Smaller, more fuel efficient cars are not only growing in popularity, but they will soon be a requirement for automakers who want to survive and remain competitive worldwide. So it’s not that surprising to hear Jaguar is reportedly considering a small front-wheel-drive model beneath the BMW 3 Series fighter it’s already allegedly developing.
According to Autocar, the baby Jag should launch by 2015, just in time to help the automaker meet the 2016 CAFE requirements. Additionally, the new Jag will be another player in the growing premium compact-car segment. Mercedes-Benz is set to debut an all new front-drive A-Class and BMW is following suit with a new 1-Series sedan (the current rear-drive 1 Series coupe will likely become the 2 Series). Autocar reports that the baby Jag will be powered by a number of new small and fuel-efficient engines including a 1.5-liter three-cylinder and a number of four cylinder gas and diesel options.
To further any potential fuel economy gains, Jaguar will need to keep the car’s curb weight down. We expect the automaker to make generous use of lightweight aluminum throughout the frame and body panels, which should be easy for Jaguar from its extensive experience working with aluminum from the XJ flagship sedan.
If this is all true, then it’s a dramatic reversal of of the baby Jag runs contrary to what senior brand manager Adrian Hallmark told us this past February. During that interview, Hallmark stated a BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class fighter was in the works for 2014, but that a front-drive model was still five to ten years away.
Autocar states that the car will likely be produced in the UK and India and will have a starting price of 22,000 British Pounds, which is roughly $35,000 U.S. dollars using today’s exchange rates.