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Jaguar F-Type review: new 2.0-litre turbo driven

Is this a new Jaguar F-Type?

Sort of. The F-Type has had a mid-life update, and with it comes a new engine. Joining the raft of V6s and V8s you can currently buy is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Yep, downsizing has grasped another sports car.

While the F’s other engines all use a supercharger, this 2.0-litre ‘Ingenium’ unit is turbocharged. Which means it punches above its diminutive size – with 296bhp and 295lb ft, yielding a 5.4sec 0-62 time and 155mph top speed – while allowing the F-Type to quote dangerously close to 40mpg.

It also allows Jag’s sports car to limbo under the £50,000 barrier for the first time, though by such a slender margin we expect not a single order will have a price that begins with a four.

So it’s a Porsche Cayman rival?

Yep. A car that started out as a Porsche 911 rival now has a range of such breadth that it rivals Porsche’s whole sports car range. Especially as you can have it with a hard or soft top. Jag offers you anywhere between 296bhp and 567bhp, with a mixture of rear- and all-wheel drive and manual and automatic gearboxes in between.

Like the 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster, then, it’s succumbed to downsizing. But not at the expense of those bigger engines, and this four-cylinder sounds more pleasant than Porsche’s.

How many versions do I have to choose from?

Just two – Coupe or Convertible, the latter around £5,000 pricier. You can only have rear-wheel drive, and there’s no manual option.

Fitting only Jag’s eight-speed paddleshift auto seems like a missed opportunity to us. Dropping to a four-cylinder engine saves 52kg, so why not save even more? The purist nature of gram-shaving is surely most appreciated by someone who prefers three pedals and a stick, too…

Jag says manuals make up a very tiny proportion of F-Type sales elsewhere in the range (boo) and it sees the automatic as a premium choice – something to help negate buyers’ worries about their £50k coupe using the same engine as an XE rep car, perhaps.

So how is this four-cylinder F-Type?

Jaguar’s chassis chiefs say they’ve tuned it to handle like any other F-Type, so while 52kg has been lost from the front end, the suspension has been tuned to match more powerful Fs. Only the most studious F-Type exhaust configuration nerds will be able to spot you’ve got the smaller engine, too.

Yet it feels a tangibly different product. I’ve never driven an F-Type harder than this one. Perhaps it’s because there’s less power to overwhelm the rear tyres, but this feels a noticeably more trustworthy car than V6 and V8 Fs, one whose rear axle you can really lean on, having turned into the corner that bit sharper because of the lighter nose.

Here’s an F-Type you can drive with lots of confidence, with no fear of the rear axle giving you a nasty surprise. Early V8s certainly couldn’t claim that.

How does it sound?

At low revs, when you’re manoeuvring around, it’s as uncultured as a burbling hot hatch. There’s no mistaking its cylinder count. As the speed builds, the noise improves, and while it never comes close to outdoing its bigger brothers, the 2.0 F-Type sounds okay.

But not much more than okay. That I came away more impressed by its cruising refinement than its high-rev crescendo (there isn’t one, basically) probably tells you all you need to know.

Oh, and while the engine has downsized, the F-Type itself hasn’t. This is still an uncommonly wide car to get down a typical British country lane and you’ll be thudding over the cats’ eyes on narrower roads.

So what’s the verdict?

Objectively this is a better F-Type. It may sound a bit like a hot hatch, but the flipside is you can drive it like one. Which is a proper novelty.

But we’ve rather got used to F-Types being boisterous cars to drive, both in their keenness to slide out of a corner and the raucous noise they make under acceleration. And taming the F to make it a smarter handling, less antisocial car to passers-by has arguably neutered it a bit. There’s less theatre here. I knuckled down and committed to driving it as hard as I could rather than sitting back a bit and appeasing my immature side when the opportunity arose.

It’s credit to Jaguar that it can make one model feel like two different cars. And this one brings the F-Type closer to the Boxster and Cayman in price and cornering attitude than ever. If the sums add up – dropping cylinders makes this a far more plausible company car than before, and the fuel economy is better on paper – you’ll have an enjoyable thing. But it made me pine for the V6 and V8. The F-Type has always majored on excitement, and they’re simply more exciting.

