A legend is returning! In one of the most dramatic comebacks in British motoring history, Auto Express has learned that Jaguar is set to resurrect the best-loved machine in its stable – the E-Type.
In a bid to take on the Porsche 911 and Aston Martin V8 Vantage, the Coventry manufacturer is planning a sensational two-seater sports car. It will revive the spirit of the original Sixties coupé and introduce the Jaguar brand to a whole new range of buyers.
Hot on the heels of the XF – which is driven in the UK for the first time on Page 8 – and the forthcoming new XJ saloon, which we told you all about in Issue 987, the 21st Century E-Type should arrive in show-rooms in 2011. The sale of the firm is likely to be completed within the next couple of weeks, and giving the green light to the sports car is one of the first major decisions faced by Jaguar’s expected new owner, Indian giant Tata. The big cat’s chairman Geoff Polites has confirmed that the company is looking at a number of options for future models, including the two-seater sports car.
From the C-Type of the Fifties to the legendary E-Type, Jaguar has a history of making great sporting machines, and our illustration shows how the newcomer might look. Mixing the marque’s brand new grille and headlight arrangement with a muscular coupé body, it is simply stunning. Senior bosses believe that a two-seater would be a better bet than replacing the current X-Type saloon. The X-Type has always struggled to compete with rivals such as the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4, but a pure sports car is seen as fitting
in perfectly with Jaguar’s new niche line-up led by the XK Coupé and XF.
The big cat came very close to putting a sports car into production back in 2000. That model was based on the F-Type concept, a vehicle which won rave reviews when it was unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show.
Design chief Ian Callum developed a machine based on the study, but Ford bosses in America opted instead to invest in both the X-Type and diesel power. The F-Type was targeted directly at the Porsche Boxster, yet the latest model is aiming even higher. Designers and engineers are now working on a sports car that would be seen as a direct rival to the German company’s 911. It would be based on a shortened version of the XJ’s all-aluminium chassis, making it lightweight with Porsche-matching performance and handling.
A decision on the car’s name is some way off, but it will be aimed at real sports car enthusiasts, leaving the current XK Coupé and convertible to cater for owners wanting a more luxurious Grand Tourer.
Power will come from the firm’s V8 engines, with a 4.2-litre unit for the entry-level model which will give scope for a 500bhp 5.0 supercharged flagship. All motors will be hooked up to Jaguar’s six-speed automatic gearbox, and come complete with steering wheel-mounted paddleshifters, while the suspension will feature special Audi-style magnetic dampers.
However, the company’s priority for the next few years is the stunning new XJ saloon. Polites has told designers to “let your creative juices run free” and tells us that the result is simply the “best car I have ever seen”. Evolving the look of the XF, it will feature an even more rakish shape, and will be powered by a range of revised engines, including the company’s first hybrid.
With a two-seater sports car giving an added dimension to the line-up and underlining the firm’s recent revival with the sexy XK Coupé and XF saloon, the future looks extremely bright for the big cat.