No sooner has Jaguar whisked the covers off the C-X16 concept car at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show, then the engineers in Gaydon are stepping up a gear on the F-type road car project.
Our spies have caught this new F-type prototype on test in the Midlands, with an interesting exhaust mystery. The bottom left spy photo reveals dummy pipes on two different mules, which may point to a central-exit exhaust; or will Jaguar stick with the C-X16 concept car's more trad pipe-at-either-side design? We're not sure yet.
Click here for news of how the C-X16 will turn into the new F-type sports car.
Jaguar F-type: the background
The concept car is called 'a production concept' by Jaguar types - and we'll see this new junior 911 rival in a year's time, before sales start in early 2013.
It's a two-seat coupe, but we know a soft-top will be available too. The Jaguar top brass we interviewed at Frankfurt confirmed the new Jag sports car would be as quick as a 911 but priced between the Cayman and 911. Call it £55,000, stretching up to around £75,000.
The F-type is a little shorter and wider than a 997, and is set to muster V6 power.
Will the F-type be hybrid?
The C-X16 uses a 375bhp supercharged V6 with a KERS-style electric motor for power boosts. Jaguar quotes a 0-62mph time of 4.4sec.
Of course, most roadgoing F-type versions will stick with conventional power. That points to a 3.0-litre V6 petrol, although CAR sources suggest a diesel is very likely. Using the V6 TD from the XF and XJ ranges would allow Jaguar to increase volumes dramatically, as well as lowering the CO2 emissions of this important new model.
But Jaguar Land Rover will launch its first hybrids in 2013, and the F-type project is being engineered with hybrid capability.
The show car weighed 1600kg, using Jag's aluminium expertise. Its concept hybrid system added an electric motor for 10 second bursts of 173lb ft E-power. Perfect for overtaking that pesky Cayman that's dawdling in front of you.