Although today’s I-Pace is propelled by two 197bhp electric motors fed by a 90kWh battery pack, the energy density of batteries will have improved by the time the F-Type emerges and there will be plenty of scope to offer more powerful motors. Mounting the motors over both axles would allow Jaguar to continue offering rear- and four-wheel drive, the latter with a torque bias to the back axle.
More than one powertrain option is in the running for the new F-Type, with electrification a strong likelihood. However, it’s not yet clear if petrol and electric options will be offered at the same time.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plans to source its next-generation V8 petrol engine, codenamed Project Jennifer, from BMW. In its most potent form, the newly developed 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged engine is said to produce around 640bhp and nearly 600lb ft of torque, an upper limit that would make the F-Type competitive with the most powerful Porsche 911s.
Falling global V8 sales are the reason for JLR once again sharing an eight-cylinder unit with BMW (the last time was when the German car maker owned the Rover Group in the 1990s), making this the only business-viable approach.
Regardless of powertrain, the next F-Type will use an all-new aluminium-intensive platform, which is expected to still be assembled in Castle Bromwich and is tipped to make the new car lighter and more space efficient. It is expected to retain the current car’s two-seat layout.
However, the platform is also capable of underpinning a proposed 2+2 coupé (reported by Autocar in April) that, if signed off for production, will arrive after the next-gen F-Type and serve as a long-awaited replacement for the XK, which was taken off sale in 2014.
As well as being more space efficient and lighter, the new platform will need to be able to meet the next generation of crash requirements. Among these is a roll-over test that will involve a car being dropped onto its roof from a point 1.5 times its own height without significantly crushing the passenger cell.
A choice of petrol and electric powertrains would severely constrain the design freedom provided by a pure-electric drivetrain but widen the F-Type’s appeal. The temptation, though, might be to simplify, be bold and go electric, which would fit in with potential future plans for Jaguar to be an EV-only brand.
As reported by Autocar in September, investors at Tata, Jaguar’s parent company, are unhappy with the sales performance of the brand’s existing petrol and diesel models. A radical product overhaul is on the cards, with a strategy said to be outlined by product planners to phase out the traditional line-up and replace it with a range of fully electric models.