Is It Time to Kiss the Jaguar XJ - at Least As We Know It - Goodbye?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
is it time to kiss the jaguar xj at least as we know it goodbye

The Jaguar XJ, a slinky lineage of high-end saloons known for shuttling around British PMs, fictional heads of MI6, and The Equalizer, might not be around for much longer. At least not in the manner we’re used to seeing it.

British publication Autocar claims the automaker plans to spring a wholly new, “reinvented” flagship model on us before too long, and it won’t have an inline-six, V8, or V12 under the hood. It won’t use any gas at all. Nor will it remain a sedan.

Looking around at today’s vehicular landscape, it may be the only way to save the XJ.

According to the shadowy source of Autocar‘s information, it seems Jaguar still wants a flagship in this era of hot-selling F-Pace SUVs and shrinking large sedan sales. However, it also wants a technological halo car. It’s a strategy we’ve seen followed by several high-end automakers, but the car being replaced (or supplemented with) is usually never a legend. And that the XJ is.

Appearing in 1968 and soon replacing the girthy and slow-selling Mark X as the marque’s flagship, the model’s styling cues and overall silhouette didn’t completely fade to history until the release of the radically revamped current generation in 2009. Along the way, the XJ line ditched its famed inline-six and less-revered V12 engines, adopted aluminum architecture, and fell in love with V6 and V8 powerplants.

Also along the way, premium buyers gravitated elsewhere. While 2017 was the brand’s best sales year in the U.S. and on a global scale, it wasn’t because of the popularity of the XJ. Sales of the range-topping sedan fell 29 percent in the U.S. last year. Volume is half of what it was in 2013, and a quarter of what Jaguar recorded 2004.

It’s no wonder people whispered about whether the XJ had a future at all.

Now we hear the next XJ will appear late this year and go on sale in 2019, earlier than some predictions, as a purely electric car. While the sedan-like profile is said to remain, the model gains five-door practicality in its future iteration.

Interestingly, the Ian Callum-designed car is said to ditch the styling cues of the previous generation, creating a new design direction for the marque. It’s alleged the new model sufficiently impressed top brass in Coventry. Besides these scant details, the model’s capabilities, including range, remain a mystery. However, expect plenty of I-Pace technology to find its way into the XJ.

Jaguar’s upcoming all-wheel-drive electric crossover makes 400 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque from two motors, with a battery pack sufficient for 220 miles of range.

Developed with the Tesla Model S buyer in mind, an electric XJ would also allow the well-heeled to virtue signal their way past top-flight BMW and Mercedes-Benz buyers. As well, Europe’s increasingly strict regulatory environment means a de-emissioned Jag could soon be the only way for Anglophiles to put on airs and not find themselves banned from entering city centers.

Hardcore Brits might shake their head, but traditional passenger cars are in serious danger. Survival often means sacrilege.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]

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  • Cdnsfan27 Cdnsfan27 on Jan 25, 2018

    Here is what we have been told so far by Jaguar. All Jaguars from 2020 on will have some type of electrification from mild hybrid to full BEV. The XJ will remain the flagship, it will be radically different and one of the drivetrains will be a BEV. That does not preclude an ICE version. Will it be a hatch, maybe. Jaguar considers Porsche its prime competition. A Jaguar alternative to the Panamera would make a lot of sense. With Ian Callum penning it, the new XJ will be beautiful, fast, luxurious and worthy of the XJ name.

  • Cobrajet429 Cobrajet429 on Jan 26, 2018

    Jaguar will be gone in 15 years, they have become the modern day Packard, you will understand that if you know what happened to them.

  • SCE to AUX Good summary, Matt.I like EVs, but not bans, subsidies, or carbon credits. Let them find their own level.PM Sunak has done a good thing, but I'm surprised at how sensibly early he made the call. Hopefully they'll ban the ban altogether.
  • SCE to AUX "Having spoken to plenty of suppliers over the years, many have told me they tried to adapt to EV production only to be confronted with inconsistent orders."Lofty sales predictions followed by reality.I once worked (very briefly) for a key supplier to Segway, back when "Ginger" was going to change the world. Many suppliers like us tooled up to support sales in the millions, only to sell thousands - and then went bankrupt.
  • SCE to AUX "all-electric vehicles, resulting in a scenario where automakers need fewer traditional suppliers"Is that really true? Fewer traditional suppliers, but they'll be replaced with other suppliers. You won't have the myriad of parts for an internal combustion engine and its accessories (exhaust, sensors), but you still have gear reducers (sometimes two or three), electric motors with lots of internal components, motor mounts, cooling systems, and switchgear.Battery packs aren't so simple, either, and the fire recalls show that quality control is paramount.The rest of the vehicle is pretty much the same - suspension, brakes, body, etc.
  • Theflyersfan As crazy as the NE/Mid-Atlantic I-95 corridor drivers can be, for the most part they pay attention and there aren't too many stupid games. I think at times it's just too crowded for that stuff. I've lived all over the US and the worst drivers are in parts of the Midwest. As I've mentioned before, Ohio drivers have ZERO lane discipline when it comes to cruising, merging, and exiting. And I've just seen it in this area (Louisville) where many drivers have literally no idea how to merge. I've never seen an area where drivers have no problems merging onto an interstate at 30 mph right in front of you. There are some gruesome wrecks at these merge points because it looks like drivers are just too timid to merge and speed up correctly. And the weaving and merging at cloverleaf exits (which in this day and age need to all go away) borders on comical in that no one has a bloody clue of let car merge in, you merge right to exit, and then someone repeats behind you. That way traffic moves. Not a chance here.And for all of the ragging LA drivers get, I found them just fine. It's actually kind of funny watching them rearrange themselves like after a NASCAR caution flag once traffic eases up and they line up, speed up to 80 mph for a few miles, only to come to a dead halt again. I think they are just so used to the mess of freeways and drivers that it's kind of a "we'll get there when we get there..." kind of attitude.
  • Analoggrotto I refuse to comment until Tassos comments.