Currently reading: 2019 Jaguar XJ to be reborn as high-tech electric flagship
Luxury flagship will use cutting-edge tech to steal a march on S-Class and 7 Series

The Jaguar XJ will be reinvented as an electric car for its next generation, which will go on sale in 2019 after a launch at the end of 2018, the 50th anniversary of the first XJ.

The XJ is Jaguar’s flagship model and debate has raged within the company over exactly what sort of vehicle the XJ should be in the future, and even if it should exist at all.

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Autocar has learned that the decision has been taken to replace it, despite the tougher market for luxury saloons in the face of the rising popularity of luxury SUVs. However, it is being replaced not with a like-for-like model but with one that reinvents the very idea of a luxury saloon as an electric car and can act as a high-tech flagship for Jaguar.

As well as aiming for the success Tesla enjoys with its larger models, the new XJ will be pitched as a cutting-edge alternative to luxury saloons such as the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

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A virtue will be made of its alternative positioning, similar to how buyers may shop between an S-Class and a Range Rover when buying a luxury model, despite the different body styles.

Turning the XJ into an electric car is a bold move, but the model has always been an innovative one for Jaguar, not least its two most recent iterations. The X350-generation XJ, launched in 2003, was the first aluminium car from Jaguar and the X351, introduced in 2009 and still on sale now, completely broke away from the design themes that had largely followed the XJ since its 1968 launch. Reinventing the model as an EV, Jaguar argues, is the best way of keeping it relevant as the industry experiences an unprecedented level of change related to electrification.

The all-new XJ is being developed alongside a new, more car-like Range Rover model, dubbed ‘Road Rover’ internally. It will not use that name for production but will be a Range Rover due to the huge cachet of that brand.

Despite its close relationship to a model from Jaguar’s sister company Land Rover, the XJ will retain a sleek saloon profile, albeit with a switch from a four-door layout to a five-door.


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The Jaguar XJ is a thoroughly modern luxury saloon, and a brilliantly capable one

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Design work on the car has now been completed by design boss Ian Callum and his team. The design is understood to have been well received inside the company and united it in the belief that this reinvented XJ will be a true flagship for the firm, ushering in a new design language for the brand.

Callum told Autocar in September that there was “consensus” within the company that the XJ, a car he considers very personal to him, should remain Jaguar’s flagship in preference to a large SUV, such as the rumoured J-Pace.

Without referencing the XJ directly, he added that the very idea of the saloon needed to be reinvented in the face of electrification, the rise of the SUV and the unexpected acceptance of hatchbacks in the US due to Tesla.

Jaguar will launch its first electric car, the I-Pace, in March. That model will have a significant technology transfer with the XJ. The I-Pace will help position Jaguar as an electric car maker in the eyes of the world and the firm will be keen to maintain that momentum.

To that end, the electric XJ’s arrival couldn’t be better timed. If the I-Pace reaches showrooms next summer as planned, it will be the first premium electric car with a credibly large driving range on sale without a Tesla badge, and the XJ will quickly turn that into a range of Jaguar electric cars.

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The XJ has always found favour in the UK without ever mounting a serious challenge to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class globally, but the next-generation car will be tasked with making huge strides in China and the US, particularly California. That’s because Jaguar senses a once- in-a-generation opportunity to reinvent both the brand and the technology that underpins it, exploiting the company’s smaller size and creative design and engineering base to steal a march on bigger rivals.

The versatile architecture used for the XJ and its Land Rover sibling will be a new aluminium one that will not only underpin electric cars but also traditional piston engines to support more hybrid models. It is understood the XJ will not go down the hybrid route initially – if ever – to avoid diluting the impact around its reinvention.

The electric technology will support twin motors and all-wheel drive. It will be backed with the chassis technology needed to create a supremely luxurious drive and also a sporty one, Jaguar being keen to keep the XJ’s role as the sportiest car in its segment.

To that end, the electric drivetrain will enable strong performance figures and torque vectoring. A range well in excess of 300 miles is expected. 

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Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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Larvea 3 November 2018

Finally some action from Jaguar

Well, what to say except - Finally! Jaguar was constantly lacking in good marketing and this could probably push them a bit further..

Hedonist 23 January 2018

Smart move

Given the push to EV's in California and China then an EV XJ seems very sensible. Good luck to them.

paddyb 22 January 2018

Nobody's buying the thing

Nobody's buying the thing with engines, so they might as well go electric.  XJ sales have bombed as Tesla Model S sales have exploded, so clearly Tesla are onto something.  JLR has far greater profitability / free cashflow than Tesla, plus an advantage in producing interiors and aluminium structures.  They just need to figure out how to make decent electric motors and battery packs, and come up with some kind of charging network.  

k12479 23 January 2018

paddyb wrote:

paddyb wrote:

JLR has far greater profitability / free cashflow than Tesla...

Tesla's investors have been very, or too, patient. JLR's profitability is slipping. For Q1/Q2 revenue went up 9% but profit went down 14%. From the breakdown of Q3 sales its clear that Q3 results will be even worse, hence the noises of Brexit, diesel and now apparently "Concern around the future of petrol and diesel engines..".