TURIN — When Wolfgang Reitzle arrived to head up Ford Motor Co.'s Premier Automotive Group (PAG) in March 1999, Jaguar Cars planned a variety of S-Class based models.

Included in the scheme were a wagon and coupe. With Jaguar's engineering resources stretched to the limit, there was even a plan to have one body, most likely the coupe, engineered and assembled in Italy by Industrie Pininfarina SpA.

But after Reitzle and Jonathan Browning, Jaguar's then new managing director, reviewed Jag's future strategy, they decided to drop the S-class variants and concentrate on the next year's smaller, new Mondeo-based T-class.

The sales success of the S-class meant any additional volume only could be achieved at the expense of the sedan, since the assembly plant already was running at capacity. They agreed this was not a sensible allocation of manpower and manufacturing resources, much better to focus on Jaguar's BMW 3-series rival.

With planned volumes running at up to 130,000 a year, Reitzle and Browning quickly gave the green light to a raft of T-class variants to be styled under new design boss Ian Callum. Reitzle had developed the hugely successful 3-series for BMW and cleverly evolved a strong range of individual body styles that share the same platform but appeal to a vast cross section of different customers. This year BMW expects to build close on 400,000 3-series in sedan, coupe, wagon and convertible forms, with the new compact and a new U.S.-built Z3 still to come.

Reitzle's plan for the T-class isn't quite as ambitious — enlarging the 3-series range took 25 years — but includes a station wagon, coupe and cabriolet, as well as the sedan that's expected to break cover at next year's Geneva show in March.

If Reitzle is true to form, the coupe and cabriolet will share a basic body that has few common panels with the sedan. Expect true elegance and a far less retro appearance from the 2-door styles. As well, the T-class brings Jaguar's first diesel engine. With diesel sales currently at just over 30% and rising across Europe, the lack of a diesel is hurting in some key markets such as France, Germany and Italy. Jag's first diesel is based on Ford's new 4-cyl. Duratorq DI, a 113-hp twin-cam direct injection 2.0L, but not commercial rail, unit launched in the Mondeo but first seen in the all-new Transit van.

By the time the engine surfaces in the T-class, probably in late 2001 or early 2002, it gets a second-generation common rail system to give more power and torque and pass the Euro 4 emission standards.

Out goes the Bosch VP45 high-pressure pump, shared with the 2.0L BMW diesel and Audi's V-6 diesel, and in its place is a high pressure — expected to be up to 1,850 bar (26,825 psi) — common rail set up that ensures the T-class is competitive.

There's also a chance it could be stretched to the Transit's 2.4L, though this would entail using balance shafts to meet the required level of refinement.

This engine, designed solely by Ford before it signed a joint development program with PSA Peugeot Citroen, is almost certain to appear under the hood of a couple of future Volvo Car Corp. models, as well.