S’AGARO, Spain – The next-generation ’04 Jaguar XJ sedan will not be a wholesale departure from the exterior styling found on the current model, company officials say.

While sales of the car won’t begin until the end of February or early March 2003, Jaguar Cars Ltd. plans to continue to execute special editions to keep the XJ fresh in the minds of Jaguar buyers.

"The (next) XJ will have a very evolutionary approach," says Mike O’Driscoll, president of Aston Martin-Jaguar-Land Rover North America, during a press preview here for the ’03 S-Type. "You’ll know it’s a Jaguar."

O’Driscoll says Jaguar plans to offer limited edition variants of the XJ until the ’04 model is launched. They will be similar to the XJR model, of which Jaguar offered 100 units and sold out within one week of their availability. "We plan to sprinkle a little magic dust on the XJs," he says.

Jaguar’s XJ, which has been available in its current form since 1995, is a descendent of the S-Type, which rose to popularity in the 1950s.

kekelly @primediabusiness.com