2020 Jaguar XJ electric car: what we know so far
Next Jaguar XJ will be an all-electric luxury saloon with a 300-mile range, and it's the first of a series of electric cars coming from the British marque...
The Jaguar XJ luxury saloon has a history stretching back 50 years, and throughout its various generations and guises, one thing has remained constant: it has always been Jaguar's flagship model. Now it's being reinvented as a purely electric car that will take on traditional luxury saloons such as the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class as well as electric rivals including the Tesla Model S and upcoming Porsche Taycan.
Although speculation around the XJ's future as an electric car stretches back to 2015, Jaguar only confirmed the move earlier this year, on the same day that production of the current XJ ended at its Castle Bromwich factory in the Midlands. Although Jaguar has been coy with any specifics, it says the new XJ "will build on the characteristics synonymous with its predecessors: beautiful design, intelligent performance and revered luxury."
The new Jaguar XJ is one of 12 cars nominated for the 2020 What Car? Reader Award. To see all of the contenders and have your say on which is most exciting, just head over to the voting site.
2020 Jaguar XJ styling
Acting as both a style and technology showcase for Jaguar, the new XJ will retain its sleek profile but have a five-door layout, as opposed to today’s four-door car. Such a change is likely to make the XJ more practical, not least because its boot lid will open far wider than it would on a saloon.
In terms of looks, the XJ will be the first of a new generation of Jaguars. As such, elements from its design will eventually filter down to other models in the range. At the Frankfurt motor show earlier this year, Jaguar showed off the rear of the car, including its slim LED lights, and the Jaguar name spelt out across its boot lid.
It will sit on new aluminium underpinnings that will eventually underpin multiple models from both Jaguar and Land Rover. Indeed, among the new cars planned to use the platform is a new ‘Road Rover’ luxury SUV that's scheduled to go on sale towards the end of next year.
Inside, Jaguar says it wants to create the most serene and calming car on sale. Indeed, the company's design director Julian Thomson has said that he wants the next XJ to be "as close as you can get to doing Yoga in a car."
2020 Jaguar XJ power and range
The XJ will feature two electric motors – one on each axle, giving them four-wheel drive. And while Jaguar hasn't released any technical details yet, we know the company will be targeting a 0-60mph sprint time of less than five seconds and a real-world range of around 300 miles. For reference, Jaguar's electric SUV, the I-Pace, managed 292 miles on the official WLTP test, although that fell to 253 miles in our Real Range test.
Jaguar has experimented with electrification on the XJ before, with 2009’s XJ Limo Green prototype. That car featured an electric motor and a 1.2-litre petrol engine as a range-extender, meaning the engine recharged the car's battery when it was depleted. The XJ Limo Green’s single electric motor could power the car for up to 30 miles at a time.
The new XJ’s arrival should be well timed, with the I-Pace having turned the heads of buyers looking for an electric Jaguar. In particular, the new XJ is tasked with growing Jaguar’s market share in China and the US.
Wider electric plans
The rebirth of the XJ is part of a wider plan to fully electrify Jaguar’s model range. The current XE and XF saloons are expected to be replaced by a new electric SUV when they reach the end of their life cycles in around 2023, while the existing E-Pace and F-Pace SUVs would be replaced by a second-generation I-Pace in around 2025. That would leave Jaguar’s upcoming largest SUV, the upcoming J-Pace, as its sole combustion-engined vehicle, surviving until around 2027.
Jaguar confirmed earlier this year that it would be bringing its existing battery and electric motor assembly operations to the Midlands, creating a hub for the production of its electric vehicle range. After a tough few months for the business, confirmation that the next XJ will be made in the UK is said to have safeguarded "several thousand" jobs in the UK.
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The best and worst electric cars
If the idea of an all-new Jaguar XJ electric car has got you thinking about going green, then you'll want to know which electric cars will leave you feeling fully charged, and which aren't worth plugging in. Well, in this next story we've done the hard work for you, and below and over the next few pages we'll reveal the best electric cars, as well as the ones to avoid.
10. Tesla Model X
On paper, Tesla's all-electric family SUV seems to be the dream all-rounder, combining the luxury of a Range Rover Sport with the green credentials of an electric car. In practice, its low running costs and practical interior are hard to fault, and even entry-level versions aren't short on pace, but parts of its interior do feel a little cheap given the price.
9. Renault Zoe
The Zoe’s main strength is that it feels like a conventional, stylish, nippy small car, and just happens to cost pennies to run. The electric motor has enough shove for the Zoe to lead the charge away from traffic lights, and the interior has room for four to sit in reasonable comfort. Even the boot is larger than you’ll find in many regular small cars; it's easily big enough for a family's weekly shopping. The Q90 version managed 132 miles in our Real Range test.
8. Nissan Leaf
This second-generation Leaf is a much better all-rounder than the original model. It’s faster, more sophisticated to drive, bigger inside and, perhaps most importantly of all, capable of longer distances between charges. Just make sure you resist the temptation to go for the e+ version; it may have the biggest range of any Leaf yet, but it's also expensive and hard-riding.