Discarding the Jaguar F-Type’s usual three-litre V6 or five-litre V8 engines and slotting in a two-litre, four-cylinder Ingenium petrol motor instead, sounds like a recipe for a vindaloo without the chilli.
But the result is surprising – this is still a quick car. It packs 300PS, reaches 60mph from rest in just 5.4 seconds and has a top speed of 155mph. It also weighs 52 kilos less than other F-Types and most of that saving is over the front wheels, so it also feels slightly more nimble and changes direction beautifully.
Starting at £49,900 it is also about £15,000 cheaper than a 340PS three-litre F-Type S. And in case you think it will sound like a Ford Mondeo, the specially turned exhaust system provides all the pops, bangs and booms of a proper sports car soundtrack. It sounds epic.
Externally there is not much to distinguish it from its more powerful siblings, but on the road it feels even better balanced, and at its UK launch in North Wales it devoured the twisty, fast, cross-country route with relish.
As with all F-Types, it is available as a coupe or for an extra £5,000 as a convertible. Buffeting with the top down is well controlled and symphony from the exhaust is even more enjoyable.
Perhaps we should not be surprised at such sparkling performance from an engine of this size. Honda has squeezed more than 300PS from its similar-sized Civic Type R engine and the Subaru WRX STi has never been accused of being slow.
So rather than being the F-Type’s poor relation think of it as a very good-value alternative for only a modest sacrifice of performance.
Jaguar F-Type Four Cylinder
Top speed: 155mph
0-60mph: 5.4 secs
Combined mpg: 39.2 claimed
Price: from £49,900