As Jaguar Land Rover's venerable AJ-V8 engine notches up its 20th year in production, the end for Jag's long-toothed bent-eight appears to be in sight – and its replacement may come from rival marque BMW.
A downsized version of BMW's familiar twin-turbocharged 4.0 litre V8 may be pressed into service in a number of Jaguar's high-end and high-performance models as a substitute for the current 5.0 litre supercharged V8.
While Jaguar Land Rover continues development of new 3.0 litre six-cylinder and 1.5 litre three-cylinder engines using its current four-cylinder ‘Ingenium’ modular architecture, a replacement is needed for the ageing supercharged six and eight-cylinder engines.
And with V8 engines becoming ever more niche (and emissions standards become more restrictive), the business case for developing an all-new V8 is limited without the guarantee of substantial production numbers. Try as it might, Jaguar still doesn't rival its German competitors for sales volume.
A powertrain deal with BMW may allow JLR to side-step that issue without having to spend big on conjoining two Ingenium 2.0 litre inline fours to make its own V8. BMW does the engineering, while Jaguar helps BMW achieve the economies of scale required to make such an engine profitable.
Will it happen? We don't know. An powertrain-sharing deal between the two companies exists purely as a rumour right now. Could it happen? Absolutely - after all, with Mercedes-AMG already supplying that other quintessetntially British brand Aston Martin with its own performance-oriented V8 engines, a precedent certainly exists.