Jaguar and Land Rover preview new convertibles

Range Rover Evoque convertible NYJaguar and Land Rover are bound by corporate matrimony, but other than that, the two have very little in common. Jaguar makes luxury sedans and sports cars, Land Rover makes off-road ready SUVs. Nonetheless, the two corporate siblings decided to unveil one convertible each at a joint press conference during the New York Auto Show.

Land Rover unveiled a car that many have seen, but few expected: a convertible version of the Range Rover Evoque crossover. This concept car was first seen a few months ago, and shares its powertrain and sophisticated all-wheel drive system with the standard Evoque three-door.

Land Rover has made convertibles before; the current Defender can be had with a folding top just like a Jeep Wrangler. Still, seeing this shopping mall-style crossover with no roof is a bit bizarre. Land Rover Design Director Gerry McGovern called it “sexy;” you couldn’t say that about any other Land Rover. Buyers will have to decide whether that is a good thing.

The Evoque convertible concept was quite a shock, but the biggest surprise was a car that wasn’t even at the show. Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar Global Brand Director, confirmed that Jaguar will be building another sports car. Called the F-Type, it will be a two-seater that channels classic Jags like the XK120 and E-type. Hallmark wouldn’t release many details, only saying that the F-Type will resemble the C-X16 concept shown at the Frankfurt Auto Show.Jaguar F-Type

The F-Type’s backbone will be an aluminum monocoque, manufactured at Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich factory in Britain. Hallmark also refused to divulge the powertrain specs, but did say that the F-Type will do 0-60 mph in under five seconds, and have a top speed of over 180 mph. The F-Type will have a conventional gasoline powertrain, it won’t be a hybrid.

In lieu of an actual car, Jaguar showed a short video featuring former Formula 1 star Martin Brundel. Brundel rode in a camouflaged prototype, which gave some hints about the F-Type’s styling. It appears to have an XKR-like grille and headlights, but the whole car looks much smaller and rides on a shorter wheelbase.

Jaguar’s prototypes are on the road now, so the F-Type should be close to showroom-ready. Land Rover did not say when, or if, the Evoque convertible will go on sale, or how either company will top these audacious announcements.


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