440kW Jaguar F-Type R-S rumoured
It would be parts-bin engineering on an historic scale - in both senses of the word. But it also makes a lot of sense, particularly bearing in mind the reception accorded by the announcement of the Jaguar XKR-S GT at the New York auto show.
According to Autocar, Jaguar is seriously considering shoehorning a 440kW version of the supercharged five-litre V8 that normally lives under the bonnet of the XJR and XKR-S, into its recently introduced F-Type, which would catapult that agile little sportster straight into the supercar bracket.
Jaguar CEO Adrian Hallmark wouldn't admit to the existence of the F-Type R, but he did tell Autocar that more limited editions such as the XKR-S GT - in batches of no more than 50 at a time - were on the cards, both as 'halo cars' and as rolling test beds for future mass-production variants.
“Clearly, building a run of 30 to 50 exclusive GTs isn't going to have any impact on the fortunes of the company in sales terms, but the importance of these projects lies in the knowledge they give us,” he said.
He also let slip that, as part of the development of the XKR-S GT, Jaguar engineers had squeezed a lot more than the current 400kW out of the five-litre 'blower' V8. The problem, he said, wasn't making the power but getting it down on the tar.
Add all that up, and we could well see a fire-breathing, limited-edition F-Type R in 2016, to be followed by a production version a year or so later with an updated version of the current 400kW lump, running on four cylinders most of the time to keep the bunny-huggers quiet and exploding into action like a Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG when the right button gets pushed.
Given Jaguar's penchant for the theatrical, we could even see a concept running up the notorious hill at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed, although Autocar seems to think it's more likely to be a coupé than a roadster, and we agree; 440kW would probably twist a standard F-Type roadster chassis like a pretzel.