At almost 10 years old, the current-generation XJ represented a design step-change for Jaguar. Now Ian Callum, head of design for the Big Cat, says the followup will be bigger and sportier than before.
With the most recent iteration launched in 2009, the XJ has always been Jaguar's flagship. That's not going to change any time soon, but the model might break with 'F Segment' size and design conventions.
Speaking to media at the Geneva motor show, Callum said the XJ will grow in size and remain a tech-leader for the brand, but it shouldn't be benchmarked against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
"It'll be different. And it will have more room inside it. One of the biggest criticisms XJ has had is that a lot of people think the room inside the car is not big enough. I don't believe in segmentation like this — I don't believe in an F Segment as such," Callum said.
"I think we should just do a luxury vehicle that matches people well. That's what we've done for XJ, which is what the first one was all about. A lot of our market is far-eastern and people are using these big cars to be driven in, so we must accommodate that better."
When asked about technology, Callum confirmed the new XJ will be the next car released by Jaguar. As such, it will feature new technology to eventually filter down the range.
"It will definitely have new tech and it will be a flagship, and it will probably the next car we bring out now that I think about it. It'll be built to match the technology that will be reflected at that time. But it's not an S-Class Mercedes-Benz," said Callum.
While it will be sized like an S-Class, Callum is adamant that it will be more of a driver's car, with less focus on traditional flagship sedan traits.
"I never saw XJ as an S-Class competitor. Mercedes-Benz have created that place — the three-box limo sedan," Callum mused.
"I just don't think that's a Jaguar. A Jaguar is a sportier entity and it should reflect that. Yes it will take four [people] to market in comfort and luxury, but that's where the similarities stop. It will still be a driver's car."
"I don't think many Mercedes-Benz S-Classes are driver's cars, with the exception of AMGs or something. If you drive an XJR575, it's a driver's car. It just happens to be able to take three people in comfort. I don't buy this segmentation."
"What I like about I-Pace is that people kind of say it doesn't fit in a segment. Good... stop trying to categorise it. The XJ will be an XJ. And if some people want to call it an F Segment car, it's entirely up to them," said Callum.
Given the cycle of new models, we'd expect to see the first looks at a new Jaguar XJ around the end of this year.