How to outgun its most serious rival, the Porsche 911.
The Jaguar F-Type was revealed back in 2013 and still has about three years of life left before the automaker launches a successor. While a major update is expected in the near future to keep it competitive, Jaguar is debating how to proceed with the next F-Type. For example, could it go all-electric? Autocar has learned some very interesting new details that will surely satisfy everyone who loves the C-X75, the stunning mid-engine concept that almost made it to production. Apparently, Jaguar has two options in mind for the F-Type's future: continue with the current front-mid-engine layout or go mid-engine. The latter is particularly intriguing because it better allows for something significant: pure electrification.
Former Jaguar design director Ian Callum previously told Autocar that not only did he provide a blueprint for what the next F-Type could be, but he also did so in collaboration with his successor, Julian Thompson.
"We could get quite close [to C-X75]," Callum stated. "There's still a formula within Jaguar for a front-mid-engined car. I have a preference for mid-engined cars. It's certainly something I would like to see." If Jaguar decides to go for a pure electric sports car, then the mid-engine format is ideal because, as Callum reminds us, "you could make a shape like [the C-X75] with batteries in a T or H-shape through the middle. Or you could make it as a longitudinal internal-combustion mid-engined car. It would be short enough. So the style won't dictate the drivetrain, but the drivetrain may dictate the style."
In other words, going with the mid-engine option allows Jaguar to have both internal combustion and pure electric if it so chooses. It's always difficult to predict what the market will prefer, especially for expensive sports cars, several years in advance. That's why Porsche appears to be in no rush to fully electrify the 911. A hybrid variant of the current 992 generation will also arrive at around the time of the next-gen F-Type, but a pure EV 911 is not possible on the current car's platform.
This is an opportunity Jaguar may take in order to stay ahead of the game. The question remains where Jaguar will find the money to develop this new mid-engine platform, especially given its current financial woes. One possible solution could lie with BMW, as the two automakers are already cooperating on a plan to build electric drive units for future joint models.
BMW is also deciding the best way forward with a next-generation i8. Could it also become a pure EV? It's very possible and BMW could help offset some development costs if it had a partner. It's a win-win scenario. Alternatively, Jaguar could decide to modify the I-Pace's platform. It boils down to costs and project goals.
Jaguar realizes it has an opportunity to reinvent the F-Type and, at the same time, bring back many design elements of the ill-fated C-X75 concept. It's hard to argue against that proposition.