Jaguar finally has its much anticipated – and much leaked – new sports car. Revealed at the Musée Rodin Museumin Paris ahead of the Paris Motor Show, the rakish convertible picks up the long-dormant mantle of the legendary E-Type, but it isn't a retro-retread. Autoblog was invited to England earlier this month for a hush-hush preview of the F-Type, where Jaguar Vehicle Line Director Ian Hoben assured us that "We're not worshipping the ashes of our ancestors here." While Jag has offered the larger XK grand tourer for years, it hasn't really fielded a new sports car in 50 years. And as Hoben points out, "For us not to be there [the segment] seems as wrong as Ferrari or Porsche not building sports cars."
"We're not worshipping the ashes of our ancestors here."
The new all-aluminum F-Type is a strict two-seat affair, none of the leather-wrapped and seatbelt-equipped parcel shelves of the XK here. Available in three trims, F-Type, F-Type S and F-Type V8 S, the baby Jag will offer one of three powertrains, a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 with 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 (380 hp / 339 lb-ft.), or a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 (495 hp / 460 lb-ft). The sole transmission at launch will be ZF's ubiquitous eight-speed automatic, with paddles and a more conventional gearshift lever in favor of the rotary selector of recent fame. Jag won't confirm it, but we suspect a manual transmission will be made available in a year's time, possibly on a harder-core R model. In its top specification, Jag promises a 0-60 dash of 4.2 seconds and a limited top speed of 186 mph. The mid-level V6 S does the deed in 4.8 seconds and taps out at 171 mph, while the 'base' F-Type still runs to 60 in 5.1 seconds and hits a 161-mph vMax. While we have yet to drive them, we have heard the new cars fire up and under power, as the Brits say, they sound "right cracking."
Sporting near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution, the rear-drive F-Type is smaller in person than you think – it's actually two centimeters shorter than the Porsche 911, yet is wider and has a significantly longer wheelbase (nearly 6.7 inches). Officials are quick to note that the new aluminum structure is actually stiffer in both torsional and local rigidity than the XK-RS, a convertible with commendable stiffness. Weighing in from as little as 1,597 kg (3,520 pounds), it's also quite light.
It's actually two centimeters shorter than the Porsche 911, yet is wider and has a significantly longer wheelbase.
Based upon what we learned, we think the V6 S might actually be the hot ticket for driving enthusiasts – besides having less weight up front (and presumably costing less) than the V8, the V6 S features a mechanical limited-slip differential, while the V8S uses an e-diff solution. Either way, these cars all figure to be good handlers, with the quickest steering rack ever fitted to a Jaguar (14.6 to 1 and still hydraulic to preserve feel) and available active dampers. There's also a dynamic mode accessed through the touchscreen that governs shift points, steering assist and throttle response, along with different intervention thresholds for traction and stability control systems.
And did we mention it's stunning to behold? Drawing heavily from 2011's C-X16 concept, the F-Type's best angle is arguably its rear three-quarter aspect, which has a unique taper and horizontal taillamps that, if anything, reminds vaguely of the BMW Z8. The rump features a deployable rear spoiler so as not to interrupt the vehicle's pretty lines. The profile is particularly clean work thanks to flush-fit door handles that pop open when you touch them, yet there's still a lot of depth, with deep-draw shapes with a lot of "barrel" to them. While we prefer the rear three-quarter view, the front end is no shrinking violet, featuring a bulging, vented clamshell hood and piercing bi-xenon headlamps with the obligatory LED daytime running lamps.
The F-Type's best angle is arguably its rear three-quarter aspect.
The cabin is based on what Jag is calling a "1+1" philosophy – that's apparently designer-ese for a driver-oriented cockpit with an asymmetric center stack featuring a prominent grab handle. Jaguar design boss tells Autoblog that keeping a low dash out to preserve a roadster-like feel and good visibility was fundamental, so they took the unusual step of creating active center air vents that deploy when the HVAC system deems it is necessary, disappearing from view entirely when not. It's a bit of theater that reminds us of the XF's spinning air vents – whether sports car buyers find it clever or fussy will be interesting to follow. There's also no wood inside – as Ian Callum, Director of Design, reminded us, "The only wood inside of an E-Type was the steering wheel."
