Reborn 2021 Jaguar XK to spearhead sports car revival

Jaguar has begun work on an all-new replacement for its flagship XK coupe that was discontinued back in 2014.

A new report suggests the new coupe — and the roadster that will follow — will join the British car-maker’s range in 2021, when it will be positioned above the F-TYPE.

Speaking to Brit mag Autocar, Jaguar’s head of product strategy Harno Kirner confirmed work had begun on proposals for a whole new family of sports cars.

“The F-TYPE has been a huge success,” said the product boss.

“We love sports cars – and I use the plural quite deliberately. Whether that is delivered by a body variant or something else remains to be seen, but for now let’s just say that the body type is very important for us.”

Kirner’s desire to create a family of sports cars is claimed to reflect a similar want from head of design, Ian Callum, who told in March this year that a four-door coupe was “Jaguar’s rightful place” and that it “made a lot of sense”.

Last year the Jaguar design boss even went as confirming to the British magazine that his team was working on a 2+2 sports car, that would replace the discontinued flagship XK.

The F-TYPE, which is due for replacement in 2019, currently accounts for a two-fifths of all Jaguar sales. Last year Jaguar racked up record sales of 178,601 units — up more than 20 per cent on 2016.

JLR’s all-new sports car platform will be capable of being scaled down to a smaller 2+2 layout. The new strategy of sharing the underpinnings across a family of sports models rules out the cost of developing two bespoke product architectures, boosting profit.

Kirner didn’t explicitly confirm the approach, but said: “I love the idea of a flexible architecture that can give us anything.”

The other advantage of a common platform is the ease of incorporating other powertrains like plug-in hybrids and even pure-electric power, although the Jag product chief didn’t sound entirely convinced about the latter.

“There is an argument that says hybrid sports cars might cater for both the environment and the excitement such cars deliver,” Kirner said, adding: “A lot of people like the sound of an engine.

“That’s a fact, and it is a defining part of a sports car. I absolutely believe that there will be electric sports cars one day, but I also believe that there may be a different step of combining the battery and an engine.

“At Jaguar, all I can say for now is that we will continue to invest in sports cars.”

Set to power Jaguar’s next-gen sports cars, inclouding the XK, is both the Ingenium 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder and a family of straight sixes that will be available in various power outputs.

The most powerful versions, it’s thought, will come equipped with an updated version of the Jaguar F-TYPE’s SVR’s supercharged 5.0-litre V8 that’s expected to push out around 440kW.