The baby Jaguar has been coming for years. Now, it seems it might actually be coming after all, after years of Britain’s German-challenging premium hopeful lacking such a vital BMW 3 Series rival.
Well, I say that, loosely. Jaguar, of course, had its own 3 Series back in 2001, in the shape of the X-Type. And the lessons it learnt while offering this car should certainly be heeded when considering its next one.
Safe to say, the X400 X-Type was not an unqualified success. Today, Jaguar loyalists frown upon it and the rest of the world really doesn’t seem to care about it.
And the fact people are either enraged or all a bit ‘meh’ about X-Type holds plenty of advice for Jaguar.
1 Don’t go retro
I know you won’t, Jaguar, but it’s worth restating.
Don’t go retro.
2 Don’t so cynically base it on a cheaper car
The Ford Mondeo was a great car. It could have made a superb Jaguar. But the X-Type ended up feeling too much like, er, a slightly posher Mondeo. It was as if your engineers’ wings were clipped so the promise of this chassis was lost. Facepalm.
3 Remember your market
In a sector that saw BMW preparing Valvetronic petrol engines and Audi doing great business with its TDI A4, Jaguar launched a 4WD 3.0-litre V6 petrol X-Type. Bit juicy for you? Fear not: there was a… 2.5-litre V6. And no diesel. And nothing smaller than those two motors until a later 2.0-litre petrol arrived. And even then it was a V6. Jeez.
Look at which rivals sell best and look at the models each sells the most of. That means, Jaguar, your market will want you to give it a direct rival to the BMW 320d: while you’re there, throw in a low-CO2 eco model for good measure. Do not bother with V8 and don’t get too hung up on the V6 supercharged one either. Four cylinders is where it’s at (but then you know that: you’re building a new four-cylinder engine plant in Wolverhampton, after all).
4 Don’t forget the variants
With the launch of the X-Type, Jaguar had a 3 Series saloon rival. Hurrah. Then what? For years, nothing. Where BMW offered 3 Series Touring, coupe, convertible, Jaguar offered nothing. Unbelievable. The estate that finally did arrive was actually much prettier than the saloon (thank you, Callum), but was just too late.
Don’t be late with the variants of your next compact car, Jaguar. You need strong full range of models.
5 Don’t copy BMW (or Audi, or Mercedes)
Audi won favour in the 1990s with the A4 because it wasn’t a BMW. Jaguar can do the same today, through not being a BMW – or an Audi, or a Mercedes. Be a Jaguar. Indeed, be an F-Type saloon. Show us why the long-awaited new E-type, which you successfully delivered to us earlier this year (showing you CAN do what the market is willing you to) is perhaps even more significant than we yet realise.
6 Shout about the strong points
Touchsreens: so commonplace in today’s cars. And one of the first mainstream models to boast one? Yes, the Jaguar X-Type. But how many realise that… there were other positives in the maze of X-Type too, but Jaguar was so always on the back foot, it never really got to shout about them.
You can be sure, if the new baby Jag is a high-tech four-wheel drive machine with all-aluminium construction and some C-X75 engineering hand-me-downs, Jaguar will already have the megaphones on order. As well it should.
7 Build something YOU can be proud of
You always sense even some (many?) within Jaguar weren’t convinced by the X-Type, didn’t think it did anything by the company. Such doubts should not have been ignored but fed into the development process, to help create something different.
The whole company needs to be behind a car as important as the new baby Jag. It’s a vitally important model that needs complete conviction from every quarter in order to undertake the formidable task of challenging the 3 Series. Only building something everyone within the company is delighted with will Jaguar stand a chance.
Consider the X-Type your practice run, Jaguar. The lessons there are still relevant. Now, over to you to not repeat them and give us the baby Jag we’ve been yearning for (and writing about) for years.
I don’t envy the challenge and the pressure. But if you do get it right, and don’t do an X-Type, the rewards are going to be incredible.