Jaguar has revealed the face of the new XE, its crucial new sports saloon to fight the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-class. But the XE is just the start of an ambitious regeneration at Jaguar, designed to take the British brand onto a level footing with the German giants (and beyond).
Read on to find out what Jaguar’s cooking up in the next next five years, and what Audi, BMW and Mercedes have to be worried about.
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From 2015: F-type swells into an entire range
The Porsche 911 is forever in the F-type’s crosshairs, and Jaguar will continue to harry Porsche by copying its strategy of regular updates. For 2016, all-wheel drive will be rolled out for most F-types, and Jaguar plans a Speedster inspired by last year’s Goodwood show car. At the bottom of the pile, there are plans for a four-cylinder F-type, running a 300bhp 2.0-litre twin-turbo also earmarked for the Evoque R-S; the range-topping F would be a limited run of 50 or so 600bhp GT Coupe street racers. The ultimate hotshoe editions will be prepared by JLR’s Engineered To Order division. Insiders predict three different tuning stages badged R, R-S and (numbered edition) GT by ETO. One day Jaguar may even return to endurance car racing, but that is not the work of a moment.
2016: New XF
The big news with the second-generation XF is its switch from ancient Ford DEW98 chassis to Jaguar’s new aluminium architecture, unlocking more space, improved refinement and much better efficiency. Codenamed X260, the saloon arrives in late 2015/early 2016, with the estate following around 12 months later. Despite slightly more upmarket positioning, the big-selling XFs will run the new four-cylinder engines. All-wheel drive is again optional, the updated ZF autobox will harbour nine forward ratios, and the car’s overall footprint will be much the same size but with more space-efficient packaging. Brawny R-S and GT versions delivering 550bhp and 600bhp should provide the range’s halo.
2017: New flagship sports car
CAR readers will have spotted the price and performance proximity of F-type and XK. Jaguar plans to fix this by deriving the XK replacement from a significantly stretched F-type platform, and unleashing a bigger, bolder XR-type to take on the Bentley Continental GT. It would be a proper GT with acceptable rear head- and leg-room, a sizeable boot and enhanced creature comforts. The XR name is by no means cast in stone, but it would create a clean break from the XK. The price would nearly double to at least £110,000, a bit below the Bentley and Aston DB9, before options. The big coupe could be offered with V6 engines to boost appeal and economy. A soft-top version would be a necessity.
2018: New XJ
Sometimes you have to go out there to come back, and that’s what Jaguar will do with the next XJ (codenamed X360). Today’s distinctive XJ will be pared back for a more conventional three-box saloon with a more stately glasshouse. Despite the more traditional proportions, the XJ will still look modern and stylish, and self-consciously lavish inside. There will again be two wheelbase options, a notably roomier standard saloon and an even more spacious luxury limo.
2019 XJ coupe
Jaguar management has given the nod to an allegedly breathtaking four-seat ‘coupe’ derived from the XJ architecture. This pillarless eye-catcher harks back to the XJ6/12 C and to the early XJS. With Audi failing to sign off the proposed A9 and BMW being lukewarm about reviving the 8-series, the only serious rival of the two-door XJ is the Mercedes S-class coupe. Expect a range covering V6-engined S to ballsy 650bhp V8 GT. Could this car be too close to the proposed XR coupe? The XJ coupe would be less dynamic in looks and character, cost about £15,000 more and isn’t planned as a convertible.
2020 New supermini
Jaguar is having to think the unthinkable, as the EU emissions average of 95g/km CO2 looms in 2020. A frugal small car, like Audi’s A1/Q1 or BMW’s Mini and next-gen 1-series, is inevitable. A baby Jag will have front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive potential for Land Rover, to ensure sufficient economies of scale. ‘We must come up with something really special, like a modern crossover reincarnation of an Audi A2,’ said an R&D source.
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