It’s set to be one of the fastest cars ever built, and positive proof that the future of the British motor industry has never been brighter…
Jaguar is getting ready to reinvent its stunning XJ220, Auto Express can sensationally reveal – and it looks likely to make a dramatic appearance at a major international motor show in the next 18 months.
According to our network of spies, the revolutionary sports car is being developed by the firm’s best engineers as a rival to the Audi R8. It’s based on an all-new aluminium chassis, which has been developed using the same know-how behind both the XJ and XK models.
The car will have aluminium panels stretched over an alloy and composite tub, while under the bonnet is likely to be a tuned version of the 503bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8, set to power the eagerly anticipated XFR. A mildly modified version of this engine has already propelled a near-showroom-spec XFR to an incredible 225mph on the Bonneville salt flats in the US. The new supercar is likely to match this figure, while the sprint from 0-60mph should take less than four seconds.
The two-seater is tipped to be called the XE, and has been styled by a team led by Ian Callum. Our exclusive pictures offer a taste of what drivers can look forward to. Pulling together the very latest in design and combining it with influences from the company’s history, the model evokes the best of Jaguar’s past and present.
At the front, there’s an oval grille – inspired by that on the E-Type – framed by narrow, ultra-efficient LED headlamps. A steeply raked windscreen keeps the car’s overall height as low as possible, while the wide rear end supports buttress C-pillars, similar to those on the new Ferrari 599 GTB. As in the R8 and Ferrari’s F430, the engine will be visible through the rear windscreen.
Wide air intakes dominate the model’s front end, and deep scoops in the flanks help feed cooling air to the supercharged engine. Yet despite the new Jaguar’s huge performance potential, environmental credentials are set to be at the top of the agenda. CO2 emissions will be less than 300g/km, while the powerplant will be capable of running on biofuel-blended petrol – so the newcomer will be one of the cleanest high-performance cars money can buy. Liberal use of lightweight materials, including aluminium and carbon fibre, will further improve the machine’s fuel efficiency and performance.
Despite Auto Express’s scoop, Jaguar is denying this car exists. A spokesperson insisted that it was not in the company’s product plans… Speaking at the Detroit Motor Show, Jaguar managing director Mike O’Driscoll didn’t rule out the potential to add to the line-up, but claimed the company’s focus at present was solidly on the XK, XF and forthcoming XJ.
“I’d love Jaguar to build a sports car one day,” he said. “It would complement our flagship XK coupé. The brand is all about producing great sports cars and sports saloons.”
We’ve already got a taste of just how fast a new Jaguar sports car could be. A special-edition version of the XFR executive saloon has broken the firm’s speed record – powered by an engine similar to that in the R8 rival.
The four-door hit 225.675mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, US. That eclipsed the 217.1mph figure set by the XJ220 in 1992 – and you can see video footage here. The achievement was made possible by fitting a remapped ECU, taking power to 600bhp, as well as a revised rear wing, air intake, exhaust system and supercharger.
Rumour has it this could be the basis of a hotter XFR S. Bosses have already hinted they could raise their cars’ limited top speeds to more than 175mph.