By on June 9, 2017

Jaguar F-Type 5.0L V8 - Image: JaguarIan Callum, the director of design at Jaguar, spoke recently at Coventry University’s National Transport Design Centre on various subjects related to the auto industry.

Callum, a Coventry University alumnus, touched on automotive history, autonomous vehicles, the buying process, even Jaguar itself.

Ian Callum also had something to say about the V8 engine, according to CAR Magazine.

Long live the Queen.

Long live the V8.

To begin with, says Callum, the age in which we live isn’t so different from the era in which Callum began his design education, way back in the early 1970s.

“In 1972 nobody wanted cars, because of the oil crisis,” Callum told his audience at Coventry University. “People had written them off. It was a difficult time to go into car design. Politicians had decided that the motor car had a short future and we would all be using public transport.”

The reasons may be different now than they were in 1972, but there is a rising tide of anti-car sentiment. There’s a fear among driving enthusiasts that autonomy will steal our steering wheels. There’s a concern that the constant search for incremental laboratory-measured fuel economy improvements will result in a dearth of naturally aspirated, large displacement engines.Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum Coventry HQ - Image: JaguarCallum, Jaguar’s design boss for nearly two decades and the brother of Moray Callum, Ford’s vice president for design, isn’t denying the future.

“The process of autonomy is a given,” Callum says.

“When will that turning point be? In my opinion it will be sooner than a lot of people think,” Callum points out, suggesting that the car industry will lead while governments follow with infrastructure. It all sounds so electrified, so robotic, so uninvolving.

But, says Callum, “I think there will still be a place for V8s.”

Curiously enough, V8s form a small part of the Jaguar world, even in the traditionally V8-friendly United States. Three of five Jaguar nameplates don’t offer a V8. The overwhelming majority of Jaguar XJ sedans are selected with six cylinders; most F-Types are V6-engined, as well. (At Jaguar’s Land Rover partner, U.S. sales of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport in the first five months of 2017 included 5,944 V8-powered vehicles; another 11,868 with V6s.)

Perhaps this serves to explain Callum’s V8 theory. Jaguar’s design director believes there’s a place for V8s in the future due precisely to the anticipated rarity.

“Because there will be so few of them, the fuel they burn will be a drop in the ocean.”

You can have a V8. Just don’t let your neighbor get hold of one, too.

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]

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35 Comments on “The V8 Engine Has a Future After All, Says Jaguar’s Design Head...”

  • avatar

    I expect big-dollar ~4.0L turbo V8s will stick around for around for awhile (like the next 20 years).

    However, I don’t think there will be a naturally-aspirated V8 available in *anything* but HD tucks past 2024. Naturally-aspirated 6-cylinders will probably be gone around that time too.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Indeed. Jaguar / Land Rover quietly killed off its own N/A 5.0-liter AJ V8. Now, you can only get the supercharged version, and only on the top-shelf products.

  • avatar

    I’m getting tired of this talk of the rapidly approaching inevitability of automation. From what I’m seeing we are nowhere close. OK, Google has some cars running around Cali. Let’s see how it does on the Northeast in a blizzard. Let’s see how it does in the Southeast during a downpour. Let’s see how it does at the Lincoln Tunnel during rush hour. Let’s see how it does in Mumbai. Etc. I’m not saying these scenarios can’t be overcome, but I haven’t seen that we are anywhere near close yet. I keep hearing statements like “Ford isn’t just competing with car companies… it’s competing with Apple and Google”. Since when? What do Apple or Google sell that competes directly with anything in the Ford lineup? The hype over automotive autonomy is completely out of control.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      Amen, the hype machine is way out in front. Don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here at the corner station pumping gas and checking my oil, then somehow making it through traffic using my own eyes, hands, and feet.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the context of this conversation is that there are about 46,000 auto deaths a year in the US. This doesn’t include maimings, mental suffering, etc.. So that’s the bar which automation must better.

      As a motorcyclist, it seems a fair portion of the driving public is just aiming in the general direction of their destination, and sort of drifting randomly within the confines of the road/shoulder/any flat area – as they progress. They don’t want to drive, they take no pleasure in driving, they would rather be somewhere else –

      My take – invest in public transport – lots of it, and make it nice.

      • 0 avatar

        “My take – invest in public transport – lots of it, and make it nice.”

        the downside is it’s only nice until the first wasted sleeping homeless guys craps his pants on the train. saw that more than once in Japan.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think massive investments in public transport make much sense at this point in time. Have you spent much time outside of big cities? I grew up in NYC and live in the Southeast now. There’s just no way to efficiently cover suburban sprawl with public transportation. Automation can fix this by essentially enabling a public ride-share program, but again, it has to overcome the current performance hurdles to get to that point.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes, here in the Seattle area, the suburbs and exurbs will never be effectively served by mass-transit. That means that people will have to drive to a park & ride lot in order to use the transit system.

          And our transit agencies are so rabidly anti-car that they purposefully do not build enough park & rides, thus ensuring that most people will never use transit.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree.

      it will happen but honestly feel it is a solid 20 to 25 years away. The technology is just not there and the last 5% will take as long as the first 95% to get right.

    • 0 avatar

      “Let’s see how it does on the Northeast in a blizzard.”

      When there is a blizzard in the Northeast everyone stays home.

    • 0 avatar

      “Landing and moving around on the moon offer so many serious problems for human beings that it may take science another 200 years to lick them.”

      -Science Digest, 1948

      • 0 avatar

        We’re starting to see bits and pieces of technology that will enable a machine to see far better than any human. Try seeing around a corner. How about near perfect vision in a raging blizzard? It’s coming:

      • 0 avatar

        The machines weren’t doing the thinking for the moon missions, and even if they were, there are a lot fewer decisions to be made gliding through open space than there are negotiating hectic traffic and pedestrians.

