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Next Jaguar XJ takes styling cues from the XF

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 00:00:00 -0700

Jaguar is putting the finishing touches on its heavily revised 2011 XJ sedan, remaking its flagship sedan in the mold of the XF sedan.

Based on a re-engineered version of today's all-aluminum XJ chassis introduced with the sedately styled 2004 model, the next XJ will be significantly different in appearance, drawing its coupelike-sedan inspiration from the Ian Callum-penned XF.

"People know that something is coming, but they're going to be very surprised," says one source involved in the project code-named X351. The interior also will share the XF's family look but will have its own unique design and detailing.

Although the XJ starts with today's underpinnings, much of the underskin hardware is revamped. For example, additional braces support new front and rear subframes, the latter needed because of a revised differential that has a greater number of attachment points than the current car. The same arrangement has helped sharpen the handling of the XK.

The 2011 XJ remains the same size and rides on the same wheelbase as the current car, but clever packaging tricks learned during the transformation of the S-type into the XF will add more usable space, particularly in the rear seat.

Jaguar also is matching new engines to sheetmetal, an investment not seen before on the company's flagship. The top powertrain will be the 503-hp, supercharged 5.0-liter V8 in the XJR. Other engines include a naturally aspirated 385-hp 5.0-liter V8 and possibly an entry-level 310-hp 4.2-liter V8.

Look for the 2011 XJ at Pebble Beach in August. Production starts late this year, and U.S. sales begin in spring 2010.

By Julian Rendell