Jaguar's return to the showy world of high-performance two-seaters is a triumph. The F-type is a decisively modern car with jaw-dropping looks punctuated by its long hood and low-slung stance. "We wanted the visual architecture to be as exciting as possible," says Jaguar design director Ian Callum, who tackled the daunting task of updating the fabled 1960s E-Type. Here, Callum walks us through his nose-to-tail redesign.
Starting at $69,000; jaguarusa.com
1. SEXY BACK: The choice of a space-saving, fast-opening fabric top gave the designers the freedom to create an unencumbered, tapered rear end that gently slopes in an alluring line. "It looks fast even when it's parked," Callum says.
2. INSIDE JOB: Eschewing futuristic details, the cockpit emphasizes tactile connections—such as an optional chunky, flat-bottomed steering wheel and analog gauges. "We wanted something mechanical to get you back to the point of driving," Callum says.
3. THIN SKIN: The chassis is made of the stiffest aluminum Jaguar has ever used—and wind-cheating door handles emerge only when the driver presses a button on the key fob. "Designers don't like door handles," Callum says. "They're very untidy things."
4 & 5. RACE-READY: The F-Type's wide, blade-bisected grille and shark-gill air intakes evoke the brand's racing heritage. So does the engine: Under the clamshell hood is a brawny 495-horsepower supercharged V-8 that hurtles the car from 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds.
The Endorsement: The Case for Driving a Stick Shift
You can still experience that visceral thrill of grabbing the stick and getting in gear, whether it's in a sporty Porsche Boxster S or a sleek Mini Cooper convertible. This year, the BMW M6 ($92,095; bmwusa.com) comes with a stick option, and the new Ford Fiesta ST ($22,195; ford.com) is available only as a manual. No wonder the classic-car insurer Hagerty offers a workshop on the art of driving a stick (free; hagerty.com).