David Wilkins: Essence of a Jaguar, but no slavish copying

There has never been anything quite like Jaguar's E-Type. Enzo Ferrari, a fierce rival, famously called it the most beautiful car ever made but that sort of success can easily become a burden and Jaguar has always avoided describing any of its later models as a true replacement for its most famous car – until now, that is.

The F-Type boldly picks up where the E-Type left off 37 years ago – and the new car doesn't need to fear comparisons with its iconic predecessor. An advanced lightweight aluminium structure and powerful new supercharged engines should make for excellent performance, but it's the F-Type's looks that have really got everyone excited. Under the leadership of design chief Ian Callum, who has always longed to produce an E-Type successor, Jaguar's talented team has produced an outstanding modern shape that avoids slavish copying of retro details but nevertheless captures the essential character of the great Jags of the past.

When Mr Callum unveiled the F-Type this week, he avoided giving the lengthy speech that is customary on such occasions. "This car speaks for itself," he said – and it has a very good story to tell.

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