      • 0 avatar

        Science Digest wasn’t privvy to whatever NASA was doing at the time, and in any case the fact that you compare autonomous cars to going to the moon speaks to my point. The only people who think this is happening soon are the folks who are going on nothing but zeal and belief.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. The hype and the assumption that the public wants this is out of control.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      We have been witnessing the onset of automation since the 1980s.

      Features like traction and stability control, anti-skid brakes were the beginning. Even cruise control.

      Gradually all these systems will tie with each other with plethora of new features.

      It is closer than you think.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t disagree that these techs have paved the way, but they all still require human oversight. I think you are really underestimating how far we have to go.

        We might need to take a tiered approach… I could see, for example, highway travel becoming automated first, as that’s the simplest. But navigating surface streets, construction zones, inclement weather, etc.? We’re still a way off- at least far enough IMO that it’s silly to deem Apple and Ford competitors.

    • 0 avatar

      I love cars. I love driving. Autonomous cars, however, is a no-brainer. In my opinion we need this. Given the population density and traffic I experience every day of my commute I would rather be doing anything than driving through it. What happens when I’m too old and blind to drive? I’d love to be able to still have personal mobility to travel somewhere without relying on others to take me.
      I also love motorcycles. I’m hoping autonomous cars will be smart enough to allow me to ride on public roads with less fear of and reliance upon other people to see and not hit me.

      • 0 avatar

        As someone who commutes by bike ~5-6K/year, I agree. Aside from the time I’m able to cut out of my commute, with the great roads we have here it’s a real treat. Given how risk-averse society become we should count our stars motorcycles are still allowed at all. I’m going to enjoy mine as much as I can.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t see why car autonomy has to be a binary. Sometimes on I long highway cruise, I would love to switch on autopilot, lean back, and listen to my audiobook. However, I wouldn’t want to be on autopilot all the time.

          I just can’t see a car without physical controls ever being road legal.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      “What do Apple or Google sell that competes directly with anything in the Ford lineup?”

      Apple and Google want you to be on your devices more so you can be marketed to. Driving is the only time of day during which they can’t get at you. Ford has to sell sexy cars; Tech firms can dispense with the sex and sell you a pod in which you can consume – and generate – content.

      They’re not concerned with road deaths and don’t believe them if they say so.

  • avatar

    I believe it was Ferry Porsche who said, “The last car ever made will be a sports car.”

  • avatar

    Grew up on V8s. Drove V6 for 10-12 years. Was having no luck finding a car I liked and driving the wife crazy. She says, “Well what do you really want?” I say, “A V8.” She says to go get one. Love my 1UZ-FE! V8s forever!

  • avatar

    Hate to say this but the three cylinder engine is next down the line! So sad!

  • avatar

    “By our deeds we honour Him… V8.”

  • avatar

    V8s will make a strong comeback, in all sorts of passenger cars when we come to our senses.

    The whole thing is stupid. Turbos are no different than cubic inches or cylinders “on demand”.

    You have blame CAFE, political “correctness”, the ignorant belief we fight wars for oil and that all modern V8s are evil.

    If it’s a FWD, I understand it’s a packaging issue, but there isn’t anything RWD (and RWD/4WD), midsize and up (4,000 lbs and up), that isn’t better off with a V8, all things considered. There’s not enough “fuel savings” to take the boosted V6 downgrade. And for negligible weight savings.

  • avatar

    I have to wonder what Jaguar sees in the V-8.

    I remember Jack’s list of cylinder desirability. The V-8 stood out in that it made zero engineering sense, but made all kinds of sense to Americans who grew up on American muscle (or possibly knowing they were denied as much do to cars made in the malaise era). My point is wondering why in the world Jag wants anything to do with such engines.

    A V-12 belongs in a Jag. A straight 6 is the cheap and cheerful substitute (and supercharge it, please). There really isn’t a point to a V-8, unless you want an insufficiently long hood on your Jag.

    [and yes, I’m the type of sucker who looks at the prices of an XF (v-8) and wonders how long the transmission will hold out].

    • 0 avatar

      You’re not an Engineer are you? V8’s make quite a bit of engineering sense, in that primary and secondary shaking forces are inherently self cancelling, plus it can be a very powerful engine in a compact package. A straight 6 has more torsional vibration of the crankshaft than a V8, plus is more difficult to package.

      Jaguar hasn’t had a V12 in 20 years and it’s never coming back. It’s too big an an engine and that increases the amount of coolant which in turn makes it very difficult to meet the warm up emission standards.

      Why wouldn’t the transmission in the XF hold up? They are either ZF or Mercedes boxes, both of which have excellent reputations.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        The primary advantage of a V8 is the shorter crankshaft compared to an I8 or even a large I6 or V12.

        As an aside, I’ve occasionally wondered if something like a U6 would be feasible: two offset-crank I3s in a common block with staggered cylinders. Designing the head would certainly be an adventure.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    “The primary advantage of a V8 is the shorter crankshaft compared to an I8 or even a large I6 or V12.”

    This. It’s the most power in a reasonable footprint to fit in a car. My beef with modern V8s is that domestic designers and manufacturers are lazy in the pursuit of power, and simply add displacement to get it. The aluminum 6.0L in my V puts out 400 horsepower. A big number but, extrapolated downwards, is 100 HP from a 1.5L mill. Not really stupendous these days. I love BMW’s 4.4L V8 with 315 HP. My 2006 Mustang can’t make that with 4.6L. With modern technology and materials there is no reason why a 3.5L V8 can’t produce 300 reliable horsepower.

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