Future Felines: Tata Motors CEO Confirms Jaguar XE, X-Type Replacement

Rumors of Jaguar's Porsche 911-fighter -- codenamed the XE -- have been in the ether for years, but it seems as if they're quickly becoming reality. Carl-Peter Forster, CEO of Tata Motors, recently confirmed the XE's development in an interview with Automobilwoche, and also gave a little preview of the Jag and Land Rover models to come.

Forster, who joined the JLR/Tata ranks after leaving General Motors Europe late last year, was quoted as saying he wanted to quickly fill gaps in both Jaguar, Land Rover, and Range Rover lineups. On the Land Rover side, the brand will receive the new Evoque and an all-new Defender, while Jaguar will receive the XE and a replacement for the X-Type sedan.

"We had to initially consider what the brand should look like and what models we should have," Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, told the trade paper. "We are building additional variations on existing models, launching new model lines, and investing in new engines.

"We need a successor to the X-Type," Forster added, "and finally the small sports car that has been discussed for so long. We need both cars in several variations."

Remarkably, the XE itself will be offered in several forms, including a coupe, roadster, 2+2 hardtop, and a hardcore R model. Although rumors suggested the XE, which is considered by some to be a spiritual successor to the original E-Type, could be offered with an electric powertrain, we hear the car will exclusively use a range of six-cylinder engines.

The XE's platform will be a highly modified form of the next-generation XF, and will also be shared with the XK and the successor to the X-Type. Jag's last X-Type didn't exactly set sales charts on fire, but the company hopes its replacement will be stiff competition for the likes of the BMW 3 Series. Expect the new X-Type to be offered in sedan, coupe, and convertible forms.

Sound good? There's still icing on the cake. Our moles tell us Jaguar's engineers are also working on a supercar based off the XK, which could serve as a worthy competitor to the Porsche 911 GT2. Currently, the hottest XK is the XKR 75, which extracts 523 horsepower from a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8. The GT2-killer will slot in above that car, but we've yet to hear any firm performance metrics for the beast.

Development of all three models recently began, so if all goes well, look for the finished products to emerge in the next two to three years.

Source: Autocar, Automobilwoche (Subscription required)

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