Starting this summer, the spiritual successor to the famed Jaguar E-Type, a car Enzo Ferrari called "the most beautiful car ever made," is coming to the U.S. And while Jaguar is billing its all-new 2014 Jaguar F-Type as its first true sports car since the E, Jaguar lead designer Ian Callum and other Jag officials have made it clear that the new F also carries on the linage of the British brand's legendary C and D machines as well. Although there are some obvious styling cues taken from the E, the thoroughly modern F-Type is very much its own cat.
First unveiled to the world at last year's Paris auto show, the new F-Type has started to make the rounds to various dealers in the U.S. for potential customers to drool over. I had a chance to get up close and personal with the car at a recent Galpin Motors event in Van Nuys, California, along with some 1,000 potential customers.
Stuart McIntosh, Galpin's Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Lotus sales manager said the interest level in the F-Type is "extremely high. We have actually had people hold off buying a two-seat sports car waiting for this car to come along." McIntosh mentioned that people looking to buy an XK or XKR see this car as "a lot more attractive both in terms of appearance, drive-ability and the price-point." So far, the press has been limited to shotgun rides in the F-Type, but McIntosh mentioned a drive day for employees at the new Circuit of the Americas in Texas is in the offing. Maybe I could be a salesperson for the day?
From literally the moment the F-Type was unveiled, purists have been asking two main questions: where's the manual, and when will we see the coupe? McIntosh has been hearing the same. The coupe is a done deal (we should see it about a year after the roadster), but the manual is still an unknown, hopefully it's in the cards as well. Presently, the F-Type's only transmission is an eight-speed automatic and it comes in three versions: F-Type V6 Supercharged 3.0 liter 340hp, F-Type V6 S 3.0 liter 380hp, and the F-Type V8 S 5.0 liter 495hp.
So what do potential customers think about the new F-Type? Juan Bravo said he likes "the sportiness of it, the performance aspects, and brand reputation." Marshall Hilliard had a slightly different take: "a lot of great safety features in the brand. I've had first-hand experience, previously owning a Jaguar for ten years problem free." Although Bravo and Hilliard had opposite ideas of what makes this car worth purchasing, both of them were in agreement on one thing -- this new Jag has both style and performance in spades.
Listen to the F-Type's engine roar: