2014 Jaguar F-Type avoids retro design temptation
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The 2014 Jaguar F-Type sports car has finally been officially unveiled to the public.
Jaguar designer Ian Callum, charged with creating a successor to the hallowed E-type, has penned an unmistakably British roadster that channels elements of the E without succumbing to the temptation to create an actual retro design.
Jaguar executives remain mum on pricing for the moment, but it's clear they're determined to offer potential Porsche Boxster buyers a compelling alternative.
The F-Type goes on sale in the United States next summer, Jaguar said today.
The engineers have done their part too: Depending upon trim level, the output and estimated performance of the F-Type lines up closely with Porsche's entry-level convertible.
Jaguar says all three F-Type trim levels will be equipped with a supercharged engine, either a V-6 available in two states of tune or the company's force-fed 5.0-liter AJ V-8. The 375-hp V-6 is notable by virtue of having the highest specific output of any Jaguar engine to-date.
• F-Type: Supercharged 3.0L V-6, 335 hp
• F-Type S: Supercharged 3.0L V-6, 375 hp
• F-Type V-8S: Supercharged 5.0L V-8, 488 hp
F-Type spotters can identify V-6 models by their dual center-mounted exhaust pipes versus the V-8's quad pipes, arranged two per side.
Each F-Type features a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission with QuickShift, a strategy that cuts fuel when changing gears for faster shifts. S models also get launch control. V6S models get a mechanical limited slip differential, while V8S trims receive an electronic differential that maximizes traction not just in performance situations, but also in inclement weather.
Jaguar said today the base V-6 F-Type is only about one second slower to 60 than its big brother. The details:
• F-Type: 0-60 5.1 seconds, top speed 161 mph
• F-Type S: 0-60 4.8 seconds, top speed 171 mph
• F-Type V8S: 0-60 4.2 seconds, top speed 186 mph
The F-Type will be strictly a convertible at launch; all models get an electrically operated Z-fold cloth roof with no tonneau cover -- Jaguar says to expect about 12 seconds to open or close.
It's bolted to a lightweight 2-seat aluminum monocoque that uses structural aluminum castings in critical load-bearing and safety-related areas, resulting in a frame that's reportedly stiffer than the XKR-S.
Inside, a two-seat cockpit design angles the center stack toward the driver, with an integrated grab bar visually separating the two halves. To keep the interior design clean without compromising ventilation, Jaguar integrated pop-up vents in the center of the dash. When the airflow is needed, the vents rise, disappearing again when the proper temperature is reached.
The F-Type is about .75 inches shorter than a 2012 Porsche 911, but its wheelbase is nearly seven inches longer. Base curb weight is around 3,500 pounds thanks to the aluminum-intensive architecture; composite materials are used for the trunk lid, permitting it to house various antennas without risk of interference. The trunk volume is about seven cubic feet.
Lead designer Callum explained that the F-Type grille resembles that of the current XJ and XK on purpose –- a defined "face of Jaguar" is the brand goal. That said, the F has much more aggressive details than anything else in the lineup save for the XKR-S; strong vertical vents, a power bulge on the hood and the sculpting of the lower air dam lend to the look.
"It's very assertive in the rear-view mirror," explained Callum
Flush door handles, a la Aston Martin, extend when the car is unlocked, maintaining a completely smooth side line when the car is on and in motion. A similar treatment keeps the decklid smooth -- all trim levels use a deployable rear spoiler to aid stability.
"The overall proportion of a car," explained Callum, "The image that catches your eye as the car passes – that's what Jaguar has always been good at."