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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