In a bid to prove that keen drivers put too much emphasis on cylinder count rather than torque, horsepower and weight, Jaguar has decided to take its F-Type sports coupé and jettison the usual V8 or V6 in favour of a four-cylinder engine.
But don't panic, it's not just any old four-pot. It's one of Jaguar's new hyper-efficient 2-litre Ingenium turbocharged units and therefore is capable of serving up 300PS (296bhp). Throw in the fact that the smaller block and some other adjustments have shaved 52kg off the car's weight and that little engine is good for a 0-60mph time of 5.4 seconds (exactly the same as the V6 F-Type) and on to a top speed of 155mph.
Yet the car's fuel economy is a 16% improvement over the 340PS V6 model and emits 163g of CO2 per km.
"The 300PS Ingenium petrol engine is engineered to deliver a compelling blend of performance, refinement and efficiency," said Ron Lee, Engineering Director of Powertrain, Jaguar Land Rover. "Not only is this the most powerful four-cylinder ever offered in a production Jaguar, it also develops the highest specific power and torque ratings of any engine in the F-Type range. It's a natural fit for a Jaguar sports car."
The lighter engine has also changed the car's handling characteristics, turning it into a vehicle that craves country backroads as much as long highway straights.
"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, Chief Product Engineer, Jaguar Sports Cars. "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."
And while the company has cut back on cylinders, it's been generous with active safety and creature comforts. The car comes with a Touch Pro infotainment system, autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning; other options include lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and even a driver condition monitor.
The F-Type 300PS 2-litre will cost from £50,000 (roughly US$65,000) when it goes on sale later this year.