By on January 15, 2020

A new Jaguar flagship is on the way, and the latest evidence of this shadowy cat is a series of spy photos snapped of a camo-clad sedan sitting atop a trailer. While the sedan itself is quite familiar, what’s underneath seems all-new.

Certainly, old-timey Jag aficionados won’t recognize what’s under the hood when the new range-topper arrives.

The long-running XJ, for decades the loftiest model in the Jag stable, ceased production back in the summer. Sales had plummeted both in Europe and in North America, and looming EU emissions standards awaiting automakers in 2020 made it necessary for the automaker to make drastic changes.

So, the XJ’s plug was pulled, and Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralph Speth took time during the September launch of the Land Rover Defender to talk up the coming car. “Our engineering team is in full swing to deliver the world’s first, full-electric luxury sports saloon, the flagship of Jaguar, the all-new XJ,” Speth told the assembled journos, as reported by Roadshow.

It was at that point Jaguar provided a teaser image, seen above, of the rear of the upcoming XJ. At the time of the cancellation, many suggested the vehicle will toss the sedan blueprint into the dustbin in favor of a coupe-like liftback for added cargo capacity, but the teaser image, plus Speth’s use of the word “saloon,” seems to suggest otherwise.

Sedans aren’t selling, and electric vehicles are still finding their feet. Some added versatility — all-wheel drive, a liftgate — are things that could sweeten the XJ’s chances of success. Still, with Mercedes-Benz and other German marques planning EV flagships of their own, the XJ would need to more or less stay in its own lane to counter those threats (and avoid stepping on the toes of the I-Pace SUV).

The XJ’s replacement by an electric — or more specifically, electrified — successor was long predicted by British publication Autocar, which tipped off the world to the XJ’s imminent demise. That death came to pass, and now we have spy shots from Auto Express showing the next XJ’s bones carting around the body of a run-of-the-mill XF.

Jag’s XJ will make use of the new MLA platform (Modular Longitudinal Architecture), which can incorporate a variety of powertrains: fully electric, mild hybrid, and plug-in hybrid. With MLA, Jaguar can tailor the vehicle to specific markets.

While the EV realm is still a scary place for automakers (the I-Pace suffered diminished sales and bloated inventories last year), EU lawmakers have given companies little choice in the matter. Makers of big, prestigious vehicles need eco-conscious siblings to lower their fleetwide emissions footprint, lest they face hefty fines.

The next-gen XJ is expected to roll out of Jag’s overhauled Castle Bromwich plant in the UK before the end of the year.

[Images: Jaguar]

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9 Comments on “Next-gen Jaguar XJ Takes Shape...”

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Considering that Jaguar/Land Rover’s budget must be significantly smaller than that of its German competitors, I’m surprised they’ve got so much going right now, between the I-PACE, the new I6 MHEV powertrain and the upcoming all-electric XJ.

    • 0 avatar

      “budget must be significantly smaller than that of its German competitors”

      Well, engineering salaries and office costs in India are much lower than in Germany.

      • 0 avatar

        It would be cheaper, but JLR engineering is done in the UK. Instead of being snarky and completely incorrect, a not uncommon occurrence among this site’s know-it-alls, five minutes on the web would have shown you your assertion to be incorrect.

        “For a company that designs, engineers and manufactures the majority of its products in the UK,” is direct from their website. And the employees at Gaydon Engineering Centre would no doubt be surprised their citizenship and location has changed at the whim of an anonymous internet expert.

        Check out the jobs available and where they’re located:

        Meanwhile, it could be said with some authority that Boeing could well do with a lot less Indian contract engineering. That is at least well-documented, unlike the assertion you make of JLR, which was obviously made up in your head.

  • avatar

    People don’t seem to want EVs besides Tesla, which has…je ne sais quoi.

    I don’t see that changing any time soon. I think that the EV market is small, and Tesla is going to own it.

  • avatar

    I hope the new XJ does not have that awful blacked out C-pillar again. I always HATED that and thought it ruined the handsome look of the previous XJ.

  • avatar

    Eventually the New York masters-of-the-universe chauffeured luxury sedan market is going to switch to EVs en masse. No drawbacks in that application and all sorts of benefits, both real and for image. I expect this XJ to be the first of several products engineered especially for that market, which accounts for quite a few of the total large luxury sedan sales in America.

  • avatar

    Looks like it has a trunk… this is an interesting development.

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