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Jaguar keen on S-Type roadster

On the wing: The Ford Thunderbird will form the basis for a new roadster being developed by Jaguar.

Jaguar is planning a new roadster to sit below its swoopy XK8 cabriolet

18 Jun 1999

JAGUAR will take on the likes of the BMW Z3 2.8 and Porsche Boxster with a new roadster based on a shortened S-type platform.

The newcomer, due to be launched around 2001, will draw several styling cues from the classic XK120 of the late 1940s.

It will be offered with a choice of V6 and V8 engines with pricing expected to start around $90,000 in today's money.

Jaguar is thought to have wanted a roadster to sit below its XK8 for several years.

The Coventry car-maker lacked the financial resources to consider producing one until now but the project was finally given the green light, partly as a result of the Ford Thunderbird concept car displayed at this year's Detroit motor show.

With all the development work already having been carried out by Ford, the path was cleared for Jaguar to develop its own variant with minimal expenditure.

The Jaguar roadster will use the Thunderbird's underpinnings but use its own engines, a new body and sportier suspension settings.

It is intended to be a spiritual successor to the XK120, arguably Jaguar's greatest post-war sports car.

The driving force behind Jaguar's decision to produce the car is its new boss, Mr Wolfgang Reitzle.

Mr Reitzle, formerly BMW's product director, joined Ford in March as the head of its four luxury brands - Volvo, Jaguar, Lincoln and Aston Martin.

His enthusiasm to get the roadster in production as soon as possible may stem from his in-depth knowledge of future product wearing BMW and Rover badges.

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