Jaguar is taking an unusual approach in placing the F-Type in the sports car market, effectively splitting the market by offering a model priced above competitors like the BMW Z4 and Porsche Boxster, but below the aforementioned 911 and Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Pricing for the U.S. model has not yet been announced, but we're ballparking a base price of around $65,000 when it arrives here carrying a 2014 model year designation.
UPDATE: Live reveal images and U.S. press release added below.
UPDATE 2: Point of clarification – the V8 S e-diff isn't a traditional traction-control-based solution, a servo in the differential varies the lockup on the clutch pack.
UPDATE 3: Our sources confirm that the F-Type will start at $69,000 in the U.S.
JAGUAR F-TYPE UNVEILED AT THE 2012 PARIS MOTOR SHOW
• The F-TYPE is an all-new two-seat Jaguar soft-top convertible sports car
• Front-engine, lightweight aluminum architecture and rear-wheel drive, the F-TYPE is engineered to be a true high-performance sports car
• Three models will be available – F-TYPE, F-TYPE S and the F-TYPE V8 S, powered respectively by the new Jaguar supercharged 3-liter V6 engine in 340hp and 380hp outputs and a 495hp 5-liter supercharged V8
• The convertible top folds in 12 seconds at speeds up to 30 MPH
• Constructed on the fourth generation of Jaguar lightweight aluminum architecture. Torsional and lateral stiffness have been prioritized to maximize handling agility
• The F-TYPE introduces a new sports car design language for Jaguar, with bold, clean lines accented by the discreet use of technology, including a deployable rear spoiler and hidden door handles
• Exciting performance, with 0-to-60 in 5.1 seconds for the F-TYPE, 4.8 for the S model and 4.2 for the V8 S. The V8 S has a top track speed of 186 mph2
• All engines drive through an eight-speed 'Quickshift' automatic transmission, with a center console-mounted SportShift gear selector and steering wheel-mounted paddles for full manual control
• Available Configurable Dynamics program allows the driver to tailor a number of the dynamic features to personal taste and includes displays for lap timer and G-meter functions1, 2
• Driver-focused interior melds classic sports car feel with high-tech controls
• Jaguar F-TYPE to arrive in U.S. market in summer 2013
"Jaguar is a founding member of the sports car segment with a rich sporting bloodline stretching over 75 years, and in the F-TYPE we've reignited that flame. The F-TYPE isn't designed to be like anyone else's sports car. It's a Jaguar sports car – ultra-precise, powerful, sensual and, most of all, it feels alive."
Adrian Hallmark, Global Brand Director, Jaguar
The new Jaguar F-TYPE represents a return to the company's heart: a two-seat, convertible sports car focused on performance, agility and driver involvement. The F-TYPE is a continuation of a sporting bloodline that stretches back more than 75 years and encompasses some of the most beautiful, thrilling and desirable sports cars ever built. Joining the XK convertible and coupe models, the new F-TYPE provides Jaguar with a broader line of sports and GT models.
The 2013 Jaguar F-TYPE combines low vehicle weight (starting at 3,521 pounds), high power (340hp, 380hp and 495hp versions) and superb aerodynamics to achieve a pure sports car experience, yet with Jaguar elegance and luxury.
A true two-seat sports car, the all-new Jaguar F-TYPE is equipped with a modern, lightweight soft top that, when lowered, serves as its own tonneau cover. This not only provides a weight savings, but also improves packaging and contributes to the car's low center of gravity for greater agility. The top can be fully raised or lowered in just 12 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph. Its multi-layer construction includes a Thinsulate® lining for optimal thermal and sound-insulating properties.
Jaguar cars have always defined sinuous, muscular elegance, and the F-TYPE continues -- and advances -- this tradition with new, assertive design language. Two "heartlines" define, in just two bold strokes, both the profile and top-down view of the F-TYPE. The main "heartline" theme begins in the blade dissecting the shark-like gills on either side of the grille. This first heartline runs up and forms the sharp top crease of the fender line, which provides sight lines that aid the driver in cornering maneuvers. It leads the eye along the top of the front fender, which is emphasized by the headlamp design, and then into the door and toward the rear of the car where it gracefully disappears.
This sweeping line is mirrored by the feature line that runs back from the side vent. Along with "lightcatcher" surface detailing above the sill, the line instills a sense of speed to the car. The lightcatcher surface detailing also allows the door surface to wrap around the side of the car, creating a fuselage effect.
