Jaguar is installing a four-cylinder in its F-Type sports car, the British automaker announced April 12, a move that may at first appear a step too far—before you hear Jag’s made several updates to claw back what the car loses in outright power.

The F-Type’s new four-cylinder displaces 2.0 litres and is turbocharged, producing 300 horsepower, enough to launch the all-aluminum F-Type to 100 km/h from zero in a respectable 5.4 seconds.

A significant amount of weight has been shaved – predominantly from over the car’s front axle, thanks to its smaller engine – improving the vehicle’s agility and handling dynamics.

The weight reduction of 52 kilograms so dramatically impacted the car’s dynamics that engineers spent time re-tuning the chassis and suspension to enhance the vehicle’s steering response, body control, and ride comfort.

“Most of the weight reduction is over the front axle, making the car beautifully balanced and really agile to drive—as you’d expect, the car is really at home on beautiful twisty roads,” said Erol Mustafa, Jaguar sports cars’ chief product engineer.

“Couple that with a four-cylinder exhaust note and this particular F-Type has a character all of its own. I like to think of it as the feisty younger brother of the V6 and V8 models.”

The engine note has always been a high point of the F-Type’s driving experience, and the company promises its two-seat sports car’s aural experience has not been compromised by the addition of a four-cylinder—rather, it’s simply different.

“The introduction of the four-cylinder does not mean that drivers lose out on aural feedback or reward: these have always been an essential part of the F-Type’s appeal, and have not been compromised,” wrote Jaguar in an April 12 press release.

Cars optioned with Jaguar’s R-Dynamic package will be equipped with a switchable active exhaust, which can crank up the car’s exhaust note on demand.

The updated F-Type will receive Jaguar’s full complement of safety technologies, including autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, an adaptive speed limiter, and lane keep assist.

Jaguar Canada has yet to announce the price of its new four-cylinder F-Type, but expect it to ring in just shy of the base-model F-Type coupe’s $78,500 price tag when it goes on sale this spring.

(Jaguar)