Jaguar 3 Series rival 'top priority'
* Jaguar to launch compact executive * Will launch sportscar first * Four-wheel-drive XF and XJ coming, too...
Jaguar is planning a BMW 3 Series rival as part of a new model assault, which will include a replacement for the XK and four-wheel-drive versions of the current XF and XJ.
Speaking to What Car? at the LA motor show, Jaguar boss Adrian Hallmark revealed that the launch of a rival for the Audi A4 and huge-selling BMW 3 Series was 'the top priority'.
It would come after Jaguar launches a new sports car, previewed by the C-X16 concept car.
'How we do it is critical,' he said, 'but it's crucial that we bring something new to the segment.'
Hallmark hinted that a car priced below the XF would be a small 3 Series-sized saloon, but that there would be more than one body style on offer. Any car would more than likely be sold with either rear- or four-wheel-drive chassis.
Four-wheel-drive XF and XJ saloons will also be on sale within two years, as will XFs and XJs with newly developed, smaller-capacity V6 and four-cylinder petrol engines. An XF estate will also join the line-up next year.
Hallmark also revealed that, despite the new two-seater sports car arriving, the current XK Coupe and Cabrio are also to be replaced.
'We see a clear difference between the sports car and the XK, and so do customers,' he said. 'People who buy the XK value its rear-seat capability.'
Hallmark also told What Car? that there is 'space above the current XK', hinting that an all-new model is likely to be more powerful, more expensive and more luxurious than the current car the best-selling of which is the 85,000 XKR Convertible.
However, Jaguar is unlikely to build a full four-seat coupe version of the XJ saloon to rival the Mercedes CL and Maserati Grancoupe.
'Sales of these types of cars are small, and it's a low priority,' said Hallmark.