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Friday 1st July 2011

Jaguar's Triple Sports Car Treat

Just don't mention the E Type's 'spiritual successor'...


The 'entry level' Jaguar roadster has reached test-mule stage - but it won't look like the F Type concept.
The 'entry level' Jaguar roadster has reached test-mule stage - but it won't look like the F Type concept.
As pictures have now been published of Jaguar's cut-and-shut XK prototype, the cat is well and truly out of the bag about the firm's plan to build a new 'entry level' sports car. So when PH bumped into JLR global brand director Adrian Hallmark and design chief Ian Callum at the launch of the new four cylinder diesel XF in Munich on Monday, we demanded they spill all the beans immediately about this exciting project. They declined, but we ploughed on regardless...

In case you missed an edition of AutoEvoCarBlog, the word is that Jaguar plans to replace the current XK range with two front-engined roadster and coupe models sharing key underpinnings and architecture but different bodywork, powertrains and styling. One will be a new entry-level two-seater (possibly badged XE or XKE) with V6 and (possibly) V8 power that's likely to be revealed 18 months from now. It will be priced between the Porsche 911 and Boxster, we're told, while its sibling will be a more expensive and larger 2+2 that will replace the newly facelifted XK a year or so later.

Adrian Hallmark - global brand director
Adrian Hallmark - global brand director
With the C-X75 'hypercar' also confirmed for production, it all means Jaguar is a few short years away from boasting what could be one of the most glamorous and desirable sports car line-ups in the business.

While it's tempting to talk of the new two-seater as a spiritual successor to the E-type, there's resistance to that idea at Jaguar. Ian told us he doesn't hold with it due to both the weight of expectation and the baggage such a comparison brings. Anyway, the high performance, premium XK is probably closer to the E-type in spirit than a new, harder-edged small sports car.

The last time a junior Jaguar sports car was close to the launch pad was a decade or so ago, when the F Type show concept was revealed to suitably lip-smacking responses at the Detroit Auto show.

The F Type was created by a project team led by Keith Helfet under design boss Geoff Lawson. A heart attack ended Lawson's career tragically early, and the show concept was completed under his appointed successor Callum.

While punters in their droves cried 'just make it', Ian now maintains that few people really appreciated how far from reality the F Type concept was. "We couldn't build it, because it had a really low windscreen and high bonnet," he says, "and by the time we normalised it for production it took all the character out." Reading between the lines it may not have helped the F Type's cause that Ian, in his role as vigorous new broom at Jaguar, was already pursuing his own design agenda.

Ian Callum: It's not a new 'E Type'
Ian Callum: It's not a new 'E Type'
"We developed a mid-engined car in parallel and ran with it as the preferred F Type contender," he says, "but ultimately the board decided that we had to choose between powertrain or product developments, and all the logic pointed to getting the powertrains sorted instead."

That stillborn mid-engined F Type has never been seen in public, but if you can visualise a roadster of Boxster proportions with an XJ220-esque nose and circular air intakes raised above the waistline ahead of the rear arches, you'd be close-ish. (Ian would probably take exception to this simplistic description but forgive us, we've only ever glimpsed this intriguing clay model as an iPhone thumbnail!)

So what of the F Type's 'spiritual successor' today - and why now, if not then?

We've known an entry-level roadster has been a Jaguar priority since 2009 because Ratan Tata said as much, and all subsequent reports suggest it's going to be based around a version of the platform architecture underpinning the new XJ.

"There's always been a case for this car, we're just late getting there," says one of the men making it happen, brand supremo Adrian Hallmark.

"Why did Porsche enter the SUV segment when everyone said it had peaked? It hadn't, that's why. Everyone talks about emerging markets like Brazil and China, but Jaguar's traditional markets are predicted to be bigger than BRICS for the next 20 years, and demand for premium products is set to increase. The only downside is ever increasing pressure on CO2 emissions, which will be addressed by downsizing, hybrids and other technologies - so the death of the sports car is greatly exaggerated."

F Type was a hit, but couldn't be built...
F Type was a hit, but couldn't be built...
According to Adrian, the premium sportscar sector is 'inelastic' which, in schoolboy economic terms means supply and demand are not inextricably bound together. "The space beneath the XK is there, but it's not like bringing XF under XJ where you do three times the volume. For example the Porsche Boxster peaked at 90% of 911 sales, and has been flat for 10 years - if you're going to do this it's not just about a car, you've got to have a whole lifecycle plan."

