2014 Jaguar F-Type
By Paul A. Eisenstein
On Sale: Late Spring/Early Summer 2013
Expected Pricing: Starting around $70,000
Jaguar is launching a new sports car called the F-Type expected to go on sale in the U.S. in early summer 2013.
There was something fitting about the soggy send-off the all-new Jaguar F-Type got during a Paris Motor Show preview, the rain all the more tolerable once you learned the sports car's new soft-top can be operated in just 12 seconds.
Practical matters are likely only to enhance the appeal of the F-Type which is being hailed as the spiritual successor to the British marque's legendary E-Type. The result of an absurdly long gestation, Jaguar taking over a decade to come up with the right design, the new two-seater somehow captures the essence of the old E-Type without slipping into the dreaded retro-mobile category.
There are two strong lines that define the sports car, one slicing rearward from the nose and fading away in the doors like a pencil leaves a piece of paper, one Jaguar designer suggested. The other defines the tail. The rear lamps run horizontally, with just a hint of E-Type in the central rondels. Twin tailpipes will define the V6, quad exhaust tips the V8.
The interior is a very modern iteration, as well, with some of the luxurious, high-tech details of the latest, and far more expensive, Jaguar XJ. Two integral roll bars rise above and behind the twin, sports-style seats. The power top, meanwhile, should be one of the fastest on the market, and will be operable at speeds up to 30 mph.
Jaguar kicked around a lot of different powertrain layouts over the years, including a possible mid-engine sports car, but ultimately settled on a relatively conventional front-engine/rear-drive approach. Like other recent Jaguar models, the British maker has gone for a lightweight aluminum body and platform that comes in at just 3,521 pounds with the base V6, just slightly more than a Porsche 911.
Initially, there will be three powertrain options: a 3.0-liter 340-hp supercharged V6, as well as a 380-hp version developing higher boost. The initial top-line model will boast a 5.0-liter V8 making 495 horsepower, and reported 0 to 60 acceleration times of just over 4 seconds. Jaguar officials have hinted they have an expansive product lifecycle plan, which translates into a continuing series of spin-offs that will roll out in the coming years, much as the marque has done with the bigger XK line.
Surprisingly, there are no plans for either a manual gearbox or a dual-clutch, but Jaguar insists the ZF QuickShift 8-speed will be lightning fast and will come with wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
While not confirmed, that appears to include an R model and possibly a later RS that could push up and beyond the 500 horsepower mark. Considering the size and weight of the new F-Type, company officials are almost giddy when describing the potential. The ability to add all-wheel drive, something Jaguar knows many American motorists now demand on all luxury products, has been built into the platform and could follow within a couple years.
Jaguar has big sales goals for the new F-Type, and that matters to potential buyers because the maker plans to use an attractive base price to draw buyers into the showroom. While final figures won't be revealed until closer to its launch, early next year, the target is 25-percent less than a comparable 911, which would translate into about a $70,000 base price.