Spy shots have revealed what appears to be an extreme high-performance 'RS' variant of the Jaguar F-type convertible being tested on track.
Jaguar marketing director Phil Popham admitted at last week’s New York show that extreme high performance cars would help re-establish the company as a ‘performance’ brand.
It's likely that the supercharged 5.0-litre V8, found in the F-type R, will be fitted. In standard form the engine produces 542bhp and 502lb ft but the RS is expected to receive something of a power hike, resulting in an output close to 600bhp. Power will again be sent to the rear wheels by an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The new Jaguar F-type RS convertible prototype features some fairly extensive cosmetic changes, compared to the standard model, including a much larger front chin spoiler, a more aggressive rear wing and a bigger rear diffuser under the tail.
That this new car is being tested in convertible form is interesting because, as yet, there is no R version of the drop-top F-Type – but a high-performance and roofless 'Project 7' concept was tested last year, which shares similar visual identifiers including the large front spoiler.
Visible upgrades include what appear to be carbon ceramic brakes, which are optional on the F-type R coupé, as well as the optional 20-inch 'Storm' alloys that are prerequisite with the carbon brakes.
No performance figures have been announced but the F-type R coupé can sprint from 0-62mph in 4.0sec and reach a top speed of 186mph. Shaving any more time off the sprint time will be as much a triumph of the engineers being able to put power to the road, as it is the application of more power.
Additional reporting by Lewis Kingston, 22 April 2014