You've also got to have a few quid in the bank for development, and JLR is sitting on a pretty pile of cash. As well as a hefty £1.126 billion profit last year (which takes into account existing R&D spend), a whole extra billion cleared into the company's bank account last month as the result of a 10 year bond issue.

"The commitment to invest in the Jaguar brand - well, I've never seen anything like it," says Adrian, a high-flyer who's CV includes stints at Porsche and Bentley amongst others. So what could possibly go wrong?

...and a mid-engined rival got further
...and a mid-engined rival got further
A sudden worsening of the global economic outlook could be a fly in the ointment he reckons, otherwise "the devil is in the detail".

"Only we can do a Jaguar, but we need to compete where other companies are excelling. The biggest strategic mistake we've made before is doing neo-Jaguar design instead of designing for the future. Not every car needs to look the same, and I think some of our competitors are reaching a level of 'sameness' that's dangerous," he says, adding the Jaguar brand can definitely support the broad 'bandwidth' that has allowed the hard-core - and widely acclaimed - XKR-S to emerge. "The XK is very much a GT, but the R-S has been invaluable to see just how sporty people imagine Jaguar can be."

Ian agrees that a new entry level sports car should have a harder performance edge to it.

"If you define a sports car for two people, it has to be delivering driving focus. If you define a 2+2 it's a GT car for touring," he tells us.

"My design approach won't change from what we're already doing," he says. "Fantastic proportions and great lines, and always pushing boundaries to get proportions as good as I can."

Will C-X75 herald a 'volume' supercar?
Will C-X75 herald a 'volume' supercar?
"The front graphic of the C-X75 is something you'll see in the future - I've learned the Jaguar oval is not assertive enough - and sports cars are interesting because you always feel the need to put in a certain amount of 'curvaceousness'; that classic coke bottle styling if you will, and I don't mind that at all." As for the rest? "You'll have wait and see!"

Having touched briefly on the limited volume, extraordinarily high-tech and fabulously expensive hypercar in development with partner the Williams F1 team, we were intrigued to know where Ian thought the project might lead. And he acknowledges that while there's no current strategic or business plan for Jaguar to develop a presence in the 'mainstream' supercar sector, it could open doors in future.

"The reason we're doing CX75 is that we want to demonstrate our amazing innovation and technical prowess," he says. But could it lead to a less esoteric supercar project in future? "Well it's nice to think that might be possible, and it's a direction I'd personally like to go in," he says. (Hold the front page - that makes it 'official'! Ed.)

The £700k bolide's final specification is still being refined, and while it was expected that a version of the proposed 'new for 2014' 1.6 litre four cylinder F1 engine would be used in the Jaguar, the news that the engine planned for F1 has been now been officially re-spec'ed as a V6 means Jaguar and Williams will surely have to react.

So if they've got to make the engine bay bigger anyway, let's hope they remember to leave room for a supercharged V8...

 

Chris-R
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300bhp/ton

Original Poster:

29,629 posts

78 months

[news] 
Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
I don't get it, why does everyone always assume the E-Type was a small, lightweight 2 seater sports car only?? confused

All of the V12 Series 3's where long wheel base 2+2 models, many with automatic transmissions too and weighing in at 1525kg, even in 1971!. The XJ-S was 100% a spiritual successor to this model.



Edited by 300bhp/ton on Friday 1st July 08:28

Daggsy

416 posts

140 months

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Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
I like the Red pic, it reminds me so much of my beloved TVR Griff. Hope it goes into production looking like that, with two big bellowing exhaust pipes. What a spiritual successor to two iconic Design Council winning real dream cars it would be.

Frimley111R

5,897 posts

122 months

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Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
Daggsy said:
I like the Red pic, it reminds me so much of my beloved TVR Griff. Hope it goes into production looking like that, with two big bellowing exhaust pipes. What a spiritual successor to two iconic Design Council winning real dream cars it would be.
Not a chance unfortuantely. Jaguar have long since ditched that retro styling. I'm not even sure why PH put it up there. The new car will follow current Jagaur design trends.

