► What's next for Jag F-type?
► We spill beans on 2020 sportster
► BMW power replaces old V8
It may not seem six years old, but the Jaguar F-type has been around since 2013 - and hence work on its replacement is well underway. Our spies have caught the thoroughly overhauled new F-type on test, spilling some design secrets under that all-encompassing wrap.
Spotted in the west Midlands near Jaguar's engineering bases, this prototype is the first proof we've seen of the new sports car ahead of its expected world debut in 2020. This is not an all-new model, instead expected to take the aluminium structure of today's car and evolve it for service well into the next decade.
That means a series of technical upgrades, to make the F-type cleaner, more economical and easier to produce - as well as a refreshed wardrobe and a sprinkling of the latest gadgets including more sophisticated self-driving tech.
CAR magazine's artist's impression below shows the direction that Jag is taking its sports car for the next generation. Thin, horizontal headlamps are ushered in, replacing the more vertical arrangements today, helping to give the F a fresh, more modern face. But as the prototypes show, this is still recognisably an F-type, given a 911-style evolutionary polish.
We expect both bodystyles to continue: the coupe (pictured above) and a soft-top roadster will again be offered, as Jag mops up sales in different parts of the world. Sports car sales globally have been in decline for many years, but bosses back in Coventry argue that halo effect of such a sports car outweight the financial cost of developing such a niche proposition.
Jaguar F-type design - and the impact of the E-type
CAR magazine caught up with Wayne Burgess, one of Ian Callum’s senior design team who worked on the current F-type, before he was poached by Geely in spring 2019. ‘When we did the first F-type, we had to look at the E-type,’ he told us. ‘Everyone would expect some acknowledgement in Jag’s two-seat sports car. We picked our favourite bits: the tapered tail, the horizontal tail lamps, the car is very directly inspired. The front had to be much more modern though - if we’d done the oval mouth, an E-type front end, it would have been a retro pastiche.’
When asked if the next F-type would have to look back to the E-type, he said it would be more modern and progressive. ‘I think for F-type next time, we’d say what is good about it today, which elements are worth developing, as future graphics and future design language. I don’t think we’d go back to E-type again, you’d walk forward from F-type.’
CAR tests the Jaguar F-type four-cylinder coupe
New 2020 Jaguar F-type: target 911
In the biggest clue that Jaguar is gunning even closer to Porsche 911 territory is the move to make the next F-type a 2+2. Today's rather cramped model is a strict two-seater, but Jag is believed to be shoehorning in (very) occasional rear seats to the next generation.
Our latest spy photos capture what looks like a two-seater, so we anticipate the 2+2 will be a separate project. We will be looking out for cut 'n' shut prototypes and mules in the coming months.
This has the benefit of extending the F's practicality - and arguably moving the price point 911-wards, away from the cheaper Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster twins. The outgoing F has been positioned deliberately halfway between the two Porsches.
Engineering, BMW engines and electric options
The new architecture underpinning the next Jaguar F-type is no longer called PLA-D6a, according to our sources, who dub it the D7b evolution. It will stick with the aluminium-intensive architecture made in Castle Bromwich - and this one will be even lighter, according to our moles in the supply chain.
So-called Project Jennifer is the codename for the BMW-supplied 4.4-litre 560bhp twin-turbo V8, which is due to kick out the long-running supercharged 5.0-litre V8 originally patented by Ford.
The notably more economical new engine will eventually also find its way into the high-end Range Rovers and Jaguars. Four-cylinder models will again be offered, using JLR's inhouse Ingenium models.
The new 2020 F-type will remain a front-engined sports car; recent speculation it could go mid-engined refers to a possible additional model, not the F-type successor.
There is even talk of a purely electric Jaguar F-type featuring a 100kWh energy cell and two e-motors rated at 150kW/350Nm each. An electric F-type wouldn't launch before 2023 - and this powertrain is still up in the air, given that battery tech is moving apace.
More Jaguar spyshots and scoops by CAR magazine