Jaguar’s next generation of sports cars is on the verge of ditching its E-type-inspired oval grille because the design isn’t sufficiently adaptable.
The company’s designers are struggling to stretch the shape to fit the nose of the two new models: the XK and new XE.
“The problem is that the proportions are all wrong when the shape is stretched. They’re not sure if it has got much more life left,” said an insider.
The solution also hasn’t been decided yet, although it could be argued that a shape like that of the new XJ/XF grille makes sense for a small car company like Jaguar, which could boost its brand clarity by focusing on a single, memorable grille design.
Getting the BMW Z4-sized front-engined, rear-drive XE to market is taking longer than some insiders had hoped. Although the two-seater is being planned in aluminium as a platform derivative of the next-generation XK coupé and convertible, the exact direction of each model is the subject of a fierce debate internally.
One faction reckons the next XK needs to get bigger and more luxurious to make room for the smaller car. That envisages the XK growing up to a size close to Maserati’s GranTurismo and featuring a pair of proper rear seats.
But another wants the XK to keep to its current theme and dimensions, which historically has been the foundation of its sales. The challenge is engineering the two cars on the same platform so they share costly elements like the front bulkhead and engine bay, but are also positioned sufficiently apart from each other to appeal to different customers at different price points