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2017 Honda Civic Si review:

Honda’s Civic Si returns with turbo power

Forced induction brings a whole new feel to this sport compact, but is it better?

by Chris Paukert

Since 1986, the Civic Si has waved Honda’s flag brightly among affordable sport compact cars. Before Honda ever ventured upmarket with the Acura NSX or S2000 roadster, the Civic Si was its chief overture to gearheads, attracting disciples on the strength of its manic, high-revving engines, taut handling and telepathic manual gearboxes. A generation of enthusiasts — including me — were born and raised on a steady diet of Si models.

Honda rested on its small-car laurels for a while, though. And over the last decade, the entire Civic range grew frayed around its edges as new rivals stepped up with more power, improved technology and sharper handling. Thankfully, Honda finally roared back when it introduced a new 10th-generation Civic line for the 2016 model year. 

As a whole-cloth redo, today’s Civic is once again well executed from grille to taillights, with smart packaging, able handling, enviable efficiency and modern (if fussy) styling. And this year, the sportier Civic Si is back to battle models like the Hyundai Elantra GT Sport, Ford Focus ST, Mini Cooper S and Volkswagen’s evergreen GTI.

2017 Honda Civic SiEnlarge Image

Honda’s Civic Si is back on the block after a one-year hiatus.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

In a marked departure from past iterations, this 2017 Si is the first to employ a turbocharger. Powered by a higher-output version of the 1.5-liter four-cylinder found in many ordinary Civics, the 2017 Si musters the same 205 horsepower as its predecessor, but it does so in a completely different way.

Turbocharging helps deliver more power lower on the tachometer, along with a bigger slug of torque — 192 pound-feet — so you don’t have to rev the bejeezus out of it to achieve strong acceleration. That’s excellent news for around-town drivability, but it comes with a price: Whereas previous Civic Si models sounded and felt special because they revved sky-high like a motorcycle, this car’s engine checks out at humdrum 6,500 rpm. It’s a perfectly well-behaved engine, it just isn’t as charismatic as its predecessors.

On the plus side, EPA fuel economy estimates are solid, at 28 miles per gallon city and 38 mpg highway — and they’re achievable results in the real world.


Overall, though, the Si’s powertrain fails to feel significantly peppier than a regular 1.5-liter Civic Sport — 0-60 mph happens in around 6.5 seconds, at which point it’s staring at most of its competitors’ taillights. And whereas Honda was once legendary for its manual gearboxes, the short-throw shifter in the Si is merely good, nothing more. The clutch’s engagement also isn’t as linear as one might hope.

Available as both a front-wheel-drive two-door coupe and a four-door sedan, the Si is recognizable thanks to its more aggressive front fascia shared with the Civic Sport hatch, 18-inch wheels and prominent center-exit exhaust. Sedans are treated to a spoiler, while coupes like my Rallye Red test car brandish a look-at-me rear wing.

Still, the Si appears only slightly more pugnacious than garden-variety models — today’s 10th-generation Civic already looks so brash that perhaps Honda didn’t feel the need to push the envelope with this model’s aesthetics. In fact, it’s arguably less assertive visually than the five-door Civic Sport hatchback (a bodystyle unavailable in Si-strength) with which it shares its front fascia.

For those watching their weight, the Si has gone on a diet versus its forbearer, with coupes tipping the scales at 2,889 pounds and sedans registering 2,906 pounds (before options). That’s commendably light for a new car in this day and age, and that lack of mass helps pay handling and efficiency dividends.

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Chris Harris Drives Reviews the New Porsche 911 GT3 on Top Gear

A new era of flat-six power is here. Porsche is asking you to forget about the old 3.8, mainly because of its valvetrain issues. The factory has made an unprecedented move and extended the warranty for all 991.1 GT3 cars to 120,000 miles, one of the longest in the industry. Going back to the drawing board, the engine was stroked to 4.0 liters, and it has forged internals along with new cam followers. The oil system is also all new, which makes the 4.0 essentially a new design.

Porsche Party

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First Drive: 2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

VICTORIA, Canada — A revealed silhouette formed a disarmingly sleek shape at the 2012 Paris auto show, transforming the bubble-tailed Panamera into an elegant, easier-on-the-eyes wagon. The peanut gallery begged, “Build it!” Five years later, Porsche has obliged. From design experiment to a serially produced car, the 2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is a more utilitarian – and some would say better looking – take on the Panamera form.

