Next-gen Jaguar XJ Takes Shape

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
next gen jaguar xj takes shape

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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  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Jan 16, 2020

    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.

    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jan 16, 2020

      Tesla already offers such a product, why haven't they conquered that market?

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jan 16, 2020

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

  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.
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