markings on the centre console finisher, glovebox release button surround, and seatbelt guides.

The 12.3-inch reconfigurable Interactive Driver Display offers a choice of different display modes; including full map mode.

As befits a sports car, the default mode is characterised by the large central rev counter.

What's the spec like?

The trim levels are Coupe (from £54,000), R-Dynamic Coupe (from £57,060), First Edition Coupe (from £63,530) and R Coupe (from £97,280).

There are also corresponding convertible models offered, with slightly higher prices - the entry-level convertible starts at £59,540 and the F-Type R coupe costs from £102,370.

For the first year only, Jaguar is offering the exclusive F-Type First Edition. Based on the R-Dynamic trim, the First Edition has refinements such as the Exterior Design Pack in contemporary Dorchester Grey and five-spoke, 20-inch wheels in Gloss Technical Grey with contrast Diamond-Turned finish, complementing the choice of Santorini Black, Eiger Grey or Fuji White paint.

The interior features 12-way Windsor Leather seats in Ebony with Light Oyster stitching, or Mars with Flame Red stitching.

Other highlights include the instrument cluster wrapped in Alcantara with Monogram embossing, aluminium gearshift paddles, an Engine Spin centre console finisher with First Edition branding, and an Ebony suede cloth headline.

Verdict

Diehard Jag fans won't have any problems with this facelift. The cars look sharper and sleeker, and the engine choice remains, offering an intelligent dilemma between efficient smaller engines (with smaller price tags) and the big V8 performance powerplants.

Taken into account with the cabin enhancements and the tech updates, there's almost nothing not to like.

Belfast Telegraph