Jaguar's desire to retain the XK’s blend of comfort and refinement, everyday usability and sportiness was called into question last year as the firm explored a shift in direction for the model.
Under that plan, the XK would have developed into a competitor for the Maserati GranTurismo, bringing a larger, more practical cabin and a major increase in the XK’s footprint. Another four inches would have been added to the length and the car would have been given a longer wheelbase.
Although that idea gained strong support from some quarters inside the company late last year, it faced opposition from others, including the design division.
In particular, design boss Ian Callum is understood to have strongly opposed the move for both aesthetic and marketing reasons. Callum is said to have argued that it would be difficult to make a bigger XK look like a sports car, and that it would alienate the existing customer base.
The idea to increase the XK’s overall dimensions was also driven by the plan to slot the XE, a new entry-level two-seater, into Jaguar’s range below the XK.
Jaguar’s engineers have been told to create a BMW Z4-size two-seater, but for cost reasons it will need to use engines, transmissions and axles shared with the XF and XJ.
The bulk of these items had suggested that the XE would be similar in size to the XK, making differentiation between the two cars difficult. Pushing up the XK’s size would have solved this.
However, Jaguar’s engineers have now indicated that they can meet the challenge of slotting parts from larger cars into the smaller XE, allowing Callum’s thinking on the XK to win the day. The car will now remain at its current size.
The rethink also appears to clear the way for the long-rumoured XF coupé, filling the gap in Jaguar’s range for a sleek, four-seat two-door.
A styling buck for that car is said to exist inside Jaguar’s Coventry design centre, inspired by the low-roofed C-XF concept.
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