2015 Jaguar XS Will be Aluminum-Intensive
- Jaguar's upcoming BMW 3 Series killer, which may be called XS, will feature a weight-saving aluminum monocoque body structure.
- The entry-level Jaguar XS is due in 2014 as a 2015 model.
- All future Jaguar and Land Rover models are scheduled to use aluminum monocoque body structures.
GAYDON, England — Jaguar's upcoming BMW 3 Series killer, which may be called Q-Type, will feature a weight-saving aluminum monocoque body structure, as will all future Jaguar and Land Rover models.
The 2015 Jaguar XS will be the least expensive Jaguar when it arrives in 2014. It will anchor the low end of the Jaguar range, a slot previously occupied by the long-defunct X-Type.
The new XS compact sedan will have a strong sporting bias, according to the U.K.'s Autocar magazine, which its lightweight, aluminum construction should usefully amplify.
Beyond the XS, Jaguar Land Rover wants to expand the use of weight-saving, aluminum monocoque body structures across its entire range in the future, say insiders. That will include models cheaper than the F-Type sports car that is currently the least expensive aluminum monocoque model in the group's range.
JLR's new aluminum platform, which debuted on the latest Range Rover and is used on the just-launched Range Rover Sport, will also form the basis of the LR4 replacement, the next-generation XJ sedan, and the next XF.
In addition to the XS, JLR aims to use a variation of this platform to produce the next LR2 and eventually the Evoque replacement. These models occupy a lower price range than the current alloy-bodied models.
The steel-bodied models in today's range include the Jaguar XF sedan, the Land Rover LR2 and the Range Rover Evoque, while the LR4 and the ancient Defender use a mix of separate steel chassis and aluminum bodywork.
JLR has progressively reduced the cost of producing rivet-bonded, stamped aluminum body structures since it launched the technology with the X350 Jaguar XJ in 2002. It can now produce an aluminum Range Rover body shell for less than it costs to make one in steel, and aims to lower the number of hours-per-car required to build an aluminum body to the point where "all its products can be aluminum," says a well-placed source.
Both the riveting and stamping processes are quicker than their equivalent processes in steel, "and there is more to come," the source says.
The company is also planning to use more recycled aluminum, because the raw bauxite is expensive and energy-intensive to refine. The company is currently using 75 percent recycled material, up from 50 percent, and is shooting for 100 percent by 2020, "but may get there before."
Edmunds says: All-aluminum construction across the range will provide Jaguar Land Rover with a strong performance and economy message for its cars, besides improving the scale economies for this formerly expensive technology.