If not for a quick walkaround before climbing into the driver’s seat of the Panamera Sport Turismo, you wouldn’t know you’re piloting a wagonized version of the sports sedan that was widely adored for its driving dynamics and only recently appreciated for its facelifted looks. While piloting a 2018 Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo down a gravelly b-road on the outskirts of town in British Columbia, character lines and cargo capacity are the last things on my reptile mind as I focus instead on the abject absurdity of a 550 horsepower grocery getting wagon that can punch to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and dance the fandango like a banshee. Strange days we face indeed, when enthusiast-appeasing niches are tackled with such earnest gusto.

Real World Ready

Unlike countless concept car cul de sacs, the Sport Turismo’s compromises are nearly nil, with less than 100 pounds of weight gain countered by a three-person rear seat that makes it the first five-passenger Panamera in history (though the small middle seat really makes it more of a four-plus-one). Volumetric gains are incremental, achieving between 4 and 5.5 cu-ft of space depending on seat fold-down configurations. Sure, the power operated fifth door offers a lower load-in and a slightly friendlier form factor for payload, but let’s stay sober: the Sport Turismo is more an aesthetic power play couched under the veil of practicality (“Honey, it’ll fit the kids!”) than a low-slung answer to the eternal crossover question.

Four Sport Turismo variants are available: Panamera 4 ($97,250), 4 E-Hybrid ($105,050), 4S ($110,250), and Turbo ($155,050). Corresponding powerplants are a 330 hp single-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, an electrified 462 hp twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6, a 440 hp twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6, and a 550 hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. All are mated to an eight-speed PDK transmission.

Predictably, Porsche didn’t just sloppily tack on the hunchback and let physics fall to the wayside. Key to managing the hatch’s aerodynamic stability is a Sport Turismo-specific, three-position active rear spoiler that reduces drag below 105 mph and creates up to 110 pounds of downforce at higher speeds. The spoiler also works in conjunction with the optional panoramic roof in order to reduce wind noise. Also employed are electromechanical anti-roll bars which activate more quickly than hydraulic setups, enabling stiffer suspension in the curves.

Road (Trip) Warrior

The 4 E-Hybrid makes full use of the spoiler’s noise reducing effect with its electric-only “E” mode, which seamlessly propels the Panamera at speeds up to 87 mph. Expect an average EV-only range of 31 miles. Press the right pedal hard enough and the twin-turbo V-6 kicks in, but not obtrusively enough to lose the silky smooth storyline. Though the hybrid doesn’t hit you over the head with its peakiness or surprise surges, its broad powerband makes for swift acceleration. Countering that tendency for facile forward motion is a brake pedal that feels counterintuitively light at lower speeds, until the regenerative braking switches to a traditional caliper-squeezing endeavor. Haters may hate the idea of a partially electrified Porsche, but the Hybrid’s 4.4 second 0 to 60 mph time and 170 mph top speed should quell those critics. While the 4 E-Hybrid does remarkably well at masking its 4,828 lb curb weight on mountain passes (my tester was aided by $1,620 rear axle steering and $8,970 carbon ceramic brakes), the mass becomes evident during challenging corners when road irregularities involve heave motion in addition to cornering. Pressing the shock-stiffening button makes the Panamera feel more planted, but compliance suffers and it makes it more difficult to tackle the bumpy bits without upsetting the chassis. Admittedly, it’s a bit nitpicky to criticize the hybrid’s handling at speeds that would challenge some sports cars. For some perspective, consider the crucial data point that you’re in a full-size five-passenger car, not a focused two-seater.

Switch to the Turbo Sport Turismo, and the sensations of grunt increase considerably. Without an electric motor assisting with thrust there’s a suspense-building crescendo that feels fiercer and can sprint to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. If you can do without the wagon part of the equation, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid produces an even more stunning 680 horsepower. Regardless of range-topping stablemates, our tester, kitted out at $198,360, offered arrest-me-now performance with a suspension that felt better equipped to handle the inevitable imperfections of real world roads. Its 4,486 lb curb weight is likely the greatest contributor to the improved handling. Switch the steering wheel mounted dial to Sport or Sport +, and the Turbo feels spooled and ready to tackle the next high speed pass.

Weapon of Choice

For all the aesthetic appeal inherent to the Orthodox School of Wagons, Porsche’s Sport Turismo models do satisfy some practical considerations the Panamera can’t answer. But the true appeal lies in their ability to tie an elongated silhouette to performance that defies the usual trappings of utility. Though the Turbo delivers more cohesively engaging high-speed handling, the 4-E Hybrid’s quiet coasting and discreet power reserves offer a novel combination of city-friendly EV power and balls-to-the-wall grunt when you want it. The standard Panamera’s updated styling already lends the four-door a certain appeal, but the Sport Turismo adds an element of inscrutable whimsy. Choose your weapon wisely, though it’s hard to go wrong if you have the means to indulge in either variant of these six-figure sleds.

