Jaguar will follow up its aluminium-bodied XJ series, due to be launched in SA in July, with new versions of the XK coupé. Will the new Cat be styled along the lines of the handsome Concept R?

Jaguar will follow up its aluminium-bodied XJ series, due to be launched in SA in July, with new versions of the XK coupé. Will the new Cat be styled along the lines of the handsome Concept R?

The XK, which will be built in coupé and convertible variants, is the Coventry-based manufacturer’s second aluminium-bodied model. Furthermore, a 300 kW-plus XKR will be the flagship of the all-new lineup when it goes on sale in early 2006.

Final production approval for the luxury 2+2 coupé, dubbed project X150, is due later this year once the design chiefs in Coventry have resolved the debate over the final look of the car.

Some designers apparently support a radical twin-headlight “face” inspired by the 2001 Frankfurt Show Concept R, and a second, more conservative proposal with one-piece headlights favoured by Ford president and chief executive Nick Scheele. The current car’s E-Type-inspired oval grille will probably be retained for the new model.

The new XK will run on the same wheelbase as the current XK, but will have a higher ground clearance to meet bumper height standards in some markets. Two body styles will be offered, with the convertible sticking with a folding canvas roof for cost and weight reasons, reported.

The radical switch to alloy is challenging Jag’s engineers a little more than expected. The car was planned as a straightforward platform variant of the rivet-bonded XJ sedan, but engineers are struggling to get sufficient body stiffness in a convertible while still using the material and bonding process. So far, the likely solution will be adding more steel to the XK’s bodyshell.

Powertrains and suspension will be borrowed from the XJ. The XKR will feature a supercharged 4,2-litre V8, with other models offering a 223 kW 4,2-litre V8 and 194 kW 3,5-litre entry-level V8. Jag is also considering a 372 kW XKR-R for 2008 or 2009.

Original article from Car