Jaguar's presence at the LA Auto Show 2013 was hard to ignore. Not too long ago the world was presented with the first true sports car from the automaker in 50 years, the F-Type Convertible. Now we have been witness to yet another incredible achievement from the leaping cat manufacturer; the F-Type Coupe. According to Ian Callum, Jaguar Designer, the Coupe is the car's purest form. We could not agree more. With stunning good looks, lightweight optimization and a new high-performance variant (the R model), this F-Type Coupe is worth your full attention.
Tim Philippo, Jaguar Sports Cars Product Manager, spoke with us about the new Coupe. "What the Coupe really represents for us is that it more than doubles the market potential of the F-Type. We launched in California because California is the largest sports car market in the world, so to have the global launch here in LA was a pretty big deal. There are actually more Coupe sports cars sold than Convertibles, even though California is a convertible market."
And while much of the specs and features are already known, we wanted to know how much coin one of these cats would cost. According to Philippo, "If you compare the comparable V6 models between Coupe and Convertible, the Coupe is $4000 less expensive than it's facing Convertible. The base F-Type Coupe is $65000, the base F-Type Convertible is $69000, the F-Type S Coupe is $77000 and the F-Type S convertible is $81000. But then you go to the V8 S on the Convertible or the Coupe R with more power and standard equipment so there the F-Type Coupe is $99000 where the V8 S Convertible is $92000."
But when will we see a manual transmission in the F-Type? Philippo replied, "We unfortunately cannot talk about future products but we have heard the message loud and clear from enthusiasts and journalists that think this would be the right car to have a stick in."
Let's hope that that loud message translates into a wonderful sports car manual transmission. Wouldn't you want the option of switching your own gears in the all-new F-Type Coupe R, with an available 550hp?
With plenty of buzz and interest following the debut of the new Coupe, Jaguar held a party Thursday night, November 21, at the LA Convention Center to further celebrate the new arrival from Jaguar. Food and drink was in unlimited supply and cars were strategically displayed urging curious attendees to find out what the new Coupe is all about. The Jaguar C-X17 SUV Concept was also there and added to the list of unforgettable looking automobiles.
There, we spoke with Jaguar Designer Wayne Burgess on the design process behind the all-new F-Type Coupe.
Explain the design process of the F-Type.
WB: "It is a very simple artistic process where every car here at Jaguar starts as a sketch. We then review the walls of sketches placed up on boards, selecting the ideas that we want to develop. We will then make very rough little models on software before looking at those models and going to full-sized clay models. We then spend literally a year or so sculpting and working and honing the clay model until we have achieved what we hope can serve as perfection. We then scan the car and bring it back into the digital world and create a whole surface for the exterior and interior of the vehicle and from there we begin to work with the actual production car. That whole process is about 3.5 to 4 years."
Between the Coupe and Convertible, were there challenges for one model in particular or was one conceived before the other?
WB: The Convertible was designed first, that was a conscious effort. From a structural integrity point of view it is much better to design the Convertible first to get the torsion and stiffness into the car and also to make sure that the deck is as low as possible. And then the Coupe is an easy job, as you can see the Convertible and Coupe are very similar and that's because we knew exactly what we were doing. If we designed the Coupe first, when it comes to designing the Convertible you don't know how it's going to look or where the deck lid is going to sit and you have to do a lot of reengineering to make the torsion and stiffness work in the car, so absolutely design the Convertible first and then the Coupe."
What is the weight difference between the two?
WB: "20 kilos (44 lb). The coupe is 20 kilos (44 lb) lighter."
We then caught back up with Tim Philippo, Jaguar Sports Cars Product Manager, for a few more F-Type questions. Additional interview questions found below
What is the goal of this model for the brand?
TP: "As you know we introduced the convertible first. You want to have a cadence of products; you don't want to come out with everything all at once. You want to give people a reason to keep coming back, keep the press interested and get people interested about test drives. So a lot of people ask why there was no Coupe at launch, why was there no R at launch, you just want to wait. You can see the sense of excitement people have for the F-Type Coupe, it is doing absolutely outstanding. For most other markets around the world, Coupes are going to be a large percentage of volume. It has significantly more luggage space than the Convertible, the Convertible has 7 cubic ft and this has 11 cubic ft. It appeals to those who want to take it out to the track or to the golf course or even use it as a daily driver. It's simultaneously more sporting and more practical."
What are the biggest technological features used in this car?
TP: "It's the next generation of our active differential, which is a multi-plate cutch with an electric motor that can go from fully open or fully locked differential in about 300 milliseconds. It can be fully open where you are driving at low speed, and by being open you avoid that stutter of the differential trying to lock up in low speed situations such as with a 4-wheel drive car. It's a predictive system rather than a reactive system so mechanics in the differential reacts to a difference in wheel speeds.
But really the biggest piece of technology on this car is it being made out of aluminum. The body, suspension, and engine are all made out of aluminum. It allows the car to be lighter and stiffer. We actually had to develop new aluminum alloys for the F-Type because we have new techniques for pressing the aluminum and new alloys for the aluminum itself to be able to accept and hold these shapes in press. The hood is one solid piece of aluminum, and the pressing that makes up the side of the car that goes around the door and that fender piece is one of the largest pieces of pressed aluminum in the industry."
Anything else you would like me to know about the car?
TP: "It's really about completing the heritage. The C-Type, D-Type, E-Type and now this. We say that we couldn't just call it F-Type; we had to make it F-Type. We couldn't just slap a badge on it; we actually had to make it worthy. It was not called the F-Type in the beginning; it had no name for a while. There is nothing else quite like it."