Insight

601 posts

86 months

[news] 
Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
You know it wouldn't be that difficult to take an XK8 and re-body with that F type... surprised no kit car company has done it thus far.

hornetrider

49,868 posts

93 months

[news] 
Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
Jaguar are producing some fantastic looking cars at the moment, this can only be good news.
Advertisement

Chris-R

744 posts

75 months

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Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
Frimley111R said:
Not a chance unfortuantely. Jaguar have long since ditched that retro styling. I'm not even sure why PH put it up there. The new car will follow current Jagaur design trends.
That's right - but there aren't any pictures of the new car yet... smile

Fetchez la vache

4,443 posts

102 months

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Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
Chris-R said:
That's right - but there aren't any pictures of the new car yet... smile
I hope that's irony?


...ok, it's just a mule.

But I rather like someone elses mock up..


Edited by Fetchez la vache on Friday 1st July 09:45

MSTRBKR

6,053 posts

86 months

[news] 
Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
Adrian Hallmark said:
"Only we can do a Jaguar, but we need to compete where other companies are excelling. The biggest strategic mistake we've made before is doing neo-Jaguar design instead of designing for the future. Not every car needs to look the same, and I think some of our competitors are reaching a level of 'sameness' that's dangerous,"
Thank goodness for that. He's probably referring directly to Audi and BMW here, their design language being spread over all their cars is far too similar, and looks crap and boring to boot.

People are beginning to notice that so if Jaguar make some stunning looking different cars we're on to a winner.

c0ldpl4ya

1,287 posts

76 months

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Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
MSTRBKR said:
Thank goodness for that. He's probably referring directly to Audi and BMW here, their design language being spread over all their cars is far too similar, and looks crap and boring to boot.

People are beginning to notice that so if Jaguar make some stunning looking different cars we're on to a winner.
Agreed.
Can really see Jaguar doing very well over the coming years, and clearly already are with a billion in profit!

a small sports car in 18 months time sounds very attractive to me as il have just finished uni and entering my career, hope its a stunner!

Chris-R

744 posts

75 months

[news] 
Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
Fetchez la vache said:
I hope that's irony?


...ok, it's just a mule.

But I rather like someone elses mock up..


Edited by Fetchez la vache on Friday 1st July 09:45
Yes, that's the mule mentioned in the article, but a cut and shut XK doesn't indicate much more than wheelbase/general proportions. The Topspeed image is merely guesswork - I'm guessing...

snaelro

83 posts

43 months

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Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
lots of hype around the brand and its rebirth these last couple of years...a good PR work I think, because if you google "jaguar sales results 2003", it shows that Jag was selling more cars than it does now, even not taking into account the X-type.
the S-type out sold the XF in comparable time of their life. the old XJ was, as the new one, out selling S-class and 7 series together in the UK, but peaking at 1000 units a month in the US, twice as much as the current one...

their profit is due to spending cuts and platform cost (all from previous generations) that are now covered.

Frimley111R

5,897 posts

122 months

[news] 
Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
Adrian Hallmark said:
"Only we can do a Jaguar, but we need to compete where other companies are excelling. The biggest strategic mistake we've made before is doing neo-Jaguar design instead of designing for the future. Not every car needs to look the same, and I think some of our competitors are reaching a level of 'sameness' that's dangerous,"
Thank goodness for that. He's probably referring directly to Audi and BMW here, their design language being spread over all their cars is far too similar, and looks crap and boring to boot.

People are beginning to notice that so if Jaguar make some stunning looking different cars we're on to a winner.
BFD to that!! A TT was behind me on the motorway yesterday and I thought it was an A4! What idiot thought a sports car owner wants their car to look like an everyday saloon?

Justayellowbadge

33,853 posts

130 months

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Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
Insight said:
You know it wouldn't be that difficult to take an XK8 and re-body with that F type... surprised no kit car company has done it thus far.
Not the F, but close:

http://www.xk180.com/jaguar-xk180-home

Ex Boy Racer

561 posts

80 months

[news] 
Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
Makes me laugh. Designers waffle on about brand DNA and staying true to the brand values. Particularly Callum. But when these are encompassed in the E-type he doesn't want to be bound by them anymore.
"let's forget about that one because it was a bit special and we can't follow it...'

TheRoadWarrior

1,226 posts

66 months

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Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
Frimley111R said:
Adrian Hallmark said:
"Only we can do a Jaguar, but we need to compete where other companies are excelling. The biggest strategic mistake we've made before is doing neo-Jaguar design instead of designing for the future. Not every car needs to look the same, and I think some of our competitors are reaching a level of 'sameness' that's dangerous,"
Thank goodness for that. He's probably referring directly to Audi and BMW here, their design language being spread over all their cars is far too similar, and looks crap and boring to boot.

