Jaguar opted to unveil its new 2014 F-Type two-seater convertible on the eve of the Paris Auto Show, at an event held at Paris’ Musée Rodin. Described by Jaguar Global Brand Director Adrian Hallmark as ultra-precise, powerful and sensual, the F-Type represents a return to Jaguar’s sports car roots.

The F-Type will be available in three primary models, with differing levels of performance. Base F-Types come powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6, rated at 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. F-Type S models make 380 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque from the same supercharged 3.0-liter V-6, and range topping F-Type V8 S models make 495 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque from a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8.

The base F-Type can accelerate from 0-60 mph mph in 5.1 seconds. The F-Type S model lowers that to 4.8 seconds, and the F-Type V8 S can hit 60 mph from rest in just 4.2 seconds. Top speeds are electronically limited to 161 mph, 171 mph and 186 mph, respectively.

All models get an eight-speed “Quickshift” automatic transmission, with both paddle shifters and a centrally mounted gear selector lever instead of Jaguar’s usual gear selector knob. F-Type S models, in V-6 or V-8 form, come standard with a limited slip differential (mechanical on V-6 models, electronic on V-8 models) for added grip.

S models also benefit from an “Active Exhaust” and an available “Configurable Dynamics” program that includes features like a lap timer and a G-meter display. Reinforcing the fact that the F-Type is a driver’s car, Jaguar says the interior features “engaging controls” that are “encased in dynamic architecture” and grouped by function.

Thanks to extensive use of aluminum throughout the F-Type’s structure, Jaguar has produced a light car with ideal weight distribution. Underneath, aluminum double-wishbone front and rear suspensions, coupled with adaptive dampers, deliver superb handling balanced with ride comfort. Overall weight is about 3,521 pounds.

Until we have the chance to drive the F-Type ourselves, we’ll have to rely on Ian Hoban, Jaguar’s Vehicle Line Director, to tell us how good Jaguar’s first dedicated sports car in decades will be.

In his words, “...the Jaguar engineering team focused on delivering greater dynamic driving reward than ever before. To make that a reality, every engineer has had very tough targets to hit: every one of those targets has been met and, in many cases, exceeded, making the F-Type a car that delivers precisely the key sporting attributes that we intended.”

First sales of the 2014 Jaguar F-Type are scheduled for next summer.

For more coverage from Paris, be sure to check our dedicated 2012 Paris Auto Show page.