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2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo first drive review: practically perfect in (almost) every way

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo

Neither jaw-droppingly gorgeous nor particularly utilitarian, the 2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is nonetheless highly endearing.

It’s the latest in a line of cars from Porsche that seem to do little wrong either on paper or in reality. It’s practically perfect, but not all that practical.

MORE: Porsche’s concept-inspired Panamera Sport Turismo

Porsche stops short of calling the Panamera Sport Turismo a shooting brake, but that might be because the traditionalists in Stuttgart realize that it’s a 5-door and not a 3-door. And it’s not really a station wagon since it’ll only hold about a backpack’s worth of additional cargo compared to the regular Panamera.

2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

Enlarge Photo

Up until its B-pillars and under its hood, the Sport Turismo mirrors the standard-issue Panamera, but things get more interesting the further back you go. Instead of dropping off aggressively aft of the rear seat in an attempt to channel the 911, the Sport Turismo’s roof line curves gently downward. It meets an integrated spoiler that contains a second spoiler—yes, Porsche put a spoiler in its spoiler—that pops up at higher speeds for more downforce.

It’s not a wagon, as a look from the rear clearly indicates. The Sport Turismo’s rear window juts inward rather than staying somewhat vertical. That’s to the detriment of utility but it does endow this 5-door with a truly unique shape.

In Europe, it’s the answer to the recently discontinued Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake. Here, it’s kind of on its own. But that’s something Porsche does well.

Porsche doesn’t predict that the Panamera Sport Turismo will eclipse the standard model in terms of sales. To that end, it’s being cautious, at least initially. Only all-wheel-drive Panamera 4, 4S, 4 E-Hybrid, and Turbo variants will be on offer. There’s no rear-drive model and the new, range-topping Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid with its 680-horsepower hybrid powertrain won’t get the Sport Turismo body.

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2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid First Drive Review

No Obligation, Fast Simple Free New Car Quote

On a recent trip to the Vancouver Island Motorsports Circuit in Canada we arrived to towering trees, blue skies, and over a dozen protesters gathered outside the entrance. “Shame on Porsche!” one sign read. Whoa, what’s going on here? Are they shaming the new 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid we were eagerly hoping to drive that day?

It turns out the disgruntled group were local residents who’ve been complaining about excessive noise coming from the track ever since it opened last year. Porsche doesn’t own the facility, but it was caught in the protesters’ crosshairs for hosting the Panamera drive event there. Hopefully all parties involved can eventually coexist because it’s a fun and challenging circuit that sits at the base of a hill (with lots of elevation changes) in the middle of a scenic forest.

Thankfully the drama at the gate didn’t hamper our time with the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. And as its name suggests, there’s a lot going on with this new top dog Panamera variant. In the previous-generation Panamera, the jump from Turbo to Turbo S was achieved by beefier turbochargers and other tweaks to the 4.8-liter twin-turbo V-8. Horsepower increased from 520 to 570.

This time around, Porsche is throwing its hybrid expertise into the mix. The meat of the advanced powertrain is the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 from the Panamera Turbo, churning out 542 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque. Sandwiched between the engine and eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic is an electric motor that adds 134 and 295 lb-ft to the equation. Porsche rates the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid’s total system output at 671 hp and 626 lb-ft.

Read our 2018 Panamera Sport Turismo review HERE.

There’s lots of power and also lots of weight. The large sedan also has to contend with all-wheel-drive hardware, and a 14.1-KWh battery pack in the plug-in hybrid sedan tips the scales at an estimated 5,093 pounds, about 600 more than the Panamera Turbo. That said, the Turbo S E-Hybrid has a slight power-to-weight ratio advantage at 7.5 hp per pound versus 8.2.

Our time on the track was brief, but very revealing. Acceleration is immense and instantaneous, much like previous high-performance plug-in hybrids we’ve driven including Porsche’s own 918 Spyder. The automaker claims a 0-60-mph time of 3.2 seconds, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it dips below 3 seconds once we test it. Top speed is rated just under the 200-mph mark at 192 mph. Porsche’s Sport Chrono system comes standard in this model, and it includes the trick, steering-wheel-mounted rotary drive mode switch, which allows you to easily switch from E-Power to Hybrid Auto, Sport, or Sport Plus.

