Earlier this week I was invited to one of the London launches of the new Jaguar F Type sportscar. It’s hard to underestimate the importance of the F Type to Jaguar who have not produced a true sports car since they started sticking v12’s in the E type. The F Type is to be Jaguar’s Range Rover Evoque. A car intended to appeal to new audiences and sell well in the vital US market.

Ian Callum, Jaguar’s brilliant designer, was at the launch along with Jaguar’s marketing director. I remember speaking enthusiastically about my XKR to Callum at an RAC dinner a few years ago. He said he was glad I liked it but told me how disappointed he was that it did not sell so well. I suspect the problem is that the thirty and forty something men the car is aimed at prefer a sports car to a GT. And whilst they have had a lot of alternatives from which to chose, the sportscar market is dominated by Porsche. Last year they sold more 911’s alone than Jaguar sold of all models. For these typical customers a credible Jaguar sports car will need to compete with the 911 and also, crucially, the Boxster and Cayman. Is it, however, any coincidence that the press, busy testing the superb new Cayman, have not yet been allowed anything more than passenger rides in the F Type? Are Jaguar afraid of the comparisons that may be made with the F Type? A car that will cost more than the Boxster and Cayman equivalents?

At the launch the Jaguar staff circulating with the guests reiterated again and again the point that the F Type is a different proposition to the Boxster / Cayman. It’s a traditional British front engine rear wheel drive sports car. That may be so but will a buyer not steeped in Jaguar lore really want to buy a sports car that is dynamically leas accomplished and more expensive than the equivalent Porsche?

Much was made at the launch of the F type attracting new, younger customers to the brand. The evening started with clouds of dry ice, a hip female DJ playing cool contemporary club classics and a moody video of Lana Del Ray warbling through a lacklustre song “inspired” by the F Type. Despite this the majority of those attending were older than me, and I’m well into my forties. It seems Jaguar need to do a bit more to widen their demographic.

The three cars on show did look stunning though leaving each of their boots open to show they could take a bag of golf clubs perhaps demonstrated that they have not quite forgotten about their core customers!

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Lana Del Ray cooly warbles through the F type’s theme but that guy in front really is wearing a tank top

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Nice carbon fibre detail on alloy wheels

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Even the old boys like the car..

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…maybe because they can be sure they can get their golf clubs in

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