Monday, 24 September 2012

Jaguar Reveals F-eminate New Roadster

Now this is a version of Charlie's Angles I can get on board with.
The Jaguar E-Type was a landmark in automotive history. There, I said it. It's not because it was faster than a Ferrari for less than half the price, or because it became the car for the jet set, but because it was, and still is, one of the top 3 best looking cars ever made. Many - including some bloke called Enzo Ferrari - would even argue it's the top 1. As such, a successor would be so over-hyped that it could never live up to people's expectations. On the other hand, retro cars and cars that reference history in some way have been selling plenty in recent years, such as the current American muscle cars, the Fiat 500, BMW's loose interpretation of a Mini and the new Porsche 911, which takes inspiration from all the other 911s. So Jaguar, in need of something a bit more agile than the big XK, were in a bit of a pickle; any two-seat coupé or roadster would instantly be compare to the E-Type, so do they avoid it or embrace it?

They embraced it, as you can see here. This is the new Jaguar F-Type.

Using a sort of meta-reference in the name, like Porsche's upcoming 918, The F will sit under the XK (which is set to move upmarket when it gets renewed to really make room) and will be launched in Roadster form first. But let's get the question out of the way now: Is it one of the top 5 best-looking cars ever made? I'm not so sure. The styling is pretty much identical to the C-X16 show car revealed last year, right down to those four air intakes flanking the large grille, which I'm not all that keen on myself. I had hoped they would be removed or toned down between concept and production, but hey ho. If they serve a purpose, then I'll have to get used to them busying up the front end. Overall though, the blend of modern angles and touches with the basic proportions of the E-Type should make this even more of a stunner in person than it is in this first picture (leaked, of course, before being unveiled officially all of a sudden like with the McLaren P1).

UPDATE (26/9): There are now more pictures. See the link below the side profile image.

For more pictures, go here.
Unlike the E-Type, which started with a straight-six and later gained a V12, the F-Type will start off with a supercharged V6 in two states of tune, one with 335bhp and 332lb/ft (similar to a Cayman R or 1 M Coupé) and another with a 911-bothering 375bhp and 339lb/ft. Topping the range is the 5.0 supercharged V8 used in the XK, XF, XJ and a Land Rover or two, producing 495bhp and 460lb/ft of torque. It's meant to be sharper and more agile than the somewhat golfer-friendly XK, and of course with two seats instead of four, it's smaller too. Smaller than anything Jaguar has made since the 1950s, in fact, only stretching out over 4.4m (putting it between the lengths of the hatchback and estate versions of the current Ford Focus). Short car means short wheelbase. That means agility. Combine agility and those meaty power outputs, and the all-aluminium F-Type could set the world alight after all.

If only it could out-pace the Ferrari California for half the money. Actually, maybe the supposed V8 version will, or can at least get close...

UPDATE II (26/9): More info from Jaguar. The lightest car (most likely the base model) weighs 1597kg. Not too bad, but just as 'meaty' as the power outputs. All cars come equipped with active damping and an 8-speed automatic gearbox with paddles to make you feel like you're not so lazy, while V6s get a mechanical LSD and the V8 gets an 'active' electronic diff. The base car hits 60 in 5.1 seconds, the S does the same in 4.8 and the V8 S takes a mere 4.2 seconds. Top speeds are 161mph, 171mph and 186mph, all electronically limited. Not quite Ferrari-bashing, but there's always the later R version for that ;-)

UPDATE III (26/9): The prices in the UK (plus options of course) are as follows: £58,500 for the basic V6, £67,500 for the V6 S, £79,950 for V8 S. A bit too high for the Boxster-battling V6s, but the 911-battling V8 is about there, I reckon, especially if all versions come with more standard kit than a Porsche.

No comments:

Post a Comment