Porsche's heart lives in the rear end of the 911. The heart of Mercedes-Benz resides more in the brand values of the Three-Pointed Star than any one model. Mini is defined by petite packages wrapped in giant amounts of sass. Since the end of the Series III XJ in 1992, however, what has represented the unique and irreducible definition of Jaguar?

We're certain Jaguar is happy that the above question is moot, thanks to the arrival of the F-Type at the Paris Motor Show. Jaguar brand manager Adrian Hallmark tells Autocar that the $69,875 convertible is "the core of our range, and from now on it is our orientation point" – it is the E-Type for our times, and will lead the way for Jaguars to come. We don't know fully what that means yet; until we drive it, it isn't clear if the champagne and confetti party of the F-Type's introduction will end in afterglow or hangover. Nevertheless, there is at least a direction now, which is a major waypoint.

It will start with – surprise, surprise – a small sedan and a utility vehicle. We've heard for ages that a BMW 3 Series rival had been dancing across drawing boards, and after years of equivocation, it looks like an SUV/CUV may have finally been acceded to. Hallmark tells Autocar that "Whatever we do will be driven by the three pillars of our brand: innovation, design and performance leadership," by which he presumably means "driven by the huge sales opportunities and cha-ching!" We don't blame him; the market segment is hurtling in that direction and leaving all those pounds on the table would be something the old Jaguar would do. Obviously, those days are over. All hail the F-Type.