The new 2016 Jaguar XF will be a mini-me XJ and a big brother to the junior XE, judging by CAR magazine’s exclusive new spy photos.
Caught out on test in the West Midlands for the first time, the next Jaguar XF shows the pace of change is unrelenting under Tata’s ownership.
Not content with launching the new F-type in soft-top roadster and now coupe guises in 2013, a rival to the 3-series in the important compact executive sector in 2014 and a new SUV in 2016, now Jaguar is readying a replacement to its biggest selling car, the XF.
Jaguar XF (2016): the secrets of Project X260
Future Jaguar products carry X codenames and this is called Project X260. Our spyshots confirm the now-familiar Jaguar face – with narrow headlamps and what looks like multi-LED daytime running jewellery.
Although we can see the basic three-box saloon shape and details such as twin exhausts and indicators-cum-door-mirrors, it’s best not to comment at this stage on the styling under the psychedelic disguise. Instead, let’s focus on the mechanical package and what we know about it.
The XF goes aluminium
Jaguar is gradually overhauling all traces of Fordness from its product line-up – and the XF’s DEW98 architecture, which can trace its roots back to the Jaguar S-type and beyond – is consigned to the scrapheap for the 2016 model.
In comes Jaguar’s latest aluminium architecture, proving that Coventry is intent on ramming home its advantage in alloy building. It now claims to make more Al cars than anyone else – including Audi.
The PLA aluminium-intensive platform means the next XF will be predominantly rear-wheel drive, but 4wd will be offered to those who want it. Handy if you live in a wintry American state or struggle with the idea of putting the XFR’s 550bhp through a solitary axle.
More importantly, the latest underpinnings mean the XF can retain its current footprint but squeeze in better interior packaging to make more space for bodies and baggage. Good news for a car that’s fallen behind its German rivals on roominess.
Jaguar XF saloon and estate coming again
The X260 four-door comes first, slated for a debut in late 2015 or early 2016 according to CAR’s sources.
The replacement Jaguar XF estate follows a year later, following the sleek-but-spacy Sportbrake formula.
Insiders talk of the XF nudging upmarket, pushed by the new XE below. X260 will be powered by the four-cylinder Ingenium engine family, although V6 and V8 power are likely on top-end sports and export models. This prototype is running the 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine.
A nine-speed ZF automatic, stop-start and – eventually – hybridisation will trim the next Jaguar XF’s emissions and thirst for fuel, promise engineering sources.
The Jaguar renaissance comes full circle
This is an important juncture for Jaguar. The XF was the first clean-sheet design to come under the leadership of styling director Ian Callum and in many ways signified the rebirth of modern Jaguar – and the death of British pipe ‘n’ slippers.
CAR has run several Jaguar XFs over the years since it launched. Read our latest XF long-term test review here.