The new Jaguar sports car will be called F-type and will make production in 2013 initially as a two-seat soft-top convertible. The announcement was made at today's New York motor show by Jaguar global brand director Adrian Hallmark, with Jaguar releasing a set of 'spy' pictures to co-incide with his speech.
The Jaguar F-type, which will be launched with a powertrain that delivers 0-60mph in less than five secs and a top speed in excess of 180mph, was previewed as the C-X16 concept at the Frankfurt motor show last September. Reaction to the concept was so positive and initial engineering work on prototypes has been so successful that Jaguar has been able to bring it to production earlier than initially planned.
Jaguar evaluated a range of different names for the F-type, understood to have included XE and XS among others. But F-type was chosen as it was the "next logical naming step" in Jaguar's sports car history, following on from the E-type.
"It's not the new E-type," Hallmark told Autocar, "as there's no logical continuation between the two cars. The C, D and E-type names were used for Jaguar's sports cars of the day and it's the same now. Of course we took a long deep breath before using F-type as we understand the connotations, but it's a credit to the future."
The F-type will be built at Castle Bromwich on an all-aluminium architecture. Design director Ian Callum said the design would stay true to the C-X16 concept, making production with limited changes.
"The design will be very similar," he said. "Most designers - myself included - have been guilty of making a concept car that looks good and then a production car that is a disappointment. We won't do that again."
One feature of the C-X16 that won't make it onto the F-type is the side opening rear tailgate. "That was a bit of fun and a nod to the E-type," said Callum. "We could engineer it but practicality is more important."
The convertible is being engineered first as it requires the biggest engineering challenge and investment. A coupe will follow in 2014 and several other variants will also be launched throughout the F-types life cycle - including a hybrid version previewed by the C-X16 - to maintain interest in the car.
A range of petrol engines will be offered, including powertrains from Jaguar's new engine family.
Hallmark also admitted the convertible's spring-summer launch date was unusual, as such cars are normally launched in the autumn. Sales of the convertible and coupe are expected to be split around 50-50.
In terms of driving dynamics, the base F-type will offer a similar level of precision as the XKR-S. "Jaguar is all about sports cars and this is our most driver focused cars in generations," said Jaguar's chassis tuning chief Mike Cross. "It's responsive and great to drive."
Hallmark added: "It won't have XKR-S power but will have the precision, directness and responsiveness of that car at its core."
The model will be positioned between the Porsche Cayman/Boxster and Porsche 911 in the sports car segment, a price point Jaguar says it will operate in alone. "We've done a lot of research and the unique positioning has given us the desire to make it much sooner," said Hallmark.
The production F-type will be unveiled later this year, probably at the Paris motor show in September.