The brand’s designers and engineers are mulling key decisions about the direction of the next-generation Porsche 911 rival, chief among which is whether to stick with the current front-mid-engined layout or reinvent it as an electrified – or even pure electric – model with a mid-mounted powertrain. Autocar understands that the latter is favoured by those close to the project.
Speaking recently to Autocar, now former design director Ian Callum revealed he had laid out a blueprint for the next generation of sports car in collaboration with his successor, Julian Thomson. “We could get quite close [to the C-X75],” Callum said.
“There’s still a formula within Jaguar for a front-mid-engined car. I have a preference for mid-engined cars. It’s certainly something I would like to see.”
The suggestion is that Jaguar has progressed at least two design approaches: one in the short-nosed electric/mid-engined format Callum prefers and another with a longer bonnet to accommodate front-mounted internal combustion engines (ICE), including a hybridised V8.
“For an electric sports car,” he added, “you could make a shape like [the C-X75] with the batteries in a T or H-shape through the middle. Or you could make it as a longitudinal internal-combustion mid-engined car. It would be short enough. So the style won’t dictate the drivetrain, but the drivetrain may dictate the style.”
The current F-Type is still set to be on sale for another three years with a round of updates to bring it into line with newer competitors. But Callum confirmed in April that the development cycle for its successor would have to begin “soon”.
One of many stumbling blocks to developing the new sports car is the platform itself, which – if to be designed from scratch and bespoke to the model – would require lots of cash and resources at an uncertain time for Jaguar Land Rover. The company lost £395 million in the last financial quarter and hopes models such as the updated Jaguar XE, new Range Rover Evoque and heavily revised Land Rover Discovery Sport can offset significant recent investments and a slump in demand from China.