PARIS – British sports car maker Jaguar is deadly serious about moving from being a niche manufacturer to a company that can one day challenge German hegemony in the luxury sector.
It not only hired the grounds of the famous Musee Rodin in central Paris to launch its new F-Type roadster. But it also flew in American singer songwriter Lana del Rey to entertain the media with a couple of numbers.
The new F-Type roadster will be formerly unveiled at the Paris Auto Show tomorrow, and will go on sale across the world next year. A hard top version is likely to follow.
Jaguar, which used to be owned by Ford and is now controlled by the Indian Tata Group as part of Jaguar Land Rover, said the new F-Type is a direct descendent of the iconic E-Type. Jaguar paraded the E-Type in front of the Musee Rodin, as well as the D-type racer and classic XK120 and XK140 sports cars.
The new F-Type is an all-aluminum, convertible sports car. Buyers can choose from two V6 3.0 liter supercharged gasoline engines of either 340 or 380 hp, or the top of the range 5.0 liter supercharged V8 producing just under 500 hp. The faster model will reach 60 mph from rest in 4.2 seconds and could reach 186 mph. There is an eight speed automatic gearbox. Power is delivered through the rear wheels.
Prices in the U.S. are likely to start north of $75,000.
At the press conference, Jaguar spent some time talking about the effort that went into designing the car, but from the front it does look a lot like an Italian Maserati.
Jaguar failed to make much of a dent in its previous battles with Germans like BMW, Mercedes and Audi. Its attempt to match the BMW 3 Series with its little X-type sedan crashed and burned.
But with new ownership from India the new F-Type is likely to make potential buyers of small Porsche sports car think twice. At the presentation Jaguar said the F-Type is the first step in its five to 10 year plan to mount a serious new assault on the German leaders.