Jaguar confirmed yesterday at the New York Motor Show that it will launch a new sports car, the F-Type, in mid-2013.

Jaguar’s decision to make a new sports car, smaller than today’s XK model, has been widely expected since the company showed the C-X16 concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2011 but the decision to call it the F-Type is significant. Jaguar was always reluctant to describe any past model as a true successor to the legendary E-Type, but now seems to be signalling that the new car finally will assume that role, 52 years after the “E” went on sale and 38 years after it finally ceased production in 1975.

If it is going to live up to the standard set by the E-Type, the “F” will have to be very good indeed. Initially, it will be launched as a convertible but given that the C-X16 concept had a coupé body, a closed version can be expected to appear later on as well. One disappointment; the weekly magazine Autocar is reporting that the C-X16 will lose one of its most interesting features on the way to production – its distinctive side-hinged tailgate, which recalled that of the E-Type coupé.

Like the XK and the big XJ saloon, the F-Type will mainly be made of aluminium and is also expected to have a new range of engines.

While the C-X16 looked very “production-ready” and presumably gave a good guide to what the F-Type will look like, Jaguar has suddenly become very coy about the new car’s appearance and has released only fake “spy shots” of a semi-disguised open version and a few teaser photos of its tail-lights and badging.

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