It was a poorly kept secret at the time (the vehicle was officially referred to as a "production concept"), but technically Jaguar hadn't fully confirmed its C-X16 sports coupe concept was destined for production when the car broke cover at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. That said, it's now completely squared away: Jaguar revealed today that the C-X16 sports coupe will formally launch in mid-2013 as the new F-Type coupe.
Jaguar brand director Adrian Hallmark, who casually brushed aside questions of the C-X16's production timing at the Los Angeles auto show, said in a prepared release that reaction to the C-X16 was "so positive, that we've accelerated our development of an all-new Jaguar sports car." Hallmark's statement goes on to say the F-Type represents the desire of the Jaguar team to produce a Jaguar for "a market segment that we have been absent from for too long."
If anything, the latter point is an understatement. Jaguar first toyed with the notion of a smaller, sub-XJ sports car in 2000, when it showed the original F-Type concept at the 2000 Detroit auto show. Public reaction was strong enough to lead Jaguar to pursue a production version, which it formally announced in late 2001 -- but the flirtation was fleeting, at best. Had those plans come to fruition, the F-Type concept, which had evolved into a mid-engine design, would have reached production in time for the 2004 model year. Fiscal concerns led Jaguar's then-owner -- the Ford Motor Company -- to shelve development. The idea of a Jaguar sports car that fit in just beneath the XK model were reborn years later, after Ford sold the brand to present owner Tata Motors in 2008.
Today's new F-Type is a completely different beast. Details on the production-spec vehicle are presently sparse, but Jaguar says the car "benefits from Jaguar's leading expertise in aluminum vehicle construction." Previous reports suggested the XE/ F-Type would utilize the modular, aluminum-intensive platform that will be shared with a number of new Jaguar models, including the next-generation XF. If the F-Type remains true to the C-X16 concept, expect it to be both svelte and lithe: the show car was only 175 inches long, 81 inches wide, and allegedly weighed around 3500 pounds.
The show car also boasted a hybrid driveline that paired a 374-hp, supercharged, direct-injection, 3.0-liter V-6 with a 94-hp electric motor. Jaguar hasn't revealed any firm details on the F-Type's power options, noting only it will offer a range of engines, including a new powerplant family (perhaps that supercharged, all-aluminum V-6) -- and that "all will deliver stunning sports car performance." In a previous interview, Hallmark admitted the C-X16 -- "if" it were to enter production -- would likely launch with more conventional driveline options, allowing the hybrid variant to be phased in at a later date.
Although Hallmark told us in November there was much engineering work left to do to advance the C-X16 towards production, Jaguar's apparently been working overtime to expedite the F-Type's development. Jaguar now says the program is entering its last chapter, with prototypes entering their final stages of road testing. Should all go according to plan, F-Type production -- which will take place within Jaguar's existing plant in Castle Bromwich, England -- will commence in mid-2013. Pricing is still far from finalized, but officials had previously suggested a non-hybrid F-Type could ring in between a Porsche Cayman R ($66,000) and a 911 ($82,000).
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