Wisely, much of the available performance tech available on the Panamera is standard in the Turbo S E-Hybrid, including carbon-ceramic brake rotors (16.5-inch diameter front, 16.1-inch rear) and exclusive and massive 10-piston calipers up front (four-piston clampers at the back). It’s a hefty brake system that worked well on the track, scrubbing speed with confidence, while showing little to no signs of fade. Pedal feel was good and solid without the artificial feel common to most hybrids.

And in addition to its standard air suspension is the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport), basically a fancy name for the active electromechanical roll bars that help keep the sedan neutral and relatively flat through the curves. The 16.6-foot sedan feels much smaller while navigating tight corners—the rear-steering (optional in the regular wheelbase, but standard on the long-wheelbase Executive model) and brake-based torque vectoring system are obviously doing their job, but both are imperceptible. Despite its size and heft, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid was satisfying to pilot on the track, at limits most owners will likely never explore.

Perhaps more important is that the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid a supremely comfortable luxury cruiser. In Hybrid Auto mode, the powertrain expertly shifts between the engine and electric motor And environmentally-friendly, too, thanks to the aforementioned E-Power mode providing zero-emissions (and noise), all-electric driving for an estimated 31 miles of range. The standard 3.5kW on-board charger replenishes the battery in six hours when plugged into a Level 2 charger. An optional 7.2 kW on-board charger drops that time to 2.4 hours.

Pricing starts at $185,450 and can quickly crest $200,000 once you click off fancy luxury items and tech like the driver Assistance package ($5,370) and Burmester sound system ($5,940). That said, no other sedan carries the performance, luxury, and green cred in a handsome package quite like the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.

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Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid SUV

You wouldn’t have to travel back too many years to live in a world where a fast, hybrid SUV that was fun to drive was not a type of car you could buy.

Demand for SUVs and crossovers combined with the pressure for better fuel economy has, however, spawned cars such as the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid. It serves up the vaunted high driving position and practicality of an SUV, along with the performance you’d expect from a Porsche. The hybrid system means official economy is higher than a conventionally powered Cayenne and enables you to drive on pure electricity in slow traffic or for short distances.

The Cayenne is one of the very best large SUVs in terms of handling and straight-line speed. While the BMW X5 and Land Rover Sport are more refined, they can’t match how close the Cayenne comes to feeling like a sports car.

If driving thrills, a spacious interior, a big boot and a luxurious finish are your top priorities for an SUV, along with some ‘green’ credentials, it’s hard to look past the Cayenne S E-Hybrid. The only major downside for potential owners is how much it costs.

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2018 Jaguar F-Type 2-liter first drive: Fewer cylinders but missing nothing

When the new F-Type came out five years ago, it offered V6 and V8 engine options. Weirdly enough, we liked the six about as much as we liked the eight. The chassis is so refined and the body that covers it is one of the most stunning on the market now — even in the highly competitive “stunning coupe and convertible” categories. So when we got to spend a couple hours driving the new four-cylinder F-Type, it wasn’t too much of a surprise we like that one, too.

In case anyone’s keeping track, the arrival of the four-cylinder means there are now 24 derivatives of F-Type. From the mighty and all-conquering 200-mph 575-hp supercharged V8 of the SVR all the way down to this, the (relatively) diminutive four-banger. But can you really call the four diminutive?

Jaguar F Type four convertible

The 2018 Jaguar F Type four also comes as a convertible

Jaguar promises it “… delivers the driving experience promised by the award-winning (160 awards so far in just five years!) design.” The engine is 2.0 liters big and boosted with a turbocharger. But there’s an awful lot more technology packed into it than just that. The single turbo spins on ultra-efficient ceramic ball bearings. It is a twin-scroll design, which greatly reduces back pressure for more efficient turbocharging and more immediate boost – you get almost no turbo lag. The exhaust manifold itself is cast into the cylinder head for quicker warm-up and more efficient thermodynamic operation. It has direct injection right at the top middle of each cylinder.

The cylinder head itself is one of the things that gives this engine the Ingenium name. An electrohydraulic valvetrain, “…enables fully variable control of intake valve lift for optimum combustion efficiency, power and torque throughout the engine’s operating range,” according to Jaguar. Maybe someone’s written a book about the intake side of the valvetrain, but among its many talents is that it can not only infinitely vary the amount and duration of lift, it essentially replaces the throttle valve for engine load control. Suffice to say, you are getting the absolute most out of your two liters of displacement.