The second "heartline" swells out to form the muscular rear haunch before sweeping dramatically around the rear of the car. The clean, sleek lines of the tail are made possible in part by the inclusion of an active rear spoiler that deploys at speed to reduce aerodynamic lift. The spoiler rises when the F-TYPE reaches 60 mph and then lowers to fit flush when the speed drops below 40 mph. Further discreet aerodynamic aids include a front splitter and a sculpted rear valance.
"Every aspect of a sports car, dimensionally, allows us to create something that is visually exciting; visceral as well as physical. To me the definition of sports car design is being fit for purpose, wrapping up the occupants and mechanicals in the most exciting, beautiful and sensual package possible with no unnecessary surfaces or adornment. A piece of design should tell a story and this is why every line in the F-TYPE has a start, a direction and a conclusion. If you approach every line individually and get it as aesthetically correct as possible, get the dimensions right, it will stand the test of time."
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar
The headlights run vertically rather than horizontally, which leads the eye naturally up and along the fender crease. Technology has facilitated the design language of the F-TYPE; the compact xenon unit requires just one projector, while the J-Blade LED running lights further emphasize the design of the heartline running through the lamp.
The grille leans slightly forward to create a suggestion of motion when the car is stationary. The lower edge of the clamshell hood forms the top of the side vent. The mesh in the grille and side vents is a hexagonal design that gives greater form and depth.
The hidden, automatically deploying door handles support the design purity. The handles remain flush with the door panel until activated by either unlocking the car with the key fob or touching a touch-sensitive area of the handle. Their automatic deployment provides a mechanical "handshake," inviting the driver and passenger to enter. Once the car is moving, the handles retract to leave an uninterrupted aerodynamic surface.
Full LED rear lamps create a new Jaguar sports car signature by reinterpreting classic cues from the past. By wrapping the lights around to the trailing edge of the rear wheel arch, the car's powerful rear-wheel drive stance is emphasized. Reflecting the way the front grille leans forward, the tail tucks inward, reinforcing the impression that the car is poised to leap forward.
Differing exhaust and tailpipe designs distinguish the V6 and V8 variants of the F-TYPE. The V6 models feature twin center outlets in a nod to the classic Jaguar E-TYPE introduced in 1961. The boldest exhaust finishers ever fitted to a Jaguar, these are stamped from a single piece of stainless steel, creating an unbroken gleaming surface. The V8 S model exclusively features four outboard-mounted exhaust outlets, with twin outlets on each side.
Further detail differentiation between the three variants is found in the exterior trim. The F-TYPE V6 model is marked by satin black trim elements in the grilles, vents, front splitter and rear valance, while the two 'S' models receive gloss-black finishes in these areas. The V6 model features standard 18-inch alloy wheels, with 19-inch and 20-inch wheels standard for the S and V8 S, respectively, and available as options for the V6. The V8 S also receives additional aerodynamic features, including front vanes beneath the shark gills and flat side sill extensions to manage airflow.
"This is the car that, as a team, we have always wanted to do. It was very much a team operation because we work very closely together and have a strong shared aesthetic. To begin with, I will let people express themselves as to what they think a Jaguar sports car should look like. Of course I will have a view in my head but I won't impose that on them. It's important because great things come out of it. It's an iterative process, it's about problem solving. Not just the functional and the practical but how to make that line work with that one or that form with another. The whole process is very intimate, very detailed and comes from the first sketches."
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar
Jaguar, which has innovated the use of aluminum body structures, built the new F-TYPE around its most advanced rigid and lightweight aluminum architecture to date. Jaguar engineers applied more than a decade's worth of aluminum construction experience to achieve the twin goals for the F-TYPE of low mass and an extremely rigid body.
Key to this was the further development of alloy technology. AC300, a 6000-series aluminum alloy, was specifically selected for parts of the F-TYPE to meet these goals. The F-TYPE structure is riveted and bonded, and this manufacturing process emits up to 80-percent less CO2 compared to that from welding a comparable steel structure.
In addition to the structural alloy, Jaguar further developed an AC600 aluminum panel alloy in order to deliver the desired design language. This AC600 alloy offers robustness and quality of finish but with a great degree of formability. The effects can be seen in the clarity and tightness of radii and feature lines. It was the radius tightness of just 8mm that allowed the engineers to reproduce the car's "heartlines" exactly as the designers had intended.
