An all-paw version of Jaguar’s F-Type could be being readied as a British antidote to Audi’s drop-top quattros, if these recent spy photos are anything to go by.
Unlike the current rear-drive F-Type Coupe and Convertible, this prototype’s front wheel is spitting snow from its tread at such a rate that suggests a loss of drive traction.
Look closely at the tyre tracks behind the front wheel, and it’s pretty clear that the car has travelled about 2 metres since stopping, yet is throwing snow like a bogged front-driver.
This is the first tangible hint of a possible all-wheel drive variant of the long-awaited successor to the E-Type, which could make use of the all-wheel drive system currently available in its XJ sedan platform sibling.
The AWD XJ is available only with a version of the F-Type’s supercharged 3.0-litre V6, but the cobbled-together bonnet of this prototype suggests something else could be lurking within the engine bay.
The quad exhausts at the rear suggest it uses the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 range-topping engine, but the same bonnet was sighted on other prototypes during the European summer, this time with the twin central exhaust tips used on V6 models.
This suggests that the mule could preview the rumoured four-cylinder F-Type, which could undercut the current $138,645 base supercharged V6 to bring the model closer to the Porsche Boxster’s $101,500 starting price.
The Jaguar Land Rover group (JLR) currently offer a 2.0-litre petrol turbo in the XF, Freelander and Evoque models, which is based on Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine. A four cylinder F-Type would probably make use of the group’s new ‘Hotfire’ engine under development, which is slated to appear first in Jaguar’s new 3 Series competitor in 2015.
Another long shot could be a version of the Range Rover Hybrid’s petrol electric drivetrain, which integrates a 35kW electric motor within the ZF eight-speed auto also used by the F-Type. However, anyone who’s seen the size of an F-Type Convertible’s boot will wonder where the requisite battery system could hide.