Enzo Ferrari called it the most beautiful car ever created. The 1961 Jaguar E-Type was indeed beautiful – a car that at once elegant, almost feminine in its details, yet aggressive. The F-Type roadster, pictured here, and the coupé that will be on sale next year, play homage to this iconic car without resorting to pastiche. The design team has avoided making any cheap retro references to its predecessor.
The convertible sports car we drove is a meticulously executed product. It is quite stunning in the flesh – people literally stop and stare, and make comments. Jaguar is an emotional brand in Britain and people almost feel they can discuss this new offspring.
With the F-Type Jaguar making that emotional connection it had with its cars in the 50s, 60s and 70s ‘based on aesthetic values of proportion and stance which are very particular to Jaguar,’ Julian Thomson explains. ‘We study Jaguar design through our heritage, we look at the background of what’s out there and we look at British design – these facets come together to create a general theme,’ the director of advanced design told me a little earlier this year.
The cabin is much more singular than Jaguar’s executive saloons, meaning the cockpit runs around the driver instead of being horizontal. ‘Even inside the car it is all about an experience and about ambiance,’ notes Thomson. The F-Type’s interface is full of tactility so the driver can feel the mechanics with the gear changes and pedals. Visually it is intensely modern, completely right for now in the balance of technology, or digital and analogue. ‘You want to feel you’re in control. This is a real car,’ he says.
The closest visual connection with the E-Type can be found in the sculptural rear of the car – the tapered backside: ‘It is reminiscent of the E-Type without being a pastiche,’ notes Thomson. Jaguar, he continues, is about ‘purity and beauty in design’ and a sports car like this is the best way to demonstrate it. ‘Sports cars should have a greater sense of poise, so this is the pinnacle of our design philosophy.’
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