Thus configured the engine spins an eight-speed automatic and the rear wheels to launch the 2.0-liter, 3,360-pound F-Type to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds and to a top speed of 155 mph.

Quite nice.

The powertrain resides in the F-Type’s all-aluminum-all-the-time chassis that weighs 115 pounds less than the next-lightest V6, meaning the spring rates can be 4 percent less in front and 3 in the rear.

Jaguar F-Type four-cylinder engine

Here’s that four-banger you’ve read so much about

The Execution

Slide into the four-cylinder F-Type’s new die-cast magnesium-alloy Slimline seats (that are 17 pounds lighter) and you stare at Jaguar’s new InControl Touch Pro pinch-to-zoom infotainment system. A push of a button brings the demi-beast to life and right away you notice… sound. Engine sound. It sounds like an engine, anyway. And it’s being piped into… the stereo system. It’s fake and it sounds fake. Maybe you can bribe an engineer back in Coventry to remove this Stuart Smalley engine affirmation — but more than likely, you can’t. It does not sound inspiring. I’d have preferred just whatever sound the four-banger naturally makes to whatever this noise is.

And it’s misleading because the four-cylinder really does provide enough power. Had I never driven a V6 or V8 F-Type, I might have been perfectly happy with this car’s output. Of course, I have driven a number of V6 and V8 F-Types so I know that those are much more powerful and downright thrilling. But still, this one weighs a lot less than the larger-displacement models, so the power-to-weight ratio — 11.3 pounds per horsepower — while not supercar territory is quick enough. That 5.4-second 0-60 feels strong, at least.

In corners, the 2-liter F-Type feels like more of a GT than a sports car, which will be fine with almost all owners. The V8 F-Types feel like well-controlled muscle cars and this one feels about like that, albeit with less muscle. The electric power steering is a little faster than I prefer, but it’s overall pleasantly fast enough for an afternoon behind the wheel.

Jaguar F-Type wheel

18s are standard but you can also get 19- and 20-inch wheels.

The Verdict

There are a lot of good options in this broad category: the Audi S5, Cadillac ATS-V Coupe, Corvette, Porsche Boxster and Mercedes SLC, to name a few. But the F-Type might be the most beautiful of them all, and this is the least expensive F-Type you can buy, even if it does start at $60,895. F-Types go all the way up to $125,000, after all. With this, you get a lot less power but the same beautiful body.

Does anyone need to know you only have four cylinders? No, they don’t.

Mark Vaughn

Mark Vaughn

– West Coast Editor Mark Vaughn covers all car things west of the Mississippi from his Autoweek lair high above the LA metropolis.

See more by this author»

On Sale: Later in 2017

Base Price: $60,895

Drivetrain: 2.0-liter turbo I-4, 8-speed automatic, RWD

Output: 296 hp at 5500 rpm, 295 lb-ft from 1500 to 4500 rpm

Curb Weight: 3360 pounds (mfg.)

0-60 MPH: 5.4 seconds (mfg.)

Pros: Looks great, still plenty of power

Cons: Fake engine noise piped in over the stereo

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2009-10 Porsche Cayenne diesel used car review

News out of Germany recently suggests that Porsche might have had enough of diesel engines.

Volkswagen’s infamous dieselgate scandal, into which Porsche was drawn, has had a negative effect on Volkswagen Group diesel engines, and that could play a part in whether the brand continues to offer a diesel option for its SUVs and the Panamera limo.

Future plans could allow for an extended hybrid line-up or perhaps even pure plug-in electric vehicles (as per the Mission E model slated for 2019) as Porsche battles to keep to its fleet-average emissions targets.

The reality is, of course, that the discussion over the future of a diesel car with a Porsche badge is all a bit ironic.

That’s because as recently as a few years ago, Porsche was banging the lectern at every press-conference opportunity telling the world that diesel engines were simply not part of the Porsche brand. Not now, nor would they ever be.

The truth of the matter is, however, that the diesel-engine option for the Cayenne SUV arguably delivered the most sensible, efficient version of that vehicle. And while it’s difficult to see anybody lamenting the loss of the diesel Panamera, the Cayenne diesel will, in fact, be a loss if the speculation is correct and it disappears.

Which means a second-hand Cayenne diesel might be the only option in the future, and even now, a used Cayenne oil-burner makes a good case for itself when you look at it.

