It may not seem six years old, but the Jaguar F-type has been around since 2013 – and hence work on its replacement is well underway. After spotting the coupe just a few weeks ago, and the convertible in a car park soon after, we’ve now snapped both variants high-speed testing at the Nurburgring test track in Germany.
Although both cars feature the same amount of camo as before, these new spyshots mean we’re able to make out a little more of the styling. The new car looks to move away from the E-type lines the current car riffs on; the grille is larger, the headlights slimmer and sharper – while the rear lights look svelte and squared-off, too.
Both models we caught testing at the Nordschleife were V8-engined, and featured JLR’s quad-pipe layout. These are the range-toppers; remember that many/most F-types will in fact feature four- or six-cylinder power.
Judged on the evidence of these prototypes, this is going to be a sharper, more aggressive-looking F-type, and that could be more proof that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is indeed moving it into the path of the Porsche 911.
All the cars we’ve seen to date are two-seaters, seemingly quashing rumours that the next F will spawn a 2+2 variant.
Earlier in summer 2019, an eagle-eyed reader stumbled upon the new 2020 Jaguar F-type roadster in a car park. On one of the hottest days of the year, it had the roof down as the test driver attempted to cool down in Gloucestershire.
The four exhaust pipes signify that this is the V8 testbed, as Jaguar swaps its own lump for one hailing from Munich. That’s right: the next F-type will eventually have a BMW engine, although this car is registered with a 5000cc V8 – suggesting it is still running the inhouse JLR motor.
The volume of F-type spy photos is ramping up ahead of its expected world debut in 2020.
Evolution, not revolution
This is not an all-new model, instead expected to take the aluminium structure of today’s F-type and evolve it for service well into the next decade.
That means a series of technical upgrades, to make the F-type cleaner, more economical and easier to produce – as well as a refreshed wardrobe and a sprinkling of the latest gadgets including more sophisticated self-driving tech.
CAR magazine’s artist’s impression below shows the direction that Jag is believed to be taking its sports car for the next generation. Thin, horizontal headlamps are ushered in, replacing the more vertical arrangements today, helping to give the F a fresh, more modern face. But as the prototypes show, this is still recognisably an F-type, given a 911-style evolutionary polish.
Both bodystyles will continue: the coupe (pictured above in our artist’s rendering) and a soft-top roadster will again be offered, as Jag mops up sales in different parts of the world. Sports car sales globally have been in decline for many years, but bosses back in Coventry argue that halo effect of such a sports car outweight the financial cost of developing such a niche proposition.
Moving way from the E-type
CAR magazine caught up with Wayne Burgess, one of Ian Callum’s senior design team who worked on the current F-type, before he was poached by Geely in spring 2019. ‘When we did the first F-type, we had to look at the E-type,’ he told us. ‘Everyone would expect some acknowledgement in Jag’s two-seat sports car. We picked our favourite bits: the tapered tail, the horizontal tail lamps, the car is very directly inspired. The front had to be much more modern though – if we’d done the oval mouth, an E-type front end, it would have been a retro pastiche.’
When asked if the next F-type would have to look back to the E-type, he said it would be more modern and progressive. ‘I think for F-type next time, we’d say what is good about it today, which elements are worth developing, as future graphics and future design language. I don’t think we’d go back to E-type again, you’d walk forward from F-type.’
CAR tests the Jaguar F-type four-cylinder coupe
A 2+2 model will target 911
In the biggest clue that Jaguar is gunning even closer to Porsche 911 territory is the move to make the next F-type a 2+2. Today’s rather cramped model is a strict two-seater, but Jag is believed to be shoehorning in (very) occasional rear seats to the next generation.
All of our spy photos to date capture two-seaters, so we anticipate the 2+2 will be a separate project. We will be looking out for cut ‘n’ shut prototypes and mules in the coming months.
This has the benefit of extending the F’s practicality – and arguably moving the price point 911-wards, away from the cheaper Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster twins. The outgoing F has been positioned deliberately halfway between the two Porsches, in an attempt to carve out its own identity in the marketplace.
The new architecture underpinning the next Jaguar F-type is no longer called PLA-D6a, according to our sources, who dub it the D7b evolution. It will stick with the aluminium-intensive architecture made in Castle Bromwich – and this one will be even lighter, according to our moles in the supply chain.
The notably more economical new engine will eventually also find its way into the high-end Range Rovers and Jaguars. Four-cylinder models will again be offered, using JLR’s inhouse Ingenium models.
The new 2020 F-type will remain a front-engined sports car; recent speculation it could go mid-engined refers to a possible additional model, not the F-type successor.
There is even talk of a purely electric Jaguar F-type featuring a 100kWh energy cell and two e-motors rated at 150kW/350Nm each. An electric F-type wouldn’t launch before 2023 – and this powertrain is still up in the air, given that battery tech is moving apace.