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Jaguar F-Type: Jag’s sports car is officially revealed

After a leaked image made the rounds on Facebook, Jaguar was eager to unveil its new F-Type sports car at this week’s Paris Motor Show. The F-Type, first announced last April at the New York Auto Show, is a two-seat roadster meant to evoke classic Jags like the E-Type and XK120.

Visually, the F-Type is almost identical to the C-X16 concept shown at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. An added flourish that we haven’t seen before is the rear end treatment. The taillights look like they were taken off Jag’s C-X75 hybrid supercar concept, and the center exit exhaust is a nice, sporty touch.

The position of the exhaust will actually indicate which engine is under the hood. Both V6 models will get the center exit system, while V8 models will have a quad exhaust.

There will be three F-Type models. The base F-Type will have a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 with 340 hp, the F-Type S will have the same engine with 380 hp, and the F-Type V8 S will have a 5.0-liter V8 with 495 hp. Each engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The output numbers are 5 hp more optimistic than what was previously reported, and Jaguar appears to have met its performance estimates. It originally said it wanted a car that do 0 to 60 mph in under five seconds and a top speed of over 180 mph. The F-Type V8 S will do 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph.

The company says the base F-Type will reach 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and top 161 mph. The V6 F-Type S will do the same in 4.8 seconds, and has a top speed of 171 mph.

Jaguar also says the F-Type’s interior was inspired by a jet fighter cockpit. The “one-plus-one” layout is meant to divide the driver and passenger areas and a huge grab handle that looks like it was taken off an SRT Viper accomplishes that task. Jaguar must have wanted passengers to hang onto for dear life as car and driver do their thing.

Continuing the fighter jet theme, Jaguar threw out its trademark rotary shift knob for an old-fashioned stick designed to look like an aircraft joystick. Overall, the cockpit has a modern appearance but still seems focused on driving. A decent-sized navigation screen is paired with individual binnacles for the gauges, both good, functional elements.

Jaguar has not announced pricing for the F-Type, but it will go on sale sometimes next year. A hardtop coupe will follow in one to two years.