Jaguar Isn't Giving Up on Sports Cars, But Don't Expect the Purity to Last

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
jaguar isn t giving up on sports cars but don t expect the purity to last

Think of the words “Jaguar” and “sports car” and the mind instantly conjures up images of the flowing XK120 and E-Type roadsters of yesteryear, each sporting a properly British straight-six engine under a kilometer-long hood. Okay, okay — the final E-Type variant doubled the cylinder count, but you get the idea.

The tradition of open-top two-seaters continues to this day with the F-Type, albeit with a much more diverse array of engine offerings. As the tech press talks up a future of autonomous people pods, and as crossovers threaten to overwhelm every longstanding brand, Jaguar wants automotive puritans to fear not: the Jaguar sports car isn’t going anywhere.

But that doesn’t mean it won’t change with the times.

Speaking at an event in Detroit last week, Jaguar design boss Ian Callum told Automotive News that the F-Type won’t be the last of the brand’s two-door sports car lineage. It’s just the latest.

“We are going to do another range of sports cars eventually,” said Callum. “[Sports cars] are not going to go away.”

Journos hailed the F-Type’s debut in early 2013 as a return to form for the brand, with the model coming on the heels — and borrowing a modified platform — of the four-seat XK series. Available in droptop and coupe variants, the F-Type offers powerplants ranging from fast enough to wild.

Still, great looks and thrilling handling dynamics aren’t a surefire indicator of sales. The F-Type, along with all other passenger cars, sport or otherwise, faces an existential threat from utility vehicles, driverless technology, and environmental regulators. There’s also healthy competition from within the segment. As well, some would-be buyers might see more practicality in a hotter F-Pace SUV.

“SUVs can get around a corner as quick as a sports car can, technology being what it is,” said Callum. “But there is something very emotional about a sports car that conveys the ultimate in the sense of performance and design.”

Hoping to sweeten the pot, Jaguar dropped a 296-horsepower turbocharged four into the base F-Type for 2018, allowing for a pre-delivery MSRP below the $60,000 threshold. Buyers can still opt for a supercharged V6 or V8, with 575 hp on tap for those willing to drop $122,000. However, after a healthy start to the year, the last two months have seen year-over-year U.S. sales drops, with July being the lowest showing since April of 2014. The 2015 model year was the F-Type’s best, with 4,629 units sold.

As there’s no successor in sight, Jaguar will do what it can to keep the F-Type fresh. Callum won’t say when we’ll see a new sports model, though Jaguar Land Rover’s North American CEO, Joe Eberhardt, confirmed to AN that the successor won’t rely solely on gasoline for propulsion. As the automaker switches to electrified powertrains starting in 2020, any sports car will share the same mold.

[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]

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  • Stingray65 Stingray65 on Sep 25, 2017

    4,000 to 5,000 US sales annually isn't bad, because I expect Jaguar sells at least that many again in other markets around the world. In comparison, global sales of the E-Type was just over 70,000 units over 14 years, or about 5,000 annually, but probably 80% of those went to the US.

  • Sitting@home Sitting@home on Sep 25, 2017

    "straight-six engine under a kilometer-long hood" That would be a mile-long bonnet dear chap. We'll have none of this garlic chomping measurement system or ex-colony language phrases used to describe our beautiful ladies :-)

  • Svenmeier Speedometer display in the center console screen? Why? This is a dealbreaker for me.
  • Alan I do believe that traffic infringements penalties based on income will affect those who are financial able to flout safety regulations.When I drive above the posted speed limit I assess my situation using probability. If I'm confronted with a situation where time is of more value to me than speed I will speed if I assess the probability of a fine to be quite low. I can afford the fine, what I can't afford is the loss of points on my drivers licence.In Australia (12 points in QLD and all States have a point system) we have a points system attached to your drivers licence. An open drivers licence is granted 12 points every 3 years. So, if you receive an infringement for exceeding the speed limit it takes 3 years for the points to be removed. I generally get caught once every 2 years.I think a points system would be a fairer system over a system based on income. Its about retaining your licence and safety, not financial gain by the government.As you can see below it wouldn't take long for many US drivers to lose their drivers licence.[h2]Current penalties for individuals caught speeding[/h2]InfringementPenalty amountDemerit pointsLess than 11km/h over the speed limit$287. 1 pointAt least 11km/h but not more than 20km/h over the speed limit$431. 3 pointsMore than 20km/h but not more than 30km/h over the speed limit$646. 4 pointsMore than 30km/h but not more than 40km/h over the speed limit$1,078. 6 pointsMore than 40km/h over the speed limit$1,653. 8 points and 6 month suspension
  • Wjtinfwb Instead of raising fines, why don't the authorities enforce the laws and write tickets, and have judges enforce the penalty or sentence of a crime. I live across the street from an Elementary School on a 4-lane divided state highway. every morning the cop sits in his car and when someone sails through the School Zone well above the 10 mph limit, he merely hits his siren to get their attention but that's it. I've never, in 5 years, seen them get out of the car and actually stop and driver and confront them about speeding. As a result, no one pays attention and when the School Zone light is not lit, traffic flies by at 50-60 mph in the 45 zone. Almost no enforcement occurs until the inevitable crash, last year some zoned out girl rolled her beater Elantra 3 times. On a dry, straight, 4 lane road with a 45 mph limit. I'm no Angel and have a heavy foot myself. I've received my share of speeding tickets, lots of them when younger. Traffic enforcement in most locales has become a joke these days, jacking prices because someone has a higher income in as asinine as our stupid tax policy and non-existent immigration enforcement.
  • Jeff S If AM went away I would listen to FM but since it is insignificant in the cost to the car and in an emergency broadcast it is good to have. I agree with some of the others its another way to collect money with a subscription. AM is most likely to go away in the future but I will use AM as long as its around.
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