Plans to add a diesel engine to the current Jaguar XK are still being championed by some parts of the company, according to senior sources closely associated with the project.
Around 20 prototype diesel XKs have been built and tested, but the project was thought to have been canned because of reservations about the potential success of the model.
Arguments made against an XK oil-burner include the fact that it could cannibalise sales of the petrol XK in Europe, and that diesel power may sit oddly with Jaguar’s sportiest model, despite the considerable success of the diesel BMW 6-series.
The project’s supporters argue that while a diesel XK would take sales from the petrol version, XK sales are significantly down and they would benefit from a new variant — especially one that significantly increases the cost-effectiveness of the car. The recent acclaimed update of Jaguar’s twin-turbo 3.0 V6 diesel, which now has 271bhp, would make an oil-burning coupé still more credible.
It remains likely that the next generation of XK, due in 2013, will offer a diesel version from launch. In that car, which will be lighter than the current version, the engine could achieve a sub-5.0sec 0-60mph time. It would also help boost production to 10,000 to 12,000 units per year.