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Jaguar’s New to Use Aluminium Platform

Jaguar announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show that it will be switching its vehicle architecture to aluminium for a sports sedan, due to be launched in 2015. A press release from Jaguar stated that “it will be the most efficient, advanced, and refined premium sports sedan ever seen in the C/D segment” and has been named the iQ[Al]. This will be the first all-new Jaguar architecture for decades
The new modular designed platform is going to offer Jaguar a number of benefits:

  • “Aluminum allows us to use more sophisticated suspension. It’s a light, stiff platform. The small sedan has the same complex stiffness parameters around the front suspension as the F-Type”
  • The iQ[Al] will be all-wheel-drive capable allowing it to rank among its AWD prestige sedan competitor set with the advanced of an lighter weight aluminium monocoque design.
  • Jaguar Land Rover is building a new factory for its own all-new four-cylinder engines, both gas and diesel, in a vast range of power outputs for the new architecture.
  • Cars with the new iQ[Al] architecture will also have the 340-hp and 380-hp supercharged V-6 engines now in the Jaguar F-Type
  • The flexibility of an all-aluminium platform will also offer scale economies however there will be limitations as the front end cannot be made shorter limiting Jaguar to a compact saloon being the smallest vehicle available using iQ[Al].

Jaguar’s new alumium platform is most likely a successor for the XFThe new vehicle architecture, most likely a successor for the Jaguar XF, will be entering a market already occupied by the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4/5 with estate, coupe and convertible body styles available. Particularly in markets like Europe an estate body would seem like a strong prospect to join the sedan, but in the shorter term, Jaguar doesn’t appear ready to match similar downmarket moves by Mercedes-Benz (A-Class) and BMW (1-Series).

The limitations of the new architecture were explained by the company’s global brand director, Adrian Hallmark – “I can’t comment on every single car we build from this architecture; I can say that XJ is probably also beyond the limits of the architecture, because you start to get to weight and crash load factors. The minute you touch a couple of components, you get a ripple effect – and you have to start everything again. So you end up back where you start with the current XJ architecture.” He went on to say “If you take the segment that we’ve targeted, this combination of material [aluminium], engines and architecture is the sweet spot” also explaining “it’s got flexibility between two segments, but not three or four.”

All current Jaguar cars will be replaced using the new adaptable set of aluminium structural parts, suspension and electronics, the earliest most likely being the XF around 2017. Before that however comes the small saloon in 2015. Jaguar initially thought of making this car a type of four-door coupe, or hatchback but realised that worldwide it’s the regular saloons that sell in big numbers, so that’s what it’ll make. “I’ve finished designing it,” says Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design director.

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