Aluminum construction, including all-aluminum double wishbone front and rear suspensions, helps endow the F-TYPE with an ideal balance, which enhances the agility demanded of a pure sports car. The new structural alloys used in the F-TYPE construction results in high rigidity. Using detailed Computer Aided Engineering programs, Jaguar achieved lateral stiffness gains of up to 30 percent in key areas, such as the front suspension mounting points, compared to other Jaguar models. This rigidity provides a precision foundation for a finely tuned suspension system to deliver a superb driver connectivity and fidelity of response.
Significantly, the beautiful clamshell hood, an exotic signature feature of the F-TYPE and where the front heartline begins, is a one-piece stamping, made using a 1,000-ton press. Jaguar developed other new manufacturing techniques in order to deliver both the design and structural integrity engineered into the F-TYPE. A new process, known as "warm forming", is used to produce the inner door stamping. The ordinary stamping process with cold metal could not achieve the desired shape. Jaguar engineers developed a method in which the metal is heated to 500°F (260°C) before pressing. As a result, the desired shape and structure are achieved from one large pressing rather than numerous smaller ones, reducing complexity and weight.
The F-TYPE employs more composite materials than in any previous Jaguar, with structures under the sill and the trunk lid constructed from high-strength polymers. Extensive analysis throughout the car's structure, powertrain, body and convertible roof contributed to the overall vehicle weight of about 3,521 pounds (1,597 kg). Concentrating as much of the mass as possible within the wheelbase by minimizing the front and rear overhangs also contributes to the car's agility and stability.
Aluminum forms a great part of the commitment Jaguar has made to sustainability. More than half the content of the car comes from recycled or reclaimed metal. In addition, Jaguar is rolling out its closed-loop recycling system to its suppliers, ensuring all waste metal from the manufacturing process is reused.
"We are creating a new generation of Jaguar sports car so it has to be credible from both a performance and design point of view. It has to deliver, it has to be a great handling car with a stiff, rigid platform underpinning and it has to look every inch an icon. For our team the greatest satisfaction was delivering a structure that underpinned the desired performance attributes - ride, handling and agility – by increasing stiffness and at the same time reducing weight.
We also worked hard to deliver the designers' vision. The biggest design challenge was the hood. Not only is it a one-piece pressing, it's where the first heartline begins. When we produced that stamping, we all stood around the gloss black painted hood under the high intensity lights and the designers said to us, 'yes, that's what we wanted' and the tooling engineers said, 'we can make that'. That was us working at our best; delivering the design proposition in high volumes."
Mark White, Chief Engineer, Body Complete
The F-TYPE showcases the new supercharged Jaguar engines, a 3-liter supercharged V6 in 340hp and 380hp states of tune and the 5-liter supercharged V8 in the F-TYPE V8 S with 495hp and 460 ft-lbs of torque. All are equipped with the new Intelligent Stop/Start system to enhance fuel economy under certain driving conditions.
The 340hp version of the supercharged V6, which debuted in the 2013 XJ and XF sedans, produces 332 ft-lbs of torque at 3,500-5,500 rpm. The 380hp version, exclusive to the F-TYPE, produces 339 ft-lbs of torque at 3,500-5,500 rpm. The V8 produces an even broader torque curve, with 460 ft-lbs produced over the 2,500-5,500 rpm range.
The 340hp V6 model can accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in 5.1 seconds (0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds). The 380hp S model lowers that to 4.8 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds), and the V8 S can hit 60 mph from rest in just 4.2 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds). Electronically limited maximum track speeds are 161 mph (260 km/h), 171 mph (275 km/h) and 186 mph (300 km/h), respectively, for the V6, V6 S and V8 S models.2
In addition to rapid zero-to-60 acceleration, the new Jaguar supercharged engines give the F-TYPE outstanding merging and passing performance. The 340hp V6 model will go from 50 to 75 mph in just 3.3 seconds; the 380hp S version in 3.1 and the V8 S model in 2.5 seconds. 2
Based on the Jaguar 5-liter V8 engine, the 3-liter V6 shares its all-alloy construction. The lightweight die-cast aluminum block is stiffened with cross-bolted main bearing caps, increasing rigidity and refinement. A system of counter-rotating front and rear balancer weights help give the new supercharged V6 the smoothness and refinement characteristics of the V8 on which it is based.
