No Change From More Than £500m!
Spy shots in the current issue of Auto Express magazine reveal the XJ8's replacement testing at the Nürburgring. But despite costing more than £500million to develop, it doesn't look any different!
Codenamed X350, the images show, despite renewing every single part, it retains the style of the current model. That's because Jaguar believes customers don't want the historic XJ look to change that much – the current XJ8 still retains styling cues from the original 1969 XJ6. The front end is identical – the same twin headlamps, wide front grille and short overhang. But while the rear of the car is heavily disguised, insiders say it will differ from the current model, with a raised bootlid, deeper bumpers and larger light clusters.
Although the newcomer bears such a close resemblance to the model it replaces, the X350 promises a revolution under the skin. A new aluminium body means it will be much lighter than the current XJ8, while new suspension and faster steering will improve the handling. Bosses haven't ruled out a 4WD edition using technology seen on the X-Type.
But as well as being a sophisticated enthusiasts' vehicle, the car will have all the bells and whistles XJ owners are accustomed to. Quality leather trim, wood facia and a state-of-the-art navigation and stereo system are set to feature as standard, as will electrically adjustable seats and climate control. Power will come from a range of engines including those used in the current car, plus the supercharged 4.2-litre V8 which debuted in the S-Type R. And for the first time, there will also be a diesel Jag using a six-cylinder unit being developed with PSA Peugeot-Citroen. That engine will also go into the S-Type, although it's only expected to count for a small number of total XJ sales as more than 60 per cent of the luxury limos are sold in the USA, where diesel isn't popular. The car will be seen in public for the first time at September's Paris Motor Show, and is expected to go on sale early in 2003. Craig Cheetham