Jaguar unveils the F-Type

Jaguar F-Type V8S

Jaguar's spiritual successor to the iconic E-Type is revealed at the Paris Motor Show.

The E-Type has cast a long shadow over Jaguar ever since it went out of production in 1974.  As good as cars like the XJS and XK have been, they have never managed to recapture the magic of the iconic E-Type.

Now, after thirty eight years, Jaguar has finally has revealed the successor to the E-Type: the F-Type. A strict two-seater, the F-Type will initially come in three versions. The base car uses a new 340PS 3.0 supercharged V6 and will cost from £58,500, while the F-Type S uses the same engine in 380PS form  and costs from £67,500.  At the top of the tree is the V8S, powered by the 5-litre supercharged V8 also used in the XKR and XFR, and developing 495PS. This range-topping model will set you back £79,950. It's probably safe to assume that a more potent R version will follow in the future, too, and become Jaguar's performance flagship. All models are rear wheel drive, with power supplied via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Performance is as you would expect given the power outputs, with the base car hitting 60mph in 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 161mph.  The V8 does the same sprint in 4.2 seconds and tops out at 186mph. Performance is aided by the extensive use of lightweight aluminium in the construction, with the base car tipping the scales at 1,597kg.

The pricing shows Jaguar clearly intends to slot the F-Type into the market above the Porsche Boxster and overlapping the bottom of the Porsche 911 range. It remains to be seen whether the new Jag will be able to compete with these two titans dynamically, but on the style front it is certainly in the contest. Closely related to the C-X16 concept first shown at the Frankfurt show last year, the principal change is that it is now an open car, although a coupe version is expected to follow next year. The shape eschews the oval grille made famous by the E-Type (and still used in the current XK) in favour of a squarer shape as seen in the XF and XJ. The rear has a clear nod to the E Type in its shape but avoids the trap of looking too retro.

Jaguar has high hopes for the F-Type and it's clear that this is a car that will appeal to a younger audience than its other current offerings, although it will have a formidable challenge in a market dominated by the aforementioned Porsches, not to mention Mercedes and BMW. In the States it will also have to contend with the Corvette, a new version of which is due next year. Even with this competition, expect to see plenty of F-Types in the posher parts of London and Los Angeles in the coming months.

First opinion

When the C-X16 concept was unveiled last year I was pretty excited, and it's pleasing that the production car is much the same, although I think the car looks better as a coupe than as a roadster (I assume the forthcoming coupe will look much the same as the concept). On the negative side, I do see the list pricing as a little on the strong side, especially considering the strength of the competition. However, even at the prices being asked, it's a very desirable package and I can potentially see myself ordering a coupe in one of the V6 forms at some point in the future.