Next-gen Jaguar XJ Takes Shape

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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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.

  • Daniel J Until we get a significant charging infrastructure and change times get under 10 minutes, yes
  • Mike I own 2 gm 6.2 vehicles. They are great. I do buy alot of gas. However, I would not want the same vehicles if they were v6's. Jusy my opinion. I believe that manufacturers need to offer engine options for the customer. The market will speak on what the consumer wants.For example, I dont see the issue with offering a silverado with 4cyl , 6 cyl, 5.3 v8, 6.2 v8, diesel options. The manufacturer will charge accordingly.
  • Mike What percentage of people who buy plug in hybrids stop charging them daily after a few months? Also, what portion of the phev sales are due to the fact that the incentives made them a cheaper lease than the gas only model? (Im thinking of the wrangler 4xe). I wish there was a way to dig into the numbers deeper.
  • CEastwood If it wasn't for the senior property tax freeze in NJ I might complain about this raising my property taxes since most of that tax goes to the schools . I'm not totally against EVs , but since I don't drive huge miles and like to maintain my own vehicles they are not practical especially since I keep a new vehicle long term and nobody has of yet run into the cost of replacing the battery on an EV .
  • Aquaticko Problem with PHEV is that, like EVs, they still require a behavioral change over ICE/HEV cars to be worth their expense and abate emissions (whichever is your goal). Studies in the past have shown that a lot of PHEV drivers don't regularly plug-in, meaning they're just less-efficient HEVs.I'm left to wonder how big a battery a regular HEV could have without needing to be a PHEV.