2016 Jaguar XS test mule spy shots
The test mule may resemble the XF but if you look closely you’ll notice its length is significantly shorter and its track narrower, and it also appears to be sitting much lower. The exhaust tips are also closer together than they are on the regular XF.
The fact that engineers are using an XF-based mule in this early development phase of the XS suggests that Jaguar’s new small sedan will borrow the XF's platform, which is mostly made of steel but may be upgraded with lighter materials in this application.
There is also the possibility that Jaguar will utilize its advanced Premium Lightweight Architecture (PLA), which is made from aluminum and flexible enough to spawn vehicles the size of the 3-Series right up to the Range Rover SUV. The PLA made its debut in the 2013 Range Rover from sister brand Land Rover.
The move would give the new XS a leg up on rivals, though it could mean a higher starting price. Another benefit of using PLA is that it could also spawn a crossover variant of the new XS, which Jaguar is reported to be also planning.
Powertrains, meanwhile, will be shared with the XF and new F-Type sports car and include a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 240 horsepower as the base option and a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 developing up to 380 horsepower in a range-topping model. Some fuel-sipping diesels will also be offered, though don't expect these in the U.S.
Rear-wheel drive will come standard, though customers will be able to opt for all-wheel drive. And an eight-speed automatic should also be fitted as standard.
The expected release date for the XS is in late 2015, making the car a 2016 model. The crossover variant, if given the green light, should arrive a year after the launch of the sedan.
Before a new entry-level sedan and crossover can be launched, however, Jaguar will introduce a coupe version of the F-Type to better counter rival products like the Porsche 911 and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage.