Jaguar moves forward with the F-TYPE Coupé and explores high-performance AWD R-S version

Good news for those of us ‘not’ in the market for a convertible – Jaguar has confirmed the next F-TYPE variant will be a coupé, which is hardly surprising given this was the format of the C-X16, first shown at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The company’s Global Brand Director, Adrian Hallmark, said they will broaden the appeal of its new sports car and have been considering a coupé, ultra-high-performance R-S version, manuals, diesels and hybrids, small-capacity engines and even four-wheel drive. “Let’s put it this way: everything you could imagine, we have imagined too,” said Hallmark.

It fits with Jaguar’s plan to make the F-TYPE a true rival to the Porsche 911, which means the F-TYPE will need to become lighter, faster and even more focused.

“The reason we did the cabriolet first is that it is the most complicated and provided us with the biggest challenges,” says Hallmark. “At this level the market for coupés and cabriolets is split roughly 50:50, but cabriolets command a price premium in return for being harder to engineer. Now all the hard work is done. The foundations are there.”

Jaguar-F-TYPE-Coupe_G2The Jaguar C-X16, revealed at the 2011 Frankfurt show, will become the F-TYPE coupé.Jaguar-F-TYPE-Coupe_G1

While the F-TYPE is capable of accommodating all-wheel-drive, it would not be technically feasible with the 490bhp V8 engine, therefore any R-S version is likely to a variant of the V6.

“The restricting factor with any all-wheel-drive car,” says Hallmark, “is the shape and size of the engine and whether it is possible to add the additional components needed to take drive to the front wheels.”

Hybrids and diesels are possible, but not a priority for the F-TYPE. The Hybrid powertrain developed for the new Range Rover would add 400kg to the F-TYPE and take up all of its boot space, which makes the C-X16 Hybrid, as revealed in 2011, a flight of fantasy.

In the C-X16, Jaguar fitted a 375bhp V6 engine supplemented by an electric motor producing 94bhp and 173 lb-ft (235 Nm) of torque. The combined 469bhp and 505 lb-ft (685Nm) propelled the C-X16 from 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds, delivered in-gear thrust of 50-75 mph in 2.1 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph. All this and CO2 emissions of 165 g/km.

All-wheel drive is on the cards, especially for higher powered R and R-S versions. “The 490bhp of the range-topping F-TYPE V8 S is the limit of two-wheel drive in a controllable way,” says Hallmark.

Despite the heady demand for Jaguar’s new sports car, the F-TYPE will remain a low-volume model. More than 80,000 people have registered interest with a quarter of these requesting a test drive – that’s a similar pattern of demand which Land Rover experienced with the Evoque, with huge interest in both the United States and UK.

Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham (which also produces the XK), has a theoretical capacity of 15,000 units per annum, but the F-TYPE’s sales limitation stems from the complex manufacturing process involved in creating its vast clamshell bonnet, which needs to be pressed three times to achieve the sharp creases at its outer edges.

The F-TYPE is the lowest, widest and shortest Jaguar ever – built almost entirely of aluminium – and Jaguar has plans for many different versions starting with the coupé.

Sources: interview quotes courtesy of headlineauto.