The entry-level sedan market is a crowded area. There are more vehicles on sale in this segment than there are Walmarts in small towns. Well, maybe not that many, but you get the idea. In order to break through the segment barrier, you need a special vehicle, and not just moderately special either. To find success, an automaker needs something brilliant.
The BMW 3-Series has long been the staple of the segment, as if offered up good looks, amazing build quality, and a drive that is second to none. Now, Audi and Mercedes are responding with their own sedans, so that should make life even more difficult for Britain’s newcomer.
Jaguar has built entry-level luxury cars before, but that never worked out that well. With the X-Type in the history books, Jaguar will be breaking through in a few years with a new small car, codenamed the X760.
Updated 03/17/2011: According to 4wheelsnews.com, the upcoming Jaguar 3-Series competitor might be called XS, an evolution of the X-Type name.
Hit the jump to read about it.
The exterior look of the baby Jaguar will carry over some of the design elements of the XF and XJ. That big gaping front grille will be featured and it might have the same taillights as the XJ. In fact, from the sketches we have seen, the back of the sedan looks a lot like the flagship XJ. It should be interesting to see if these styling cues will actually be used, or if these images are just fantasy.
The new baby Jaguar is depicted in many renderings as a four-door coupe, but a more conventional four-door sedan and five-door estate are being designed as well by Jaguar.
We doubt the interior will carry over much from the XJ, but we expect a few touches here and there from the XF. We can be sure that we’ll find old world luxury with modern, yet sleek elements.
We should look to the new Range Rover Evoque for an idea of likely engines to be in the baby Jaguar. The Ford 2.0-liter four-cylinder Ecoboost engine is just about guaranteed, while the 2.2-liter diesel is likely as well. All motors will be connected to a ZF eight speed automatic. They will also be turning up a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel and a hybrid version that will combine a V6 diesel with a 47 HP electric motor. The power will delivered to the rear wheels.
The baby Jaguar will have a stand-alone platform, and they will decide by the end of the year exactly how to get the most out of it. One option is to use a combination of existing XJ and XK units. We think that the company will use a new bespoke Premium Lightweight Architecture for the baby Jag that could be used on the next-generation XF as well.
Seeing as how we are calling this machine Jaguar’s 3-Series, it’s obvious that the BMW will be a main rival, as will the two other German machines, the C-Class and the A4. Cadillac will offer up the CTS and Lexus has the IS. There are a few others that will compete against it too, but until we know more on the X760, we will have to wait and see.
The small Jag, codenamed the X760, will be here by 2015.