Jaguar's new 1-Series rival exposed

7 Feb, 2011 11:27am Jack Rix

Jaguar's sensational new hatchback has BMW in sight - the firm's smallest-ever car to start from £20,000 due out in 2014.

Jaguar is hatching a bold new plan. It’s no secret that a raft of new and exciting big cat models is on the way – but the greatest surprise is yet to come. 

The manufacturer has dropped its biggest hint yet that a premium hatchback, conceived to go head-to-head with the BMW 1-Series, Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 is on the way.

We’ve told you that Jaguar is currently working on a BMW 3-Series rival, a crossover, the F-Type two-seater roadster and a possible production version of the C-X75. But the news that a hatchback could be added to the list comes as a real shock.
 
It has been widely reported that Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s global brand director, has drawn up a wish-list, along with other bosses, for the firm’s future. 

He said: “We won’t have a 1-Series-sized car for five to 10 years, but we’re working on some compelling alternative bodystyles that are anti-German luxury car establishment.”

Our exclusive images show how the smallest Jag could look. It’s some way away from production, and although the compact five-door body is a departure, the philosophy behind it sticks closely to the brand’s core values. Hallmark confirmed: “If we go into the smaller car market, we want to build elegant models with great technology that give a sense of occasion and position us above the competition.”

Power is likely to come from a pair of turbocharged four-cylinder engines – one petrol, one diesel – while the underpinnings will be borrowed from the Range Rover Evoque. But the car will be front-wheel-drive only, to cut weight, complexity and cost. Prices are expected to start at £20,000.

Before that, a revised XF and an XF estate are due later this year, while design work on the next generation XF and XK, set for 2014, is underway. There’s even talk of an XJ coupé, and a shooting brake based on the next XF. 

One thing’s for sure: with new owner Tata’s backing, it’s going to be a busy few years for the brand.