Jaguar has scrapped plans to replace the XK coupe and convertible with a 2+2 built off a stretched F-Type platform. Coventry has also decided against building a production version of the C-X75 supercar, known internally as Spectre after its cameo role in the most recent 007 film. Instead, it will build two upscale EVs: one designed to ultimately replace the XJ sedan, the other a premium SUV.
Codenamed X590, the large luxury EV is said to be a breathtaking four-door coupe with a rear hatch. The decision to build the X590 signals a dramatic shift in strategy by JLR as it attempts to build a presence in a segment dominated by the Mercedes-Benz S-class and BMW’s 7 Series — and ends a clash between JLR boss Ralf Speth, who wanted a conventional three-box sedan to replace the current XJ, and Jaguar design chief Ian Callum, who had been fighting for a big coupe.
The X590 will use the brand-new electronic architecture developed under the watch of former BMW engineer Wolfgang Ziebart, which can reportedly be adapted to accommodate the software — and hardware – needed for advanced autonomous driving capability. The whispers out of Coventry suggest Jaguar will buy batteries and electric motors from leading third party systems suppliers while defining the performance electronics in-house.
Equipped with all-wheel drive, the X590 effectively takes on Tesla’s Model S. It will come to market a full year before the first of the German luxury EVs, the lineup of which includes the Mercedes EQS sedan (to be positioned between E- and S-class) plus the Audi C e-tron and BMW 9 Series luxury coupes.
JLR is hoping the X590’s style, performance, and early entry into what is predicted to be a growing segment, will give it traction in a market segment where the Jaguar brand has struggled for years. But just in case, the current XJ will stay on sale alongside the X590, and should a conventionally powered replacement for that car be deemed necessary, it would likely be a rebodied version of the long wheelbase model.
The X590 will be followed in 2019 by another EV. Originally planned as a Range Rover, it’s changed brands, but not its mission: “Although it looks sleek, modern and aerodynamically efficient, this model will be rated as an SUV in North-America,” says a well-placed source. “All the SUV-defining hard points are there in place.”
Those who have seen sketches or mock-ups claim that in terms of stance and proportions, this battery-powered Jaguar SUV is even more convincing than Audi´s remarkable Q6 e-tron. It will be offered with a choice of one (RWD) or two motors (AWD), and with three different battery packs tuned for performance, range and charge time.
Both EV Jags, which are likely to be built by Austrian manufacturing specialist Magna, will go on sale just as demand for premium EVs is projected to explode. The production volume of the X590 is currently slated to be between 20,000 and 30,000 vehicles per year, while the SUV, which will be more affordable, is expected to attract between 30,000 and 50,000 customers.
CHANGE OF PACE
SUVs, not sports cars, will secure Jaguar’s future
The F-Pace became the fastest-selling Jaguar in history before anyone had even driven one. As with Porsche and Bentley, SUVs are now seen to be key to securing the long-term future of Jaguar, whose sales and profitability have consistently lagged behind those of sister brand Land Rover.
Joining the F-Pace next year is the E-Pace, which is shares its platform with the Range Rover Evoque. In effect a smaller, lower, and more tightly-packaged F-Pace, the E-Pace will be powered by transversely-mounted inline-four cylinder engines, including 230-hp diesel and 300-hp gas versions for the most expensive models. Buyers will be able to choose between FWD and AWD, and six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic. A mild hybrid will be available, but a plug-in hybrid has not been confirmed.
Some Jaguar insiders are concerned that the E-Pace’s D8 platform, which used to be known as C/D when Jaguar was still owned by Ford and will carry on as D8evo when the Evoque MkII puts in an appearance in late 2019, is heavier than it should be, which may take the edge off performance and efficiency.
Weight was to be less of an issue for the J-Pace, which was to have been built using the same all-aluminum D7u hardware matrix as the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, and positioned above the F-Pace. But the J-Pace is currently on hold as Jaguar now believes the electric SUV is a more worthwhile project in terms of brand building and sales potential.
YES, NO, MAYBE
The lowdown on the rest of the Jaguar lineup
- Higher-quality interior coming with mid-cycle facelift.
- 550-hp XE SVR prototype said to be an M3 beater, but no green light yet.
- Wagon, coupe, convertible versions on hold as money goes to SUVs.
- Wagon version due to appear at 2017 Geneva Show.
- Next-gen car will get slightly larger, with roomier 2+2 interior
- F-Pace SVR with 550-hp V-8 reportedly been approved for production