The diesel engine option was part of the Cayenne picture right from the start of the second-generation cars. It used a 3.0-litre V6 diesel with a turbocharger with an output of 176kW and 550Nm of torque.

But rather than the eight-speed automatic of later cars, this model still had the six-speed gearbox, but there was such a spread of torque, you really won’t miss the extra ratios.

Speaking of which, if you want a Cayenne to actually use off road, then the first series of cars has something else that will be of great interest. You see, the first Cayenne featured a transfer-case with a set of low-range gear ratios which made the thing perfect form climbing over rocks and lugging through bog-holes. The later Cayenne dropped this feature when it was realised that very few owners even knew what to do with low-ratio.

But if – and it could require some patience – you can find a Series 1 Cayenne with the diesel engine, you’ll have yourself a formidable off-roader.

These cars were only sold here between April 2009 and June 2010, and a quick online check reveals that perhaps only a handful are for sale at any one time. But they are out there and, thanks to that diesel engine, they’re often overlooked by the sort of people otherwise interested in a Porsche-badged SUV. They’re even quite good value, too, given what they’re capable of.

Porsche offered air suspension on these early Cayenne diesels and while that sounds like an option worth having, the reality might be a bit different now.

Certainly, the conventional steel spring option rode just as well and will be a more set-and-forget arrangement if you do venture into the rough stuff. It’s just one less thing to go wrong.

The most common problem we’ve come across in these vehicles is an oil leak that occurs where the sump meets the rest of the crankcase. The problem is one of mis-matched metals and the aluminium sump heats up and expands at a different rate to the cast-iron crankcase. Once that different expansion thing has occurred a few thousand times, an oil leak appears and it’s a reasonably big job to fix it. It seems to be more of a problem on examples that are driven short distances rather than those used for predominately long-haul work.

The problems of failing plastic coolant piping in the Cayenne’s engine bay were really fixed by the time the diesel arrived, but even so, it would be worth a check to make sure there are no coolant leaks.

Cayennes with high kilometres showing are also candidates for a failed centre-shaft bearing in the rear drive-shaft. The first symptoms include a hammering noise when accelerating but that can also be accompanied by a vibration through the whole car when it’s under load. Unfortunately, the fix is to replace the entire drive-shaft, not just the centre-bearing.

The other big test a Cayenne diesel needs to pass before you buy it is a check of the service handbook. Like any high-end European, a service history is absolutely critical. Without one, you could be letting yourself in for all sorts of mechanical nasties that will empty your bank account pronto.

It’s also worth noting that this particular model Cayenne diesel was tainted by the dieselgate episode, but provided the factory fix has been put in place, that won’t lead to any ongoing problems. And Porsche maintains that a dieselgate car, when subjected to the fix, will not suffer at all in terms of its performance of fuel economy.

A Porsche dealer will be able to identify an affected vehicle and whether it’s been `fixed’ or not.

Nuts and bolts

Engine: 3.0 V6 turbo-diesel

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Fuel economy (combined): 9.3 litres per 100km

Safety rating (courtesy of Not listed

Our rating: 3.5 stars


  • Brilliant off-road, despite the badge’s connotations.
  • Decent fuel economy thanks to diesel engine.
  • Modern turbo-diesel equals plenty of relaxed performance.
  • As practical as any other SUV of the same size.


  • Can be hard on tyres and brake pads.
  • Caught up in the dieselgate net.
  • Servicing won’t be cheap.
  • Beware any example without a full service history.


  • BMW X5 – No low-range gears but a tidy handler and an SUV that steered quite well. Early versions had no seven-seat option but were the most tactile and dynamic. Diesel version works well. 3.5 stars
  • Mercedes-Benz ML-Class – ML of this era offered two turbo-diesel options, both capable of doing the job. More urban focussed than some SUVs, so a bit ahead of its time in that regard. 3 stars
  • Audi Q7 – Big and heavy, the Q7 was indelicate to say the least. But roomy inside with a seven-seat option and the 4.2-litre turbo-diesel V8 is still of interest to many buyers. 3 stars

What to pay (courtesy of Glass’s Guide):

Model                                   Year       New                     Now

Cayenne diesel                      2009       $101,900              $29,700

Cayenne diesel                      2010       $103,700              $34,800

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2017 Mazda MX-5 RF review:

Take everything that’s good about the playful and fun fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata, add a dash of poise, a healthy dose refinement and you’ve got the new 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF. The roadster’s second act replaces the manual, soft convertible roof with a motorized, partially retractable hard top, gaining a new gorgeous, curvaceous new silhouette in the process.

