NEW XJ WILL OUT-PRESTIGE THE FORTHCOMING J-PACE – AUTOCAR

The Jaguar XJ will retain its place as the range-topping model in Jaguar’s line-up in its next generation, according to design boss Ian Callum.

Callum said there was now a “consensus” within the company that the XJ, rather than a large SUV, will remain the firm’s flagship, even if such a model does eventually appear. To that end, a ‘J-Pace’ model (pictured below), to sit above the F-Pace in Jaguar’s SUV range, is still expected, albeit with careful positioning.

“An SUV was discussed but it’s not the mainstay of the brand,” Callum told Autocar.

 “There’s more sophistication for a flagship sedan than a flagship SUV. Only one brand can have an SUV as its flagship due to its origins and that’s Land Rover.”

Callum said the very idea of a saloon needed to be reinvented, following the rapid rise of the SUV, the issue of electrification and the fact that markets such as North America have started taking to hatchbacks with the success of Tesla.

Jaguar will continue with SUVs, though, according to Callum, and ensure they are always “sporty ones”. On the current XJ, Callum said its design remains popular because it is “different” to its rivals. He added:

“The coupé profile is something I obsessed over. Some people don’t agree with it. Everything else is three-box; people simplify and categorise things. (If you do that), you lose the opportunity to define in your own way. The XJ covers that well.”

Callum admitted the XJ was “a personal thing for me”, and he saw it as “a fundamental part of Jaguar”. He added: “It’s there and it says what Jaguar is about.”

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COULD XJ13 HAVE BEATEN THE GT40 AT LE MANS? FIND OUT IN THE NEXT EDITION

I don’t think it has been thoroughly analysed before because it never raced and ran out of time – but could the XJ13 have won at Le Mans against the might of Ford and its GT40?

We have now conducted a very thorough examination the facts and direct comparisons, and you may be surprised at our independent conclusions.

More than that even – why didn’t the XJ13, especially since it had a purpose-built new quad cam V12 engine, ever race?

1964 Ford GT

We have found out why, and why the entire secret programme stalled and caused a huge amount of angst amongst Jaguar’s Experimental Department engineers and test drivers – some of whom raced the GT40 or other similar sportscars at the time!

Through Lofty England, Jaguar even borrowed a GT40 from Ford Advance Vehicles to examine, and we find the very same car.  We also investigate the scale of the Ford effort to win Le Mans with the GT40 thanks to the late-Frank Gardner who was part of it’s Le Mans programme on multiple occasions.

It is a fascinating story, and also a tribute to the brilliance of Jaguar’s minuscule team of engineers.

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IMAGINE – JAGUAR RACING AT LE MANS …

Formula E is good and something for the future of motor cars, a little strange today though with Renault pulling and out and Nissan coming into the series.

However, Jaguar’s heart, soul and emotions are all to do with roaring sportscars at Le Mans.

This is not a campaign by us or me, that is none of our business, but having been at Le Mans every year Jaguar raced there as a factory team between 1987 and 1993, and having seen the crowds and their outrageous passion there for Jaguar – wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Jaguar return again?

It has won seven times, but today that palls beside Porsche – yet Jaguar beat them face to face in its two more recent victories there.

So, I am just putting the through out there again.

Race Formula E, that’s fine, but it will never come close to a factory team contesting for the top step of the podium at Le Mans.

Jaguar’s heritage and ‘brand’ is built on it.

Just saying …  What do you reckon?

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JAGUAR PLANNING TO BREAK NURBURGRING RECORD WITH PROJECT 8 – AUTOCAR

Jaguar development drivers are pushing the brand’s most powerful road-going car, the XE SV Project 8, to its limit at the Nürburgring, with the objective of setting a new lap record.

The 592bhp saloon model, a Jaguar Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) creation, is at the end of its pre-production schedule and on course for customer deliveries from May 2018. Jaguar is understood to be eager to secure the fastest time for four-door models around Germany’s Green Hell.

The car, which is the brand’s second special edition following the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 in 2014, will have to beat the current quickest four-door, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, and its 7min 32sec time. The XE’s advantage will come with its much clearer track focus, which makes it so far removed from the regular XE that it will be hand-built at SVO’s Technical Centre in Coventry rather than at the regular plant in Solihull.

 

Like the Project 7, the special XE model makes use of Jaguar’s supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine. But power has been ramped up to unprecedented levels, peaking at 23bhp more than the special-edition F-Type. The XE SV is all-wheel drive, rather than being rear-driven like the Project 7, and uses a specially tuned version of its eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox.

The Project 8 is Jaguar’s most accelerative current model, with a 0-60mph time of 3.3sec beating the all-wheel-drive F-Type SVR by two-tenths. This edges the XE SV into the realms of the Porsche 911 GT3 and ahead of fellow limited-run track special, the BMW M4 GTS.

Jaguar’s £149,995 model uses racing-specification bodywork to produce downforce. It gets an adjustable front splitter, a flat underbody, a rear diffuser and carbonfibre bumper, and an adjustable rear wing.

Although the exterior looks broadly similar to the regular XE, it has been extensively reworked: 75% of the bodywork is new, with only the front doors and roof unchanged from the production models. In particular, the front headlights have been moved forward by 14mm to allow for extra cooling and engine work.

 

The Project 8 gets a bespoke carbonfibre bonnet that’s 3kg lighter than the production version. It also includes an air extraction duct for extra engine cooling.

Its widened body features arches that extend 55mm further out to accommodate the 305-width tyres. The revised panels required SVO engineers to also install custom-made rear doors.

The car’s exterior has been developed with wind tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics simulations. Jaguar says it has achieved a 205% reduction in lift in Track mode, with the car producing more than 122kg of downforce at 186mph.

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