Mad Max has been spotted in the Midlands. Heavily disguised beneath thick black plastic cladding, this futuristic-looking prototype is actually Jaguar’s new XJ mule. Snapped prowling around outside Jaguar’s Whitley R&D base, these pictures show the first XJ mule to wear production-ready bodywork.
This new Jaguar XJ looks very low and swoopy…
Indeed it does, and much more stylish than the X351 codename might suggest. Ignore the disguise above the C-pillars and the very un-Jaguar extra-thick disguise all round, and you’ll be able to take in this prototype’s side view. It’s long and low – as the next XJ is based on the current car’s aluminium platform – with four-door coupe looks.
That ‘four-door coupe’ phrase might be loathsome to some, but when Mercedes designed the mould-breaking CLS it designated the car a Jaguar-beater. At the time Jaguar had no such car, but with a design that is promised to be as forward-thinking as the mule’s post-apocalyptic disguise, the next XJ is set to shed its staid styling.
At the front you’ll find XF-inspired headlights – though hopefully more rakish and C-XF alike – while the rear features hi-tech LED tail lamps including the diagonal indicators visible in our pictures.
And inside the new Jag XJ?
Expect more XF influence, with the rotary dial JaguarDrive replacing the trad J-gate gear selector. The new XJ should also feature the XF’s rotating air vents on start-up, plus the latest sat-nav and multimedia systems to keep tired execs entertained; and while wood trim will be on the options list, expect a plethora of metal trims to drag the XJ’s interior kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
>> Click 'Next' below to read more about the new Jaguar XJ's powerplants
What about the power?
The registration of the car in our pictures – VX58 GCZ – tells us this mule is running the new 4997cc engine. It’s Jaguar’s latest V8 with direct injection and available with or without a supercharger. In forced-induction guise you’ll get a meaty 500bhp, while the naturally aspirated motor will still kick out a satisfactory 400bhp. We’ll see this engine for the first time when it’s unveiled in the XF-R at the Detroit motor show in January 2009.
A new 3.0-litre turbodiesel will provide oil-burning power in the next XJ. Developed from the current PSA-Ford twin-turbo 2.7-litre V6 diesel, the new motor should lift power and torque from today’s 204bhp/320lb ft to nearly 250bhp and over 350lb ft.
Matched to the lightweight aluminium body, it should make the next-gen XJ one of the cleanest and most economical cars in its limo class. We’ll see the new car in 2009, probably at the Frankfurt motor show, before sales start in early 2010.
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