Retractable fastback

The new “retractable fastback” is where the MX-5 RF gets its name. The new top is a lightweight bit of equipment as motorized hard convertible tops go — thanks to its mix of aluminum and composite bits — but still adds about 113 pounds to the MX-5′s bantamweight. Interestingly, the RF’s roof also adds about 5mm to the MX-5′s overall height but loses about 15mm of headroom beneath the hardtop. The lower ceiling wasn’t an issue for my 5′ 9″ frame, but taller drivers or those wanting to wear a helmet at the racetrack should pay close attention.

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

For the trouble, the RF gains a bit of refinement. Its cabin is noticeably quieter at highway speeds and in the rain thanks the RF’s sound-absorbing headliner soaking up much of the wind noise. Additional sound dampening on the transmission tunnel helps reduce road and drivetrain noise as well. The RF boasts a bit more security when parked thanks to its hard roof. Perhaps most importantly, the RF’s slick fastback profile just looks fantastic, sweeping from the A-pillar almost all the way to the edge of the rear decklid in one smooth curve. Top up, I think this is one of the best-looking cars that Mazda’s ever built.

Flip a toggle in the cabin and the fastback raises, allowing the roof panels and the rear glass to fold and tuck into a well behind the passenger compartment. Though the appearance is very different, the mechanisms working behind the scenes are similar to the previous-generation MX-5 PRHT, only the components are a bit smaller and move more quietly. This generation’s hardtop can also operate at speeds up to 6 mph.

After a little over 13 seconds, the RF’s roof completes its motorized gymnastics, ending up in an quasi-convertible Targa configuration with the rear portion of the roof still in place. Like the roadster, the RF’s roof doesn’t interfere with trunk or storage space when stowed, but the overall cargo volume is about 3 liters short of the ragtop’s boot.

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF: 5 things to know

It’s fun to look at and even more fun to drive, but before you hit the road here are some things you should know about Mazda’s new retractable fastback.

by Antuan Goodwin

Though the RF is better-looking with the roof closed, I’m the sort of roadster fan that prefers my top to go all the way down when stowed, so I’m not the biggest fan of this open-air configuration. I can also drop the manual soft top in about 3 seconds, which is so much faster than the RF’s still admirable 13 second motorized operation. The RF’s blind spots are significantly larger than the roadster, top up or top down. And while the hardtop is quieter than the fabric roof on the highway when closed, it’s louder in the same conditions when open due to the way the wind sometimes buffets against the raised roof hoop.

Playful performance persists

Aside from the roof, the MX-5 Miata RF changes very little about the MX-5 Miata’s formula. Under the hood is the same 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G engine sending the same 155 horsepower and 148 pound feet of torque to the rear wheels. Even fuel economy is identical at a 29 mpg combined estimate.

Drivers get a choice between either sporty Club or feature-laden Grand Touring trim levels with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic. Chose the manual Club and the RF upgrades to a rear limited-slip differential, which boosts cornering grip during enthusiastic driving. The Miata’s entry-level Sport trim level can not be had with the RF’s hard top.

Despite the extra mass, acceleration feels as peppy here as it did in the lighter ragtop. The low curb weight and meaty midrange torque curve conspire to make the new RF feel as responsive as before. The engine is eager to please and swings the tachometer needle like a happy puppy. The  MX-5 RF’s isn’t a driving experience that’s built around overwhelming power. Rather, it rewards the driver who embraces the nimble handling, makes smart gear choices and conserves their speed and inertia through the twisty bits. The Miata wants you to carry speed through the turn, not just pile it on after the apex.

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF

Speaking of handling, the RF’s suspension has been slightly retuned, both to compensate for the extra weight of the hard top and to add a bit of refinement to the vehicle’s handling. There are new rear suspension bushings and the rear bump stops that help smooth out the transition to oversteer, which should make the RF more predictable, but still fun, near its handling limits. Meanwhile, the steering has been tweaked and slightly re-weighted to feel sportier when tucking into a corner, but less fatiguing when commuting. But most of the changes can only really be felt near the limits of the MX-5′s handling. Odds are good that most drivers won’t even notice a difference without careful consideration of back-to-back drives in the RF and the Miata. This is good, because the MX-5 Miata’s playful and agile performance is already just so close to perfection.

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