Jaguar Lightweight Vehicle Technology

XK-ChassisKey to the all-new XK’s character is Jaguar’s industry-leading bonded and riveted aluminium monocoque body structure, introduced with the latest XJ saloons. The aluminium body incorporates the latest thinking in epoxy bonding and riveting techniques to produce a chassis that is very safe, as well as very light. In fact the new XK’s aluminium chassis is significantly lighter and stiffer in both Coupe and Convertible form than the steel model it replaces – over 30 percent stiffer and an impressive 50 percent stiffer respectively.

As a consequence the new XK accelerates faster, uses less fuel and produces lower emissions than the model it replaces, while offering high levels of safety, reduced noise and vibration intrusion, and improved ride and handling characteristics thanks to improved suspension dynamics.

Jaguar’s Lightweight Vehicle Technology is unique in the industry as a complete aluminium monocoque body structure as distinct from an aluminium spaceframe with separate aluminium panels. Developed from aircraft industry methods, where strength is critical for huge temperature variations and very high stresses during take-offs and landings, Jaguar’s manufacturing process produces a massively strong but very light structure. The new XK takes the concept a step further with extended use of lightweight aluminium castings and extrusions as well as the pressed aluminium panels. Its strength and light weight come from the way the shell is constructed, using new jointing technologies developed by Jaguar and its suppliers.

There is only a single welded joint in the new XK Coupe body, the one ‘cosmetic’ joint on the roof. That also has an environmental benefit in that the body construction needs no high electrical current, produces no welding sparks or fumes, and needs no water for cooling. All the other joints in the new XK shell are formed using Jaguar’s unique combination of riveting and bonding. Most joints are produced using self-piercing rivets applied by hydraulic pressure against a fixed tool. Where access to only one side of the joint is possible, as in some of the new extruded box sections, a new riveting process has been developed; and where particularly high stiffness is required in a joint, a combination of riveting and bonding is used – with the adhesive bond in effect creating a continuous joint which is stronger than a similar, riveted-only joint. All visible exterior panels are bonded to the underlying structure, and a new automated seam-sealing process seals all relevant areas of the shell before painting, to ensure that no gaps are missed.

In the new XK, a secondary front bulkhead of aluminium and composite materials helps reduce transmission of noise from the engine compartment and provides a dry area under the hood for accommodating electrical components. The new structure also has benefits in refinement; castings are used for the mounting points for the engine, transmission and suspension make those points significantly stiffer, further reducing transmitted noise and helping to improve suspension dynamics. In terms of long-term strength, Jaguar’s all-aluminium shell has durability approaching twice that of a traditional spot-welded steel body.

XK-ChassisAnother major advantage of this Lightweight Vehicle Technology is that all the necessary stiffness is in the structure of the bodyshell, with very large rectangular-section side sills. So the Convertible, even without a roof, does not need the traditional extra stiffening panels seen on many other convertibles – meaning there is no added weight and no penalty in stiffness or refinement (1595kg for the Coupe versus 1635kg for the Convertible).

“The lightweight vehicle architecture really helps the all-new XK to handle, steer and brake better than ever. Imagine how much easier it is to turn a lightweight object travelling at speed compared to a heavy one. The aluminium chassis makes the XK so much more controllable in corners and a whole lot of fun to drive!”

Al Kammerer, Product Development Director, Jaguar and Land Rover

XK-ChassisSafety is another major benefit of this very strong construction method. That is partly inherent in aluminium as a material, which absorbs significantly more energy per kilogramme of material weight than steel when it is deformed. But the strength advantage doesn’t only apply to high-speed impacts, it also means lower-speed accident repair costs are kept to a minimum. The reduction in the number of joints in the all-new XK further increases strength, and the front of the body is protected by easily replaced ‘crush cans’ that absorb the energy in impacts up to just over 9mph (15kph).

The new XK’s all-aluminium doors are each over 13 lbs (6 kg) lighter than an equivalent steel door and their mountings are significantly stiffer, which allows smaller gaps. Mounting the window glass rails directly to the aluminium castings at the front and rear of the door gives better sealing from the frameless layout, and an impressively solid sound and feel when closed.

With lower weight and higher strength, Lightweight Vehicle Technology is the starting point for improved performance, safety, refinement, economy, emissions performance and driving dynamics in the new XK.