What Jaguar Should Do With the F-Type
Yet despite all the high-performance Mercs, Porsches, Audis and BMWs on the market right now, I’m secretly in love with a Jaguar, the F-Type. I’ve fallen for it big-time. That car is just drop-dead gorgeous, like a feline creature in motion, playful and elegant at the same time.
The only problem is it’s a sportscar, not an SUV. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I believe Porsche sells at least twice as many Cayennes than 911. This tells me there isn’t going to be an F-Type on every street. It’s a fantasy car, meant to turn heads and get people to notice the Jaguar badge. It’s like a vacation to Thailand or an African safari – it’s not for everybody.
There are three versions on sale right now: basic V6, better V6 with clever electronics and powerful V8. Since it’s a fantasy car, I want you guys to imagine the F-Type as something else, something those three versions don’t represent. From the very beginning, people looked at this successor to the E-Type the wrong way. Because it had a roadster design, they naturally thought it was a rival for the Boxster, but in fact it's been created to rival the Porsche 911. But what else can it do?
For starters, I think the F-Type should try to be a little bit less rather than more. A lot of buyers are going to be put off by the high prices, so a smaller and cheaper engine should be offered, at least in my opinion. The 2-liter Si4 from the Range Rover Evoque would be a good place to start. A lot of buyers aren’t going to be that interested in the performance aspect of this very beautiful two-seater and a smaller engine has the added benefit of lower taxation, which I think is a big problem around the world, even for people with deep pockets.
This downsizing+downpowering has been done before *cough* BMW Z4 18i, Mercedes SLK 200 *cough* and nobody seems to mind.
The other thing that I would do as Jaguar is to increase the number of customization options and make them cheaper and more readily available. They say there aren’t two Fiat 500s with the exact same options, and this should also be the case here. Racing stripes, different colors for the mirrors, the wheels the grille and the dash are all needed.
Now, I’ve already looked at configurator and know there are customization options available, but they are all a bit too serious, a bit too tastefully done. Another principle of customization which Jaguar should follow is BMW’s M Performance parts catalog. Different steering wheel, display, exhaust, factory engine tuning, maybe even factory body kits and new seats for track use or with more padding.
To make the F-Type in the first place, Jaguar had to rethink the way it uses aluminum. For example, to make the hood they had to create a new alloy which would stand up to being put in a press three times to get a very complex shape. As impressive as that sounds, carbon fiber is now mainstream and people actually expect it on cheaper cars as well. Jaguar should invest in this technology and maybe make a hardcore track car that has $5,000 worth of cool carbon-fiber accessories on it – wings, flares, spoilers and so on.
Frequent special editions are also important, as they ensure the customers are happy nobody else in their golf club has the same time.
But customization is only part of the story. Some more serious work needs to be done as well. When I saw the stunning Project 7 Concept this week, I instantly thought they should do something a little bit like the Boxster Boxster Spyder from 2009. No heavy electric motors for the seat adjustment, no buttons on the steering wheel, no cruise control, no climate control, no multi-speaker stereo, a simple roof and one setting for everything: hardcore.
The F-Type should also be available with all-wheel drive. I know this is a touchy subject for the purists, but Jaguar global brand director Adrian Hallmark worked for Porsche and knows 911 customers like to play it safe sometimes. An F-Type with a ‘4’ in its name would also help promote the upcoming Jaguar SUV which we hear will be ready by 2015.
But this editorial is only a droplet of strong opinion in the ocean, which is why I want to know what you guys what would like the F-Type to be… besides yours of course. Maybe we can get Jaguar to listen before it gets too caught up in making that SUV.