People are beginning to notice that so if Jaguar make some stunning looking different cars we're on to a winner.
BFD to that!! A TT was behind me on the motorway yesterday and I thought it was an A4! What idiot thought a sports car owner wants their car to look like an everyday saloon?
Just look at the audi stand at Goodwood this year- not only are all the cars seemingly slightly different sized versions of the same car... they painted all of them white FFS! Are they actively trying to confuse their potential customers..??!

sunsurfer

252 posts

69 months

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Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
snaelro said:
lots of hype around the brand and its rebirth these last couple of years...a good PR work I think, because if you google "jaguar sales results 2003", it shows that Jag was selling more cars than it does now, even not taking into account the X-type.
the S-type out sold the XF in comparable time of their life. the old XJ was, as the new one, out selling S-class and 7 series together in the UK, but peaking at 1000 units a month in the US, twice as much as the current one...

their profit is due to spending cuts and platform cost (all from previous generations) that are now covered.
Hmmm... interesting information Snaelro. What does this tell us? That the S-type was not universally derided for its retro styling and neither was the XJ?
Impression I get is there is not much wrong with the product but over the past decade Jaguars image has been slipping in the national and international consciousness. It is hard to compete with BMW, Mercedes et al. This is not just Jaguar's problem as Saab couldn't hack it nor could Renault, Citroen and Cadillac and Lexus (in Europe). I think the 'answer' to a slipping image is hype and marketing. Jaguar is doing this well the concept car C-X75 wowed and generated a lot of column inches. with even more column inches when they put it into production.
Guys at Jaguar are doing well - keep up the hype, PR and marketing as it entices people to try and buy the cars. Thus paying for the development of exciting new cars.

pb63

192 posts

51 months

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Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
Jaguar is a company of missed opportunity. It should have brought a (real) successor to the etype by now. The last good thing jaguar produced was the etype and since then it's been lacking somewhat.

The F-type looked great in mock up and it's a real shame they were constrained in the technicals.

I don't understand why they are investing in the xc75 - as pretty as it is - when we're still waiting for a proper sports car which would at least revive Jaguar as a sportscar company as well as prestige marque with some meaningful volume in this segment. Jag, desperately need something in the boxter band.

I wish they would just do something soon, rather than all of this development and then nothing comes of it... like the F-type, the 180, the xj13...all missed opportunity.

Sometimes it better to risk then not to. Just do it Jaguar...please.


Edited by pb63 on Friday 1st July 13:30

Esseesse

3,974 posts

96 months

[news] 
Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
Fetchez la vache said:
But I rather like someone elses mock up..
AMV8

snaelro

83 posts

43 months

[news] 
Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
sunsurfer said:
Hmmm... interesting information Snaelro. What does this tell us? That the S-type was not universally derided for its retro styling and neither was the XJ?
Impression I get is there is not much wrong with the product but over the past decade Jaguars image has been slipping in the national and international consciousness. It is hard to compete with BMW, Mercedes et al. This is not just Jaguar's problem as Saab couldn't hack it nor could Renault, Citroen and Cadillac and Lexus (in Europe). I think the 'answer' to a slipping image is hype and marketing. Jaguar is doing this well the concept car C-X75 wowed and generated a lot of column inches. with even more column inches when they put it into production.
Guys at Jaguar are doing well - keep up the hype, PR and marketing as it entices people to try and buy the cars. Thus paying for the development of exciting new cars.
CX75 is a waist of time, energy and money, if you ask me. we are not in the 80's anymore. today's supercar/hypercar have to be perfect, not just cool. the competition is very tough. look at the mclaren MP4, it is a great car, built by probably the most advanced car company in the UK, 5 years developpement, massive investment, 100% commitment and still they disappoint and doesn't match the expectations.
so we can fear the worse for jaguar.

what jaguar need in the first place is to launch their entry level sportscar to compete with Z4 and boxster, and spend money on a new dual clutch gearbox and some new petrol engines to fill the gap between the 4 cyl of the evoque and the V8 385bhp of the XF/XJ, because they have nothing to go against BMW/audi/porsche 6 cyl-250/300bhp.
a sportscar with a torque converter is not a sportscar

Frimley111R

5,897 posts

122 months

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Friday 1st July 2011 quote quote all
pb63 said:
Jaguar is a company of missed opportunity. It should have brought a (real) successor to the etype by now. The last good thing jaguar produced was the etype and since then it's been lacking somewhat.
You live on the moon right???

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