The all-new mid-sized Jaguar XS will be available with a range of powertrains diverse enough to rival the BMW 3 Series.
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Jaguar global brand director Adrian Hallmark told a small group of Australia's automotive media including CarAdvice the XS (the name is unofficial at the stage) would benefit enormously from Jaguar Land Rover’s in-house four-cylinder petrol and diesel engine family that’s due to roll out of the factory in 2015.

“In that segment the engine sizes, the fuel consumption and the power standards that we have to achieve are quite broad,” Hallmark said at the New York auto show.

“If you take BMW they’ve got everything from an EfficientDynamics 109g/km [CO


] 3 Series up to an M3 in one fundamental body style.

“We’d have to be similar in terms of our breadth of product offering, and these engines would form a large part of any strategy as we move down.”

Earlier this month, JLR expanded its investment into its new Engine Manufacturing Centre in the UK to more than £500 million ($729 million). Almost 1400 new engineering and manufacturing jobs will be created following the plant’s opening later this year.

While the new engines will be fundamental to the XS, Hallmark said their flexibility – “all of them are capable with two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, hybrid, automatic, manual, east-west, or north-south installation” – will also see them slot into other models, including the new Range Rover Sport.

Hallmark also confirmed the engines will be compatible with the brand new nine-speed automatic transmission showcased in the Range Rover Evoque in Geneva, which will likewise find its way into the new XS (spied earlier this month undergoing testing wearing XF bodywork).

The Jaguar boss said the company had “no plans” of building a front-wheel-drive model – particularly not with XS – but admitted it had “no inhibitions about doing it in the future”, potentially for a model even smaller than XS.

“We don’t need to go front-wheel drive [with XS],” he said.

“We think that the benefits of rear-wheel drive in terms of dynamics versus the space and efficiency savings you get from front-wheel drive, the trade-off is still in favour of rear-wheel drive for us.”

Asked whether the XS could borrow Range Rover’s all-aluminium PLA architecture, Hallmark said modifying the platform for that purpose would be “almost like a new approach”, and said very careful consideration was required when developing fundamental components of smaller cars.

“When you start coming down the costs are so critical. A few hundred pounds difference on material costs on a Range Rover… We’ll scream about it and fight about it, but it’s not decisive.

“It’s make or break on a lower-price-segment car, absolutely make or break.”

The Jaguar XS is set to enter production from 2015 when it will become the brand’s first mid-sized car since the X-Type, which was discontinued in 2009.