Taking inspiration from the iconic E-Type of the 1960s, the new F-Type aims at reinterpreting the same core values in a modern way.
The front-engine, rear-wheel drive sportscar is based on a lightweight aluminum architecture and has a soft-top which can fold in 12 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph. It serves as its own tonneau cover and features a multi-layer construction with a Thinsulate lining.
The design uses the company’s trademark proportions and language, with clean, well balanced surfaces – especially in the side and rear views.
The profile is characterized by the semi-sharp feature line – dubbed “heartline” that defines the hood and reprises at the back giving form the the rear shoulder.
The rear end is quite distinctive and features slim bob-tailed tail-lights and a protruding bumper.
The front end is more aggressive, with a large grille, air intakes and hood crease lines that add to the sporty character of the car.
Overall, the design is strongly inspired by the C-X16 Concept revealed at Frankfurt in 2011.
The market launch is expected for summer 2013. 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.
All engines are couple with a limited-slip differential and an eight-speed ‘Quickshift’ automatic transmission, with a center console-mounted SportShift gear selector and steering wheel-mounted paddles for full manual control.
The 0-to-60 sprint takes 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 mph (300 km/h).
Below we report all the design details from the official press release.
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.
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.
Ian Callum, Director of Design, explains: “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.”
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.
Ian Callum adds: “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.”
Aluminum Body and Structure
For the construction of the aluminum riveted and bonded body structure Jaguar developed a new specific aluminum alloys from the 6000-series: the AC300 and the AC600 aluminum panel alloy, with a high degree of formability which allowed to achieve clarity and tightness of radii and feature lines – for instance, the radius tightness of just 8mm allowed to reproduce the car’s “heartlines” exactly as the designers had intended.
The 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.
Mark White, Chief Engineer, Body Complete, explains: “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.”
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.
Ian Callum comments: “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.”
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.