Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe at Detroit
"The Advanced Lightweight Coupe represents the very essence of Jaguar, its heart and soul. If you want to know what lies ahead for us, what direction we will take - this is Jaguar's answer." - Joe Greenwell, Chairman and CEO, Jaguar Cars.
The Advanced Lightweight Coupe is not just a show car. It is a company personified. Like the iconic Jaguar XK120s and E-types that preceded it, the Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe heralds a new generation of stunning sports coupes and saloons; cars that will remain true to Jaguar’s illustrious past but more importantly will see the company leaping confidently forward into the future.
Created by Jaguar’s advanced design team under the watchful eye of renowned Design Director Ian Callum, this high-performance show car is indicative of more than just the company’s evolving design direction – the Advanced Lightweight Coupe represents the future of Jaguar, as an ambassador for a marque whose reputation was founded on beautiful and dynamic sports cars.
The Advanced Lightweight Coupe is a physical expression of Ian Callum’s direction for the next generation of Jaguar cars which, like this 2+2 show car, will have purposeful and seductive exteriors that bring Jaguar design firmly into the 21st century. And with the lightweight aluminium body architecture technology that was introduced with the new XJ saloon, in production form the Advanced Lightweight Coupe would be as dynamic and agile as it is desirable.
"This company has had many ground-breaking moments," says Joe Greenwell, Chairman and CEO, Jaguar Cars. "The XK120 was a ground-breaker and of course the E-type and XJ6 saloon in the 1960s helped to change the face of motoring. These were events in automotive design history that have stood the test of time and I would like to think that we will look back on the Advanced Lightweight Coupe as another of those moments in Jaguar’s lineage."
Design Director Ian Callum’s vision for the next generation of Jaguars is clearly expressed in the Advanced Lightweight Coupe show car. Its exterior lines are beautiful yet powerful - a confident blend of curves highlighted by muscular detail, resulting in a car that could only be a Jaguar.
"I firmly believe that Jaguars should appear powerful as well as elegant," Callum says. "Look back at the great cars from our past and you will see that they were as muscular and taut as they were subtle and curvaceous. That’s what confident Jaguar design is all about."
This belief stems from Callum’s first sighting of the original Jaguar XJ6 saloon in the 1960s; an event that he describes as "the moment the penny dropped" when it came to his understanding of car design.
"As soon as I saw the XJ6 I realised what creating a beautiful car was all about," he says. "It was a perfect example of what designers call proportion and stance, which simply means how a car sits on the road. The XJ6 was so structured and confident it was like nothing else - its wheels appeared huge, almost out of proportion to its body, and they were visually right at each corner of the car. It really looked as if it was hunkered down on the road."
Creating a sports show car that conveys the remarkable heritage of Jaguar with integrity while projecting the marque forward into the future was not a simple challenge. Ian Callum and his design team passionately debated how the Advanced Lightweight Coupe would strike that balance before settling on this stunning design.
Every curve of the bodywork and rise and fall of each surface is deliberate, concise and calculated. There is no design for design’s sake on the car, no extraneous sculpture or unnecessary surfacing; a point that Callum believes will separate future Jaguars from other cars.
"Nothing is superfluous on this car," he stresses. "If you point at any part of the bodywork it is there for a specific reason or because it simply can’t go any further in. We have produced a skin that is drawn taut across the chassis; one that covers the bare essentials underneath and nothing else " that’s how a sports car body should be formed."
The car rides on unique 21-inch alloy wheels with custom-made Pirelli tyres, which sit below wide, flowing haunches. The rear haunch is of particular note, its prominent shoulder helping to exaggerate the size of the wheels relative to the body. With the visual mass of the cabin also drawn back towards the rear haunch the car appears to be moving forward even when it is standing still. The grille on the show car is also of prime importance as an indicator for the look of future Jaguars. As a pure geometrical form it draws its inspiration from classic Jaguars of the past like the E-type. Additionally, features such as the polished aluminium gills reinforce the engineering integrity that is present in all Jaguars.
"When Jaguar’s revered aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer created the E-type he didn’t sculpt that car, instead he devised that remarkable shape from pure geometry " it is a series of ellipses," says Giles Taylor, Jaguar Senior Design Manager. "By designing the E-type that way he gave it a mechanical purity that we wanted to reflect in this car’s face. That meant the grille had to be perfectly symmetrical in both a horizontal and vertical plane, and by doing that we have made a focal point from which every line can stream backwards."
In keeping with the understated and contemporary feel of Jaguar’s previous recent show cars, this car’s interior is restrained yet undeniably luxurious and welcoming. The task for the interior design team was to produce a cabin that wasn’t over-powering or fussy.
"We all agreed that our interiors should be clean, simple and straightforward," says Ian Callum. "There is an honesty about the car’s interior which I really like."
Laid out in a classic 2+2 sports car format, the car’s cabin is more spacious and better packaged than previous Jaguar coupes, with impressive headroom and multi-directional sports front seats and individual bucket seats in the rear. The interior is trimmed throughout in a tan leather which has visible stitching on the hides that line the doors and the dashboard. Aluminium inserts are spread throughout the car to act as jewellery that accentuates the contemporary feel of the cabin. Its focal point is the central dashboard console that houses an advanced Alpine telematics screen which provides user-feedback in the form of a ‘pulse’ when you touch the on-screen buttons.
The instrument binnacle has been designed to relate to the shape of the steering wheel and houses a high-resolution screen between its dials that provides the driver with a secondary source of infotainment and satellite-navigation information. Behind the steering wheel sit the gearshift levers that operate an automatic paddleshift transmission - the first time this technology has appeared on a Jaguar. The paddles are mounted to the wheel itself, rather than the steering column, to ensure that at whatever angle the wheel is held, the driver doesn’t have to take his concentration away from the road. Just the kind of touch you’d expect in what is, first and foremost, a driver’s car.
"This car is as clear a statement on the strength and confidence of the company as we could possibly make," concludes Joe Greenwell, Chairman and CEO, Jaguar Cars. "Its design is assertive and pure - a perfect symbol for our 21st century cars – and beneath that beautiful body lies the heart and soul of a true Jaguar sports car."
"The Advanced Lightweight Coupe marks a return to the core values of Jaguar," says Bibiana Boerio, Managing Director, Jaguar Cars. "There is a determination in every department of this company to produce a new range of cars that provides the total Jaguar experience and this car is the first evidence of that determination.
"Aspirational and exclusive, with contemporary design and stunning performance, the Advanced Lightweight Coupe is conceived as a special car for special people. It represents the unique position that Jaguar holds in the market place - and even more it tells the world that we are set to make another bold leap forward. For Jaguar, the future begins now."
Text & Photos: Jaguar
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