Jaguar Green-Lights 3 Series Rival and 2-Seat Sports Coupe
By Chris Haak
Several of us at Autosavant are fans of Jaguars, and their latest offerings in particular (such as the XF Supercharged and the XF Premium) have drawn much well-deserved praise from us. Writing about cars and driving all of the latest and greatest from auto manufacturers certainly tends to jade us, so when the two of us who spent weeklong stints behind the different XF models immediately scoured eBay for used examples, you know that Jaguar has something special on tap. In other words, we were willing to put our money where our mouths (keystrokes?) were, if only XFs would just depreciate a bit faster.
We also, however, do not have any formal editorial stance here. Just because two of us loved the XF does not mean that opinion is universal here. But alas, nothing is able to stop progress, and today we have news [via Auto Express] that Ratan Tata, chairman of Jaguar’s new parent company that carries the same name as him, has approved development of a new flexible architecture that is to be used on several exciting new Jaguar models.
The big news is that a new two-seat sports coupe, to be called the XE, will debut in 2012. It is expected to be built upon a new medium-sized lightweight aluminum platform. Tata has committed to investing £1 billion in Jaguar annually over each of the next five years, and much of that money is likely to be consumed by the new platform. The platform, however, will be scalable and is likely to underpin the next-generation XF. Should that come to pass, it would replace the car’s current steel platform and likely reduce that car’s weight and improve its fuel economy and performance.
The other piece of news referenced in the headline is that the unloved Ford Mondeo-based X-Type – never a proper 3 Series rival in really anything but size and price – will be replaced, to give the company a volume model in a competitive segment and a new lower-priced entry. The X-Type replacement (almost certain to lose that name, in line with the X_ convention established by the XF, XJ, XK, and now XE) would also feature the modular aluminum frame.
Lastly, two small nuggets came out about the XF; the company confirmed production of an XF Estate (wagon), primarily for Western Europe, where wagons estates are still quite popular, and a long-wheelbase XF, primarily for China, where rear-seat comfort is at a premium, because few owners of expensive cars drive themselves there.
Altogether, the next few years should prove to be exciting ones for fans of Jaguar. With 60 percent of XF sales tagged as conquests, it seems that Jaguar is effectively attracting new business, with the obvious side effect of scaring away some of its loyal pipe-smoking, slippers-wearing owners from years past.