The supercharged V6 and V8 engines combine high compression, direct fuel injection, dual independent variable cam timing (DIVCT) and a supercharger to deliver their high levels of performance and efficiency. A twin vortex supercharger is mounted in the engine's "V", and a water-cooled intercooler reduces the temperature of the intake air to optimize power and efficiency. The supercharged V6 uses a higher compression ratio than the V8, 10.5:1 vs. 9.5:1.
In both the V6 and V8, the aluminum cylinder heads package an innovative valve control system. The dual independent variable cam timing (DIVCT) system is activated by the positive and negative torques generated by the movement of the intake and exhaust valves, allowing exceptionally quick actuation rates of more than 150 degrees per second throughout the rev range.
Spray-guided direct injection delivers precisely measured quantities of fuel directly into the center of the combustion chambers at pressures of up to 150bar (2175 psi) , creating a more homogenous air-fuel mixture for cleaner and more efficient combustion. This is aided by spark plugs that are precisely indexed both in relation to the injector and within the combustion chamber.
The new Intelligent Stop/Start system offers fuel economy benefits under certain urban driving conditions. Stop/Start uses a twin solenoid starter, enabling the system to restart the engine quickly as the driver's foot to move from the brake pedal to the accelerator. There is also a strategy for engine stop-start "change of mind" scenarios. This will bring the engine back up to speed even during its run-down phase if, for instance, the car is coming to a halt at an intersection when the driver sees an opportunity to join the traffic flow. As the engine is shutting down, but before it has completely stopped, it can rapidly restart by injecting fuel into the cylinders.
Standard for the V6 S and V8 S models and optional for the V6, an Active Exhaust system enhances the exhaust note. Electronically controlled bypass valves in the rear section of the exhaust open under hard acceleration, effectively providing a free-flowing straight-through arrangement. At cruising speeds, the valves will close, retaining a powerful exhaust note with comfortable sound levels.
Eight-speed 'Quickshift' Automatic Transmission
With eight closely spaced ratios in the Quickshift automatic transmission, the F-TYPE driver can select a gear which will keep the engine within its optimal power band. The transmission was specifically tuned by Jaguar for the F-type to prioritize acceleration. The V6 S model has a slightly lower (higher numerical) final drive ratio, 3.31:1 vs. 3.15:1 than the standard V6 model.
The entire drivetrain of the F-TYPE – up to and including tire contact patches – is tuned for optimal response to allow for ultra-fast transient torque delivery, which provides the driver with a high degree of responsive feedback. Importantly, once the transmission has shifted into second gear, a locking clutch bypasses the torque convertor, creating a direct mechanical link between the engine and the rear wheels. The Quickshift system enhances the sense of connectivity by ensuring sharp, immediate shifting performance via rapid and precisely timed engine torque intervention.
The operating parameters of the transmission are determined by the adaptive shift strategy that has 25 different programs available to it, depending on driving style and road conditions. The transmission can detect the manner in which the car is being driven by monitoring acceleration and braking, cornering forces, throttle and brake pedal activity, road load, kick-down request and even whether the car is being driven up or down hill. On detecting a more spirited driving style, the transmission will automatically make the shifts more aggressive and move the shift points higher.
In order to maintain the car's balance during a downshift, the transmission will instruct the engine management system to automatically blip the throttle to match engine revs. This function also allows the transmission to perform multiple and very rapid downshifts during hard braking. Corner Recognition senses when the F-TYPE is negotiating a curve, the transmission holding its ratio to ensure the correct gear for the exit. The transmission will also recognize when the car is performing a series of overtaking maneuvers requiring rapid changes in throttle position. Rather than upshift, the transmission will hold a lower gear to remain ready for the next demand for acceleration.
Manual override of the transmission is available to the driver at any time, using either the steering wheel-mounted paddles or the console-mounted selector. Moving the shift selector to the left gate accesses manual mode, in which the driver pulls the lever rearward for an upshift and pushes forward for a downshift. If Dynamic Mode is also selected on the Jaguar Drive Controller, the transmission will not automatically shift up at the engine's redline and will only downshift to prevent engine stalling, leaving control fully in the hands of the driver.
