Jaguar fans howl 'give us an F'

By Alastair Sloane

Jaguar says the F-type will be its first true sports car for more than 50 years. Photo / Supplied
Jaguar says the F-type will be its first true sports car for more than 50 years. Photo / Supplied

New Zealanders are keen to get their hands on the new Jaguar F-Type, if the inquiries to importer Motorcorp Distributors are any indication.

The F-Type roadster goes into production in Britain later this year, followed by a coupe next year.

The badge marks a change in naming strategy from Jaguar, 50 or so years after its famous predecessor, the E-Type, first went on sale.

" We have been getting 20 or so online inquiries about the car every day," said Jaguar NZ general manager Paul Ricketts.

"It's the next evolution of Jaguar's racing heritage, a true sports car."

The F-Type was previewed by the C-X16 coupe concept at the Paris motor show in 2010 and the positive reaction since has led Jaguar to speed up the development programme.

The carmaker's global brand director Adrian Hallmark said the F-Type will be the first true Jaguar sports car for more than 50 years.

"Why did we choose F-Type? Because if you look at the C, D and E-Type, these names have always stood for Jaguar's most seductive models. The F-Type is the next step in our long sports car heritage."

Jaguar released the first images of the new roadster at this month's New York motor show. It was camouflaged with F-Type lettering and the red car above is a computer rendition.

Jaguar design director Ian Callum said the F-Type will include 95 per cent of the C-X16 concept. "I can promise you won't be disappointed."

The double intakes either side of the front grille will be carried over, as will the sculpted bonnet, side gills embossed with the Jaguar name and narrow LED tail-lights. But the quad exhausts have now been swapped for twin pipes in the centre of the diffuser.

The new two-seater will be positioned below the XK in the line-up. Jaguar says it's been deliberately priced to sit between Porsche's Boxster and Cayman and the 911.

"There is no direct rival to the F-Type - we have done our research and believe we've found a sweet spot in the market," said Hallmark.

The F-Type is set to take the idea of a Jaguar performance car to new heights. "If you take the XK, for example, the standard car is a very good GT, while the XKR-S is a different vehicle entirely.

"The F-Type will be more like having the XKR-S as the base model.

That's how much of a sports car it will be. And there's room to take the performance beyond that of the XKR-S, at least in terms of the philosophy," he said.

Jaguar expects many F-Type customers will be new to the brand. "The F-Type won't sell in huge volumes, but it'll be enormously important to Jaguar and the way it's perceived," Hallmark said.

" We have done research that tells us this car has the power to change people's expectations of Jaguar. It will centre our range."

The rear-wheel-drive F-Type will be all-aluminium, using a cut-down version of the XK's chassis. It will also have a fabric roof.

"A convertible is much harder to engineer than a coupe, so we chose to develop the roadster version first," said Callum.

Hallmark said a coupe was "vital to keeping the car's lifecycle going."

Jaguar hasn't revealed details of the F-Type's engine range, but it's likely to get a new 3-litre V6 - essentially the XK's 5-litre V8 with two cylinders removed.

The new engine will be offered in normally aspirated form with around 185kW and also as a supercharged R, delivering around 280kW.

Both models will get a six-speed automatic gearbox with manual mode.

- NZ Herald

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