29 Oct 2012

Hopes & Fears: The Jaguar F-Type

So, the long awaited F-type is nearly here. After decades of speculation and red-herring concepts the most important Jag for nearly 40 years will be on sale very soon. And this troubles me. In fact I woke up this morning thinking about it. Don’t misunderstand me, I love the Jaguar marque and everything it stands for. I’ve personally owned an XJS and an XK, and the current XKR-S is a thing of wonder that I desperately long for. However, I can’t help but think that Jaguar are being exceptionally brave with this forthcoming addition to the range and I pray that it doesn’t diminish their recent return to favour.

The whole idea of an ’F-Type’ is a carrot that has been dangled in front of us for a very long time. Ever since the ‘Oh, is that it?’ response from the general public and motoring press alike at the unveiling of the XJS in 1975, we as a collective have been begging Jaguar to make a proper successor to the E-Type. We have been teased and taunted with assorted concepts, sketches and rumours which have kept the dream alive that one day, maybe, just maybe Jaguar might finally build the F-Type of our dreams. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s some pretty high expectations to live up to. Not only has the car got to compete with its peers, but also with our own fantasies of what we think it should be. Anything short of absolute perfection is going to be a disastrous let down.
Jaguar F-Type

Certainly the styling is on the money, I don’t dispute that. It is simply stunning. Design boss Ian Callum has previously said that not only has he been waiting 50 years to make this car, but that the E-Type legacy was also a ‘cloud over his head’. With that in mind, I’m sure all the chiefs at JLR are bracing themselves for the obvious comparisons regardless of whether they deem them to be justified. But, no matter how much they preach that this is a Jag for the modern age; boasting lightweight agility at the forefront of its rap sheet, the people want one thing and one thing only; an E-Type for our generation.

The first hurdle that the ‘F’ has to leap is that of the Boxster & Cayman (and to a degree the 911). I drove a new Cayman S last year and aside from the fact that nobody would let me out of any junctions, I found it to be one of the most rewarding cars I had ever driven. So that in itself is a serious accolade to contend with. But we don’t just want a Porsche beater, do we? No, we want something that will out handle and perform anything that Germany has to offer in this class, whilst still retaining that classic intangible Jag experience. Oh, and we’d like it all for under 60 grand please. Can it really be done? Well, we will have to wait and see, but I just hope that they have made the right decision not only in building this car, but in giving it ‘that’ name. If they had chosen to call it something else, then much of this E-Type nonsense could’ve probably been avoided.

Like with anything in life that you are looking forward to, the build-up, hype and expectation is often better than the actual event itself. My main concern is that the F-Type could turn out to be the equivalent of the anti-climax that is Christmas day and New-Years eve all rolled into one. At least if they held off building it, we would still have something to look forward to. But now that it is definitely coming, I’m very nervous indeed. Don’t forget that the first still born F-Type later went on to become the Aston Martin DB7. It was a beautiful thing sure, but it was still a car not without its foibles. Soon we will know for sure if they have hit the jackpot this time, but until then the world expects. Don’t let us down Jag. We’re depending on you.

Article by Chris Small