A Configurable Dynamics option is another first for a Jaguar. This allows the driver to select which elements of the Dynamic Mode are wanted so, for instance, the steering weight and throttle response can be sharpened while allowing the ride on models with Adaptive Dynamics to remain unchanged. Configurable Dynamics also adds functionality to the central touchscreen aimed at track use of the car. The system allows drivers to record lap and split times and will provide information on throttle and brake inputs and even G-forces generated. 1,2
Dynamic Launch Mode
The Jaguar F-TYPE S offers Dynamic Launch Mode for track-driving activities. When the car is stationary, the driver depresses the brake pedal while simultaneously building engine speed with the accelerator until a message reading 'Dynamic Launch Ready' appears in the instrument panel. That signals that the traction control has been set to help facilitate maximum acceleration. Releasing the brake while flooring the accelerator pedal keeps Dynamic Launch Mode engaged for maximum acceleration performance until the driver releases the pedal. 1,2
A mechanical limited-slip differential is fitted as standard to the F-TYPE S, which offers driver the opportunity to explore the car's superb balance and outer limits of its grip within a progressive handling envelope.
The V8 S model is fitted with an active electronic controlled differential to maximize traction and offer even greater control. Inside the differential, an electric motor acts on a multi-plate clutch to transfer torque to the wheel with the most grip. Fully automatic in operation, the system can apply full locking torque almost instantaneously. Working in conjunction with the stability, traction and ABS systems, it allows for very fine control of power delivery and always makes the most use of available grip.1
The three versions of the F-TYPE offer progressively more powerful braking systems, all with the high levels of pedal feedback required for accurate modulation. The Jaguar Performance system fitted to the 340hp F-TYPE has 13.9-inch (354mm) front and 12.8-inch (325mm) rear brake discs with silver painted calipers. The F-TYPE S uses the Jaguar High Performance system, gaining larger 15-inch (380mm) brake discs at the front.
The F-TYPE V8 S uses the Super High Performance system with the largest set of brake discs fitted as standard to a Jaguar production car, including the 15-inch (380mm) front and 14.8-inch (376mm) rear. All cars are fitted as standard with ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist.
Jaguar engineers used Computational Fluid Dynamics to optimize brake-cooling using directed cooling air. Cold air is channeled to the brake discs via the air intakes flanking the grille and by the use of aerodynamically shaped suspension components to direct airflow beneath the car.
The aluminum structure of the F-TYPE ensures the best possible connection for the driver to the road. Every response from the steering to the transmission shifting, throttle, brakes and suspension has been finely honed to be as connected, accurate and involving as possible.
"Fundamentally, a great sports car is one you'll look forward to driving because it's fun, and the F-TYPE definitely delivers on that score. We've worked hard to make sure that responses to steering, throttle and
brakes are absolutely immediate, a task made far easier by the rigid aluminum structure at the car's base. It's precise and exciting, a car that you'll want to drive for the sake of driving alone – and it sounds fantastic."
Mike Cross, Chief Engineer, Vehicle Integrity, Jaguar
Agility in the Jaguar F-TYPE begins with its dimensions, which give the car a planted, "wheels pushed to the corners" stance. The F-TYPE measures 176 inches (4,470mm) in length on a 103.2-in. (2,622 mm) wheelbase. The track is wider in rear than front, 64.1-in. (1,585mm) and 62.4-in. (1,627mm), respectively.
Short front and rear overhangs also help in concentrating the mass within the wheelbase, reducing the moment of inertia and making the car much more immediate to turn in. To fully exploit this trait, Jaguar engineers paid particular attention to optimizing front-to-rear weight distribution. To that end, both the battery and windshield washer fluid reservoir have been placed in the trunk, rather than under the hood.
To give the steering the greatest accuracy in response and feedback, the F-TYPE uses an alloy front sub frame and very stiff front knuckles, also in aluminum. This arrangement allowed the fitment of the quickest steering rack ever used on a modern Jaguar, giving the driver a very connected-to-the-road feeling.
