In the wake of the turbocharger revolution, it seems everyone in the performance arena is abandoning naturally aspirated engines and moving towards turbocharged configurations. With the recent news that Ferrari would abandon its traditional naturally aspirated setup, questions have been raised as to who is next. When prodded, the folks at Jaguar were quick to say ‘no.’
Jaguar is a brand undergoing somewhat of a revival in design, performance and luxury. New innovations in engineering and design have secured the brand what seems to be a promising future, one that couldn’t come soon enough after the stagnation of sorts seen in the later Ford years. However, Jaguar won’t be following the precedent of going over to turbocharged power, promising to retain its commitment to producing supercharged models.
The R model variants across the Jaguar model line all sport superchargers, with most using some analogue of the Jaguar Land Rover 5.0 liter V8, even occasionally reaching outputs in excess of 500 horsepower. Even the new 3.0 liter V6 that will grace the upcoming XE and F-Type will see a supercharged performance variant. Among the primary reasons Jaguar is abstaining from adopting the turbocharger fad is because it doesn’t see the compromises as worth it. A lot of pejorative talk has been going around about ‘lag’ in relation to turbocharged models, and Jaguar seems to agree. It seems the Jaguar crowd just isn’t ready to accept the perceived lack of torque accompanying supercharged engines either, as one Jaguar executive opined,
“That’s great for a certain type of car, but not for a sports car. The main thing you miss between a turbocharged engine and a supercharged engine is the torque. The nice thing about the torque you get with a supercharger is that it actually feels just like a naturally aspirated engine. You can maximize torque very naturally.”
Jaguar’s reliance on superchargers continues in defiance of the rest of the industry, and the various efficiency advantages inherent to turbochargers. Perhaps Jaguar will be forced to make the switch to turbochargers in the name of efficiency in order to keep up, or perhaps they’ll soldier on in defiance of the industry’s trends. While executives are resolute in their decision for the present and immediate future, it’s been made clear that for the future, they’re not saying never. According to one executive, “Never say never, you know – we may change, we may not.”