A pair of super-economical baby Jaguars – already in the early stages of development pending a green light for production in the middle of the next decade – could now be based on BMW’s new FAAR platform for front-wheel-drive models.
The two new models are expected to be a small SUV and a similarly sized coupé crossover and they are likely to carry the ‘Pace’ name as part of the firm’s SUV family.
In addition, the next-generation Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport models, which are due in the second half of the next decade, could be sibling vehicles to the next-generation Mini Countryman and BMW X1 models in a further deepening of the alliance.
An expansion into platform sharing also opens the way for JLR to build the long-rumoured entry-level Land Rover model, which, as Autocar revealed early last year, could revive the Freelander name.
The BMW deal
Meeting challenging EU CO2 fleet regulations by 2025 is a race against time for JLR. The company is hampered by a collapsing market in China as well as massive investments in the new MLA architecture for its larger models, factory refits and the launch of a number of new models. The firm lost £395 million in the last financial quarter but believes those new models will boost fortunes. These include the reborn Land Rover Defender, electric Jaguar XJ, fifth-gen Range Rover, new Jaguar J-Pace SUV, and a new electric Range Rover crossover.
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The engine collaboration came hot on the heels of the surprise announcement in June about plans for JLR and BMW to co-operate on the development of powertrains for future pure-electric and electrified vehicles.
When that deal was announced, Nick Rogers, JLR’s engineering chief, said: “It was clear from discussions with BMW Group that both companies’ requirements for next-generation EDUs to support this transition have significant overlap, making for a mutually beneficial collaboration.”
The enforced move towards electrification is proving extremely expensive for even the most profitable of car makers. Even Mercedes-Benz is seeing premium profit margins vanish because of the cost of new platforms and electrification.
Autocar’s source claimed that the latest move beyond EDUs and into sharing engines is intended to allow JLR to reduce its investment in its own Ingenium engine range. That would then allow the company to re-allocate resources to the huge costs involved in what JLR calls ‘ACES’ (autonomous, connected, electric, shared) technology for future vehicles.
In truth, most models bigger than a city car will probably have to be plug-in hybrids to meet the 2025 and 2030 EU emissions regulations – and that’s why the prospect of JLR sharing the new BMW FAAR platform is now on the agenda.
The FAAR platform
BMW’s FAAR architecture, seen most recently on the new BMW 1 Series, has been designed to accommodate petrol, hybrid and full-electric powertrains.
The FAAR transverse-engined architecture will in time underpin all front-wheel-drive BMW models and Mini’s entire range. Using it would dig JLR out of a significant future hole caused by the lack of a modern, compact, hybrid platform for 2025 and beyond.