Who are they kidding. They're gunning for the 911, pure and simple. It's been benchmarked against the 911. The 911 continually comes up in conversation with Jaguar engineers. The 911 defines the Porsche brand and Jaguar wants the F-Type to do the same for it.
Power stats hint what it is. The range starts with 340hp; a 911 opens with 350hp. A Boxster starts at 275hp and topping out at 315hp. It ain't a Boxster. Was never going to be. Jaguar has designed it to be a 911, without the price tag, just like the original E-Type was a bargain alternative to the 911. Can't remember any tears about Jaguar not building a 356 rival then.
Given all this, does it stack up? We'll infuriate you for making a call withouthaving driven it, but first evidence (and the obvious proviso is that the truth IS in the driving) suggests so.
Size guarantees it. The Boxster is small, 4,374mm long. The F-Type is 4,470mm long, 21mm shorter than a 911. It has a 2,622mm wheelbase: the Boxster's is 2,475mm, the 911's a shorter 2,450mm. It's 1,923mm wide, 122mm wider than a Boxster, 115mm wider than a 911.
It feels like a 911-level car with purpose - and the fact it's 21mm shorter than a 911 means it also feels unique. Just as you sit low and compactly in a 911, rearward mass neutralized but still possible to sense, the F-Type's impression of being sat way back in the chassis, nice and low, nose stretching ahead and weight contained within it, is also special. An XK with all the fat cut off but still with full-fat engines. Simply, a higher-level, more potent package than a Boxster.
The XK never sparred with the 911. The F-Type is eyeballing it. A 350hp Carrera Cabrio PDK costs £84,114, a 340hp F-Type sells for £58,500 (how much cheaper will the F-Type coupe be?). Jaguar charges you £79,950 for a 495hp F-Type. Porsche charges £94,150 for a 400hp PDK 911 Carrera S soft-top; same top speed, and the Jag's quicker to 62mph.
Still any doubt about what's in the Jag's crosshairs?