WHITLEY, ENGLAND - Subtle. Evolutionary. Those are words that you’ll usually use to describe a car facelift, but that’s clearly not going to be the case with Jaguar’s new F-Type.

In fact, it looks so different upfront you could be mistaken for thinking it’s a completely new car, that is until you see the side and rear views, which have gone virtually unchanged. The new frontal design sees the previous vertically stacked headlights making way for slit-like horizontal units that give the sports car a more menacing appearance.

On the engine front, Jaguar has given the top model a slight boost, but we’re surprised to see that the company’s new straight-six petrol engine hasn’t replaced the V6 option.

Jaguar’s supercharged 5-litre V8 continues to power the F-Type R all-wheel-drive coupe and convertible models, but they’ve been upgraded to match the 423kW, 700Nm outputs of the previous SVR flagship, which is an increase of 18kW and 20Nm, and enough to get the models from 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds. The R versions also receive an upgraded chassis, featuring adaptive dampers. 

Currently there is no word on whether there will be a new SVR.

In some overseas markets where Jaguar is dropping the V6, there will be a more affordable SC V8 option, with 331kW and 580Nm on tap. However, instead of this, South Africans will be offered a carried over V6 turbo unit with 280kW and 460Nm, offered with either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, while the 2-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol model, rated at 221kW and 400Nm, soldiers on at the bottom of the range with rear-wheel-drive only.

All three engine options feature Jaguar’s active exhaust system, known for its distinctive “crackle and pop” on the overrun.

Entering the car, you’ll find the same theatrics as the previous model, with deployable door handles and air vents also featuring on the facelifted model, however there is a new Touch Pro infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, and the system will improve over time thanks to over-the-air software updates. Another modern touch is the new 31.2cm digital instrument cluster. 

Other noteworthy details inside include monogram stitch patterns in the seats and door trims, Jaguar Leaper motifs in the headrests, and 'Jaguar Est.1935’ markings on the centre console finisher, seatbelt guides and cubby hole release button.

The new F-Type is set to go on sale in South Africa in 2020, and it will also be available in a First Edition trim grade, which will be offered for the first year only. It features a Dorchester Grey exterior design pack as well as Gloss Technical Grey 20-inch alloy wheels with a diamond-turned finish.

IOL Motoring