Every Jaguar is engineered and tuned to achieve an excellent balance between ride comfort and handling. In the F-TYPE, that balance naturally tips in favor of involving, accessible handling while still maintaining excellent ride compliance. The Dynamic Mode enables the driver – at the push of a button – to emphasize the sporting character of the car by sharpening throttle response, increasing steering weighting, performing gear changes more quickly and higher up the rev range and by also raising the threshold for stability control intervention. Dynamic mode also prevents automatic upshifts when the gearbox is shifted into manual mode.1
Additionally, the F-TYPE S and V8 S models are fitted with the Jaguar Adaptive Dynamics suspension damping system that controls vertical body movement, roll and pitch rates. The system continuously monitors driver inputs and the attitude of the F-TYPE on the road, adjusting damper rates accordingly up to 500 times a second to optimize stability and agility. The Dynamic Mode in these models also provides firmer damper rates through the Adaptive Dynamics system. 1
"Jaguar has a unique legacy of sports cars so the global expectations for the F-TYPE are immense. Developing it was therefore not just a great privilege but also a huge challenge. A Jaguar sports car is more than speed in its absolute sense; it is about its agility and its reactions to driver inputs, those millisecond responses to create a connection with the vehicle. This pure and predictable level of response is what enables the driver to exploit the potential and capabilities of the car as well as their own. Amongst the many test locations we use is our dedicated development center at the Nürburgring Nordschleife – a circuit unique in the demands it places on a vehicle. As well as being a very high-speed test facility, it is also very demanding of the transmission, the chassis and the brakes, allowing us to really exploit and test those final few tenths of the F-TYPE's abilities. Asking questions of every element of the F-TYPE's performance attributes allowed us to hone them as a holistic, integrated package."
Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line Director
The F-TYPE asymmetric cabin layout reflects the sharp focus on the driver. The aim was to create an enveloping cockpit for the driver with all the controls placed naturally to hand and logically grouped, allowing maximum attention on the driving experience.
A grab handle sweeps down the center console on the passenger side, delineating it from the driver's position and wrapping around the center console. Different finishes in the driver and passenger areas are used, including a different grain on top of the instrument panel and center console than that found on the passenger side. In the S and V8 S models, the main control interfaces – the Engine Start button, steering wheel mounted gearshift paddles and Dynamic Mode toggle – are highlighted in an "Ignis" orange finish, similar to that used on the markings on professional divers' watches. The controls are ergonomically grouped by function, enabling the driver to more easily use them without diverting eyes from the road.
"We wanted the experience of sitting in the F-TYPE to be exciting. A sports car cockpit should be an intimate place and so we aimed to get a sense of the surfaces falling towards and then wrapping around the driver. What we've done is given it the essence and spirit of doing what you want to do rather than what's expected of you. The more processed this world becomes, the more important that is."
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar
A small-diameter three-spoke steering wheel will also be available in a flat-bottom design, as part of an optional Performance Pack. Numerals on the tachometer are larger and bolder than those on the speedometer, to enhance visibility when for shifting. A TFT LCD screen between the two dials provides further information for the driver.
Rotary dials control the heating and air conditioning for each side of the car. A display screen within the two dials indicates temperature and mode. The controls are dual-purpose: in cars fitted with heated seats, pushing the left or right hand dial controls temperature for that seat. A row of toggle switches below the dials control additional climate functions, their design echoing classic Jaguar sports cars. The air vents on top of the dashboard are hidden, and will deploy by rising out of the dashboard only when instructed to by either the driver or climate control system, staying tucked discreetly out of sight in other circumstances.
Switches are finished in soft-feel matte black with white markings for maximum legibility, and the highlight accents are deliberately understated satin chrome and dark aluminum. The two S models feature darker finishes than in the standard V6 F-TYPE.
Sports seats feature power recline and height adjustment with manual control of fore/aft movement, a nod to weight reduction. Available Performance seats can be ordered with additional side bolstering for greater support during high-force cornering. Both seat types can also be optioned with full power adjustment, including adjustable lumbar and side support. The car's driving position is 20mm lower than in the Jaguar XKR-S, lowering the center of gravity and allowing the driver to feel more connected to the car.
The F-TYPE is available with two audio systems from premium British audio experts Meridian™. These offer either 10 or 12 speakers with outputs of 380 watts and 770 watts, respectively. The Meridian™ systems benefit from the company's experience in digital signal processing to create life-like audio reproduction. The top of the range offering also features the Meridian™ Trifield System, which places both occupants at the center of their own perfectly focused surround sound field.