Sublime: the new Jaguar F-Type coupé

 

PRICE £60,235
ENGINE CAPACITY 3.0-litre supercharged V6
POWER OUTPUT (BHP @ RPM) 375 @ 6,500
TOP SPEED (MPH) 171
0-60 MPH (SECS) 4.8
FUEL ECONOMY (MPG) 32.1
CO2 EMISSIONS (G/KM) 213

Mention Jaguar and most car lovers will think of the 1960s E-Type of the 1960s, ruched leather interiors and wooden steering wheels from the 1990s, and more recently, cars that looked nice, but failed to sell in serious numbers. Jaguar, then, has long been the poor relation to its sister firm Land Rover, which has enjoyed the majority of the limelight, glamorous new models, and the ensuing positive sales figures at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).

Now, though, Jaguar is fighting back and the latest assault is the F-Type coupé, a hard-hatted version of the convertible, which went on sale last year. Like the famous E-Type, the F-Type was designed as a convertible, but adding a roof hasn't ruined the driving experience – far from it.

What makes this car stand out, though, isn't the sublime handling, the effortless acceleration or the raspy exhaust note; it's the sense of occasion Jaguar has engineered in that makes it a joy. Take the Jaguar logo on the spoiler, which flips up whenever you press down with your right foot, or the leather-trimmed grab-handle on the front console, which your passenger can reach for at sharp bends. These are neat touches.

Only 75,000 of the 425,000 cars JLR sold last year had a Jaguar badge on the bonnet and a £60,000 sports car isn't going to change that. The car that might change Jaguar's fortunes is the new XE saloon, which is set to be unveiled on Monday to the voice of Emeli Sandé at an event in west London.

When the XE goes on sale next year, it will get a lightweight construction and will be the first JLR vehicle to get the new Ingenium four-cylinder engine. This should help it to compete with German luxury models such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. What's really promising, though, is that Jaguar has got the driving position, infotainment and cabin of the F-Type spot-on. These have traditionally been weak spots so suggest good things for the XE, which will be on offer from around £27,000.

We don't know exactly what the XE will look like, but if it has anything like the style and driver appeal of the F-Type, it might tempt some of Middle England out of its predictable German saloons. Then it wouldn't need Emeli Sandé to grab some of its bigger sibling's limelight.

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