Something I’ve been mulling on for months is about how Jaguar has finally made good with creating a sports car below the grand touring XK8 with the new Jaguar F-Type. It’s exciting, yes, but there’s a question mark as to why. Sure, it is the next step of the Jag alphabet; it’s about time something steps up since the 1974 Series III E-Type. The XK-E Series I of 1961 is one of those top-shelf, do-want icons that any designer would love to achieve.
Considering how cleanly Ian Callum of Jaguar/Aston Martin fame has done with cars like the DB7 and Vanquish, along with the F-Types big brother the XK, it’s hard to fault the F-Type. Most modern sports cars don’t quite have this same charisma, nor these engine choices—two supercharged V6’s and a supercharged V8? Yes please! I just wonder if it’s just that good of a car, or just that big a step for Jaguar.
The XK8 has been fairly stagnate since the second generation appeared in 2006, merely receiving some engine updates, LED lights, and a slight facelift to tighten up the headlights to look cattier. Shortly after, the XF sedan came out in 2008 with a refresh in 2011 to match when the flagship XJ was completely revamped for 2009. Other than the 4.2L V8 (both naturally aspirated and supercharged) were moved up to a 5.0L displacement, and some sport and special edition models, Jag remained very familiar throughout the ranks.
When seeing the F-Type in motion, or those thin LED lamps out back, I can’t help but think of another classically retro-cool design sculpted in aluminum and carrying very similar performance figures (against the V6 Jag’s, anyway). That car? The BMW Z8.
The Z8 has graced these pages as one of the more interesting but understated reads—not some whining about technology or yammering about economy cars or hot-hatches, but an honest look back to a cool car. And like I was saying back then, the Z8 is that rare moment where the German’s showed something more than a cold mechanized drive of engineering. Yes, it’s still not a garish machine embellished with scoops or as burpy an exhaust as any of the F-Type fold, but we already know that Jaguar and Aston Martin have been capable of such amazingly flawed-yet-cool machines. BMW? Not as known, for such a decision. Does the Z8 have the bronzed start/stop button or paddle shifters? No. The Z8 isn’t as rakish in windshield or roof-up profile, either. Nevertheless, I still think of the Z8 when an F-Type is racing around my Youtube window.