Hybrid Jaguars, Manual Transmissions Waiting in the Wings Says Exec

Hybrid Jaguars, Manual Transmissions Waiting in the Wings Says Exec

Jaguar’s new F-Type looks remarkably like its design study, though it’s missing two things. First is a major feature of the C-X16 concept it’s based on and the second is something found in any true sports car; an advanced hybrid drivetrain and a manual transmission.

To the surprise of many, Jaguar’s new two-seater isn’t available with a stick shift and there’s no immediate indication that it will be. Ian Hoban, Jaguar vehicle line director won’t divulge, but he’s certainly not ruling it out. In fact, he couldn’t be hinting more strongly.

When asked if a manual is on its way, Hoban responded by stretching out his arms and commenting that he has “a list this long” of modification and upgrades he already wants to make of the car. But first, he says, those additions have to “fit the brand DNA and the F-Type DNA.” A manual transmission he says would only be integrated into the F-Type, “if it makes the car an extension of you.”

Sports car drivers would argue that that’s exactly what it does and so a stick-shift F-Type now seems like a foregone conclusion.

With European sports car drivers more ready to adapt to automatics it is, somewhat ironically, America that has become the last bastion of support for rowing your own gears.

“I had this conversation with the brand guys months ago,” says Hoban, admitting that Americans really do see the manual transmission as a sign of being a true automotive enthusiast. BMW has suffered the mistake of not offering a manual in the M5 it he past, being forced to recant and deliver one.

Could America’s love for the manual help bring a stick shift to the F-Type? “It’s a big market in the U.S.,” Hoban admits.

And is a hybrid F-Type any more likely? Hoban counters again with a long answer to a short question.  “The concept was used for two things,” he says. “First it was used to showcase the design of the car. Second it was used to showcase technology.”

On the design side, the production model is very close to the concept admits Hoban, though when asked if the technology will remain just as close all he will admit is that Jaguar is ready should the market so demand.

“We do have that technology” he says. “We have a rage of different alternatives, but the world hasn’t made it’s mind up yet.”

“We are ready to deploy them quickly when we decide what the right solution is,” says Hoban, admitting that it’s actually their customers and not their executives that will drive the decision.

A Hybrid F-Type. “I wouldn’t rule it out,” says Hoban.

GALLERY: Jaguar F-Type