A two-seat sports car, an XF 4x4, an XK saloon and more...
1 February 2008

F-Type

Jaguar bosses are desperate to build this car. They can practically taste the market excitement it would cause, especially in the US and the UK. The popular proposal is for a steel-bodied, XF-based two-seater that uses V6 and V8 engines and starts at under £45,000 (although top-end models would be direct Porsche 911 rivals). It would be 200kg lighter than a similarly engined XF saloon, about 70cm shorter overall and 40cm shorter in the wheelbase. The suspension and running gear would be largely familiar, although engineers reckon there would be a case for modified front suspension with less unsprung weight. Look for a soft-top rather than a design-limiting folding steel roof. All at Jaguar know any sports car will have to live in the shadow of the E-type, and will be expected to look amazing.

XF Coupé

Jaguar could conceivably build four offshoots of the XF: a four-seat convertible, a coupé, a sporty estate and a crossover 4x4.However, a fixed-roof coupé is the most likely because the saloon’s proportions lend themselves to the switch, the engineering is straightforward, the idea suits the Jaguar marque values well, and recent German coupé successes show it could sell. Expect it to stick largely with the saloon’s interior architecture and engine line-up, but to be distinctive enough to sell on exclusivity.

XF Crossover 4x4

Controversial, this one, and only a long-odds possibility. Jaguar marketing men envy booming sales of rival brands in this sector and reckon the XF design values could easily stretch to a sleek, stylish soft-roader. Designers have already produced proposals and full-size models.However, the Jaguar/Land Rover decision makers believe Jaguar must resist becoming a 4x4 company, and leave such vehicles to Land Rover, especially as its associate marque is about to move further into the high-style 4x4 bracket with the new LRX.

XF Convertible

The proposal for a four-seat, open-top version of the XF is not favoured at present by either engineers or accountants. The engineers don’t want it because of the large amount of unique engineering needed to reinforce the chassis and to make such a large fabric roof. The bean counters are hesitant because of the expense, given the modest expected sales. American dealers are predictably keen, but the company calculates they can attract rag-top customers with the coupé.

XF Estate

Another non-starter. Jaguar’s designers have investigated a sporty wagon, but the idea has been shelved for good. Realists at the firm say it lacks estate heritage, and they take lessons from German estates, which work in Europe but sell poorly in America. Jaguar’s future volume will be a fraction of BMW’s or Audi’s; it couldn’t bear the development costs of a wagon knowing that at least 50 per cent of its potential market doesn’t want it.

XKR-R Coupé

The two-tier XK lightweight coupé range that began Jaguar’s fightback hasn’t even reached mid-life yet, but two eye-catching new developments are on the blocks. Closest by far is an ‘unrestricted’ XKR version capable of around 180mph. The precise spec is still being fleshed out, but expect a low-volume model (say 300 a year, at a £10,000-£15,000 premium) with more supercharged power from engine management tweaks – or perhaps even the adoption of the forthcoming 500bhp 5.0-litre, direct-injection V8 – plus ultra-sporty tweaks to décor and chassis. Jaguar admires the progress and profit potential of the AMG brand at Mercedes, and believes it has customers that would like the idea.

XK-based saloon

Jaguar bosses also admire Mercedes’ CLS. They believe there’s an opportunity for a sporty but practical all-aluminium, four-door version of the XK. Think of it as Jaguar’s Porsche Panamera. This ‘CLS class’ is set to grow rapidly (Aston Rapide, Panamera, Maserati Quattroporte and probably an A6-based A7 from Audi) and it’s natural Jaguar territory. The project is understood to have company-wide backing, but would need big investment.One key decision would be whether to offer V6 petrol engines alongside the normally aspirated and forced induction V8s. At first glance Jaguar might not be inclined to, but by the realistic launch date (not before 2011) Porsche will be selling V6 Panameras. Jaguar wouldn’t much enjoy having its new saloon undercut by a Porsche.

New XJ flagship

They call this project X351, a major re-engineering of the today’s luxury flagship for 2009, still made in aluminium and broadly similar to the outgoing car in proportions and wheelbase. Jaguar people state openly that the car will be very progressive and have its own identity; it won’t just be a bigger XF. The company is proud of its aluminium body engineering and believes the progression from XK to next XJ (fewer rivets, more extrusions, extra strength but the same fundamental process) will take the new flagship well beyond Audi, the obvious rival, in technical sophistication.The new XJ will offer a choice of two wheelbases, one eight inches longer than the other. The shorter will be the standard model, but this time Jaguar has made it roomy enough for two full-size adults in the back, rather than hurriedly having to produce a long-wheelbase version as a correction for an early mistake.The long-wheelbase version, styled to look graceful and not stretched, will be launched within weeks of the standard version. It will be a true limo, transport for potentates, prime ministers and captains of industry, priced and equipped to suit.

Steve Cropley and Julian Rendell

 

Our Verdict

Jaguar XK

A smooth, svelte all-rounder which can equally cosset and thrill

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Comments
6

1 February 2008

Heres a toast to Jaguars future sucess!

3 February 2008

i'd be interested 2 c how it turned out 2 itz rivals

4 February 2008

A shame not to see any hint of an X-Type replacement. The main criticism of the current car seems to be the dated styling - which I am happy to live with to enjoy the superb chassis and refined, powerful 2.2 diesel. The lack of these at launch was of course a major obstacle to European sales. In the current climate of high fuel prices and "green" taxation, the market for small/mid size "prestige" cars must be strong, and it seems madness not to exploit this and provide a real alternative to the unsettled ride of the 320d and most other class rivals.

5 February 2008

The X type is due to be dropped from the line up, and not before time. it is believed to be going in either 2010 or 2009 to make way for the XF derivatives, as they think they will need the space at Halewood to build them.

The X type is a has been and cannot compete at todays levels. After all it is based on the old Mondeo chassis (which was pretty good), but a mile away from the new one.

Jaguars are boring. I'm sick of hearing about their fresh start and looking to the future, it never arrives at Jaguar.

4 July 2013

I'm a big fan of their estates they always look good and macho.

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