The Jaguar F-Type has launched in Australia with a starting price of $138,645, gearing up to take on the best sports cars the market has to offer.

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At the local launch of the Jaguar F-Type in Sydney, the company’s Australian brand manager, Mark Eedle, said the F-Type is “arguably Jaguar’s most important car for the best part of 50 years”, putting the performance back in the heart of the British brand.

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With 74 million cars sold worldwide in 2012, less than one percent were sports cars of which only 15 percent were full-size sports cars like the F-Type. Jaguar’s decision to make the F-Type for such a niche market was to not only attract a new and younger audience, but to fundamentally change the brand’s DNA. Eedle noted that Jaguar without a sports car is a bit like Sydney without the Opera House.

“[Firstly] F-Type is there to strengthen the performance credentials of the brand making a direct connection with our sporting heritage. Secondly, F-Type will help us reach a new younger customer, we are expecting about 90 percent of F-Type customers to be new to the brand.” Eedle said.

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Jaguar is convinced that the F-Type has what it takes to compete with the very best in the segment, which is why it has positioned the roadster against the Porsche 911 Cabrio, Audi R8 and Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

The F-Type is being marketed as a proper full-blooded sports car, with credentials such as a larger footprint than a 911 being a key selling point, while its starting price (though higher than a Porsche Boxster) is still about $90,000 less than the most affordable Porsche 911 Cabriolet.

The 2013 Jaguar F-Type range will consist of three variants, each with different performance and equipment specifications.

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The base model Jaguar F-Type gets a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 with 250kW of power and 450Nm of torque. That’s good for a 0-100km/h time of 5.3 seconds, hitting a top speed of 260km/h.

The mid-range Jaguar F-Type V6S is priced from $171,045, with an extra 30kW and 10Nm (280kW/460Nm) over the standard model, which helps bring the 0-100km/h to 4.9 seconds (275km/h top speed). Apart from the power upgrade, adaptive dynamics, mechanical limited-slip differential, 19-inch wheels, larger brakes and an active exhaust system are also added to the list.

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The top of the range F-Type V8s gets the almighty 364kW 5.0-litre with 625Nm of torque. Priced from $201,945, it cuts the acceleration time to 4.3 seconds and can hit 300km/h without too much trouble. It gets bigger brakes still, an electronic differentials and quad exhausts.

All variants make use of a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox.

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Measuring 1296mm high, 1923 wide and 4,470mm long, the F-Type’s all-aluminium body is made from 50 percent recycled material and the build process is 75 percent automated, thanks to 55 robots.

From a performance point of view, Jaguar says the F-Type has 35 percent more negative camber than any car Jaguar has ever mass-produced. The steering system makes use of a variable hydraulic setup, which Jaguar picked instead of an electronic system to provide a more dynamic steering response.

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CarAdvice previously reviewed the Jaguar F-Type in Europe, but be sure to check back on Wednesday when we bring you a local review.