Jaguar could not evaluate building other new models, such as a small saloon or SUV, without having the new F-type at the core of its range, according to company boss Adrian Hallmark.

He went on to describe the F-type as the most important car Jaguar has built in 50 years. “Without the F-type, our heritage would not be complete,” he said. “We were a founder member of the sports car club. Without a sports car in our range, it has been possible for people to lose orientation about what Jaguar stands for.

“The F-type is the core of our range, and from now it is our orientation point. Other manufacturers who have strayed successfully from their core model have only done so if they have continued to invest in that model.”

Hallmark acknowledged that an SUV and a small saloon are the most likely next new Jaguars. “Whatever we do will be driven by the three pillars of our brand: innovation, design and performance leadership,” he said. “Those three can be applied to different degrees in different cars, but they must always be present.”

Hallmark also played down criticism that the F-type, which starts at £58,500, is too expensive. “In terms of footprint, technology, performance and design, this is a full-size sports car,” he said. “But in terms of pricing it sits between the full-size sports cars and smaller sports cars. We’re delivering Aston V8 or Porsche 911 performance at prices well below them.”

As a result of the F-type’s predicted popularity, the next-generation XK is likely to go up in performance and price. “It is a very different offering to the F-type now, but we acknowledge that the vast majority of XK sales now are of R and R-S models, so it seems logical to grow the car in that direction,” he said.