Jaguar hopes for instant success with unveiling of a classic show- stop per

NICOLE VEASH

It is being hailed as the spiritual successor to the classic Jaguar E-type, the sports car which stopped a generation in its tracks when it was launched 35 years ago. The new XK8 sports coupe, unveiled today at the Geneva Motor Show, will replace the 20-year-old XJS when it goes on sale in October. Jaguar hopes the new model, which is said to have the performance of an Aston Martin DB7 but will sell for two-thirds of the Aston's pounds 78,500 price, will appeal to car lovers of all ages.

The new Jaguar is bigger than the old E-type and combines characteristics of the classic sports coupe with the XJS's grand tourer style. It will cost pounds 52,000 and the company hopes to sell about 12,000 cars in the first year. It has a new four-litre V8 engine which uses less fuel than recent Jaguars.

Andy Pegge, director of the Classic Car Club company, said: "I don't think anything will replace the E-type. But this new Jaguar is definitely a stylish car, unlike a lot of cars on the road which are indistinguishable, so it could be a classic in the future."

The E-type was an instant sensation when it was launched at Geneva in March 1961. Half the price of an Italian exotic or an Aston Martin, it was seen then as heralding a new generation of sports machines.

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