Jaguar has dismissed suggestions the XJ sedan could be usurped by an SUV at the pinnacle of the range.

Design boss, Ian Callum, told Autocar the XJ would remain the brand flagship, even if a 'J-Pace' SUV were to be added to the range.

“An SUV was discussed but it’s not the mainstay of the brand,” Callum told Autocar. “There’s more sophistication for a flagship due to its origins and that’s Land Rover.”

Although he rejected the idea of an SUV flagship, Callum admitted the basic sedan shape needed to be spruced up to remain relevant in the current climate. He also credited the polarising design of the current XJ for its longevity.

“The coupe profile is something I obsessed over,” he said. “Some people don’t agree with it. Everything else is three-box; people simplify and categorise things. [If you do that], you lose the opportunity to define it in your own way. The XJ covers that well.”

Sedans might be out of favour, but hatchback-style cars like the Audi A7, Tesla Model S and Kia Stinger are growing in popularity, especially in North America. Callum noted their success in his interview, and said such vehicles – along with rise of electrification – is forcing the reinvention of the sedan.

The J-Pace SUV, reportedly arriving in 2019, is expected to ride on the same platform as the Range Rover. Where the big, wafty Range Rover is a soft-riding luxury car, the big Jaguar will likely focus on delivering a sportier drive.

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