The two-seater Jaguar F-type will initially be offered with supercharged V6 and V8 petrol engines, each mated to an eight-speed ‘Quickshift’ automatic gearbox, it has been confirmed.

In its most potent V8 S guise, the F-type will be able to crack 0-60mph in just 4.2sec and reach a top speed of 186mph.

Dynamically, Jaguar bosses say the entry-level F-type picks up and goes beyond where its most focused car ever, the XKR-S, leaves off.

Although the underpinnings may be familiar, they have been tuned in an entirely different way for the F-type. In the F-type, the driver sits 20mm lower than the XK, dropping the centre of gravity considerably in the process. Torsional rigidity is increased by 10 per cent over even the XKR-S, and lateral stiffness is increased by up to 30 per cent over standard XKs.

All-aluminium double wishbone suspension has been used all-round, and the steering rack fitted is the quickest ever seen on a Jaguar. Brake discs of up to 380mm in diameter can be fitted, which are covered by wheels of up to 20inches in size.

A mechanical limited-slip differential is fitted to the F-type S and an active electronic differential is fitted to the F-type V8 S. Launch control is another feature of S models, while a full complement of electronic aids – stability and traction control among them – are fitted as standard.

Mike Cross’s team set out to create a car that offered “involving, exploitable handling, but never allows the ride to deteriorate into harshness”.

To that end Jaguar has tuned the F-type to offer approachable everyday usability when driven in ‘Normal’ mode, but, as with other Jaguars, the F-type has a Dynamic mode that sharpens throttle responses, increases steering weighting, improves gear-shift responses and allows more slip before the electronic aids come to the rescue. Adaptive dampers are also found on the F-type S and V8 S models to sharpen Dynamic mode even further.

An F-type first is a level of customisation within the Dynamic mode, which allows the driver to select which parameters of those listed above are altered when the mode is selected. This Configurable Dynamics mode is managed using the interior’s touchscreen on the centre console, which also allows lap and split times to be recorded when the F-type is driven on track and display throttle and brake inputs, plus G-forces generated.

F-type S and V8 S models come with an active exhaust system, which features a number of electronically controlled valves in the exhaust’s rear section that open under hard acceleration or if Dynamic mode is selected.

The only F-type that does without this system is the base model, which gets Jaguar’s new 3.0-litre supercharged V6 with 335bhp and 332lb ft, the same spec as in the recently revised XF and XJ ranges.

The all-alloy engine, which is based on Jaguar’s familiar 5.0-litre V8 unit, is also available with 375bhp and 339lb ft in the F-type S and is one of Jaguar’s most advanced units yet, featuring four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing for both exhaust and intake systems, and a clever spray-guided direct-injection system. The Roots-type twin-vortex supercharger is mounted in the engine’s V.

The compression ratio, at 10.5:1, is also higher than the 5.0 V8’s 9.5:1 to improve fuel economy and CO2 emissions. As a result, the base F-type returns 31.4mpg and 209g/km CO2 emissions, alongside a 0-60mph time of 5.1sec and a 161mph top speed. The F-type S gets comparative figures of 31.0mpg, 213g/km, 4.8sec and 171mph.

The 5.0-litre V8 engine is revised for its application in the F-type and is offered in one flavour, F-type V8 S. It produces 488bhp and 461lb ft, and is capable of 0-60mph in 4.2sec and an electronically limited 186mph top speed. Fuel economy is rated at 25.5mpg combined, and CO2 emissions are 259g/km.

All engines get stop-start as standard and are mated to an eight-speed ‘Quickshift’ gearbox from ZF, which has been specifically tuned for a sports car application. Once second gear is selected, a locking clutch takes over from a torque convertor to create a mechanical link between engine and rear wheels.

Gear shifts have been tuned to be shorter and sharper – hence the name ‘Quickshift'. Its performance potential is best illustrated with the F-type V8 S’s 50-75mph time, which stands at just 2.5sec.

The gearbox has 25 different programmes that are continuously variable depending on road conditions and driving style. It can also detect corners, ensuring the correct gear is held until the exit. The gearbox can be manually overridden by either the steering-wheel mounted paddles or the gearshifter.