The Jaguar XJ has long been due for replacement, but rather than have one at the ready when the flagship saloon’s competitors advanced their own offerings forward, the British manufacturer took pause and considered its position.
As the X351’s life cycle was drawing to a close with a planned discontinuation some time this month, there were prior rumours that the car would be re-engineered around an fully electric powertrain that took many lessons from the I-PACE, giving the next XJ a truly serene in-car experience fitting of its limousine status.
As the uncertainty grew and the prospect of the XJ, a model series which spans more than 5 decades, retiring, Jaguar Land-Rover have confirmed that there will be a follow-up. One that eschews internal combustion altogether.
Presumably, this next-generation version will be the brand’s largest and most luxurious saloon but also the figurehead of its electric powertrain technology, with the I-PACE passing on the torch of pioneering innovator.
The company will be producing the all-new XJ at its Castle Bromwich facility, with CEO Ralf Speth announcing that the plant will play a central role in the marque’s wider plans for electrification going forward. Currently, the I-PACE is manufactured by Magna Steyr in Austria.
JLR has had to reorient their strategy to adapt to fluctuating market circumstances such as the tepid sales in what was perceived to be growth markets such as China, to an inflated and often confusing matrix of variants, to the uncertainties surrounding the effects of the UK’s succession from the European Union.
The next XJ, a project that is already well underway, will be the first car produced under a more streamlined Jaguar as they plan to manufacturing, battery assembly, and its entire electric drive unit division to a localised area, that being the Midlands region of the England.
There, work will finish on the next-generation Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) which will form the foundation for all upcoming electric vehicles as well as those powered by petrol or diesel, including hybrid models.
Amazingly, Jaguar plans to have the fully electric XJ ready for launch some time in 2020 whereupon, given its size and price and capability, should prove quite the foil to the cars like the Tesla Model S, Porsche Taycan, and upcoming Audi e-tron GT.