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New Jag two-door to target 911

2010-07-15 06:55

Jaguar’s magnificent, yet stillborn, XK180. More than a decade after this disappointment Coventry is ready to launch a new two-door, which should (finally) spawn a roadster derivative.

Jaguar’s boss has confirmed the Coventry firm will finally bring an all-new two-door model to market.

Fans of the Leaping Cat brand have been aching to see Keith Helfet’s designs of the late 1990s come to fruition.

Just before the turn of the century the South African-born designer produced the epic XK180 concept – shown off at the 1998 Paris Motor Show.

The XK180, a hardcore roadster with overtures of the original E-type, was destined to be a stillborn project as Jaguar realigned its business priorities under Ford’s new ownership.

Flush with Tata money, the company is finally developing a new coupe. The new car will carry XE branding and slot in below the XK-series in Jaguar’s product portfolio.

Although he has been coy about the exact configuration, Jaguar boss Carl-Peter Forster has confirmed the car will be in showrooms by 2012.

The new XE will cue a conventional front engine, rear-wheel drive architecture. Its chassis will use Jaguar’s new all-aluminium platform, due to be rolled out to the entire range in the fullness of time with the aim of reducing mass (and emissions) of the current models steel construction.

Three engines are expected to do duty when the XE is launched in 2012. Entry level power will be from a supercharged V6 worth 260kW. The XF range should donate the two V8 engines (one blown) offering 283- and 375kW respectively.

Considering the XE’s aimed at a sub-911 retail entry point, the headline supercharged model should give Porsche’s journeyman sportscar some stringent competition.

Jaguar is expected to showcase the new XE at next year’s Geneva Motor Show – exactly 50 years after the original E-Type came to market.


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