A new era for Jaguar has begun. The marque badly needed a bold, fresh styling theme to set the scene for its forthcoming saloons – and here, at last, is the four-door C-XF concept car.
“The C-XF – and the future generations of sports saloons it signals – reaffirms the direction Jaguar is taking,” says Bibiana Boerio, Managing Director of Jaguar Cars. “When we launched the new XK sports car series, we promised that new Jaguars would be beautiful, fast, glamorous and evocative. The C-XF proves that these same values and more are coming in Jaguar saloon cars.”
The aim has been to blend heritage styling cues with contemporary features. The C-XF’s design team took inspiration from some of Sir William Lyons’ greatest cars, including the 1950 Mark VII and 1959 Mark 2 saloons. Their flowing lines display that extraordinary feeling of latent power that, to many, is the very essence of a Jaguar.
Set into the front of the C-XF is a bold and aggressive grille finished in black chrome, recessed deeply into the body. “Jaguars need a distinctive grille, a face,” says Director of Design Ian Callum. “It’s the classic ‘car in the rear-view mirror’ look, with everything powering rearwards from the grille.” Directly behind the grille is an enhanced version of Jaguar’s 4.2-litre supercharged V8 engine, tuned to produce over 420bhp and 500Nm of torque, mated to six-speed automatic transmission with Jaguar’s Sequential Shift manual gearchange capability.
The headlamps are narrow and angular, bringing an air of aggression to the C-XF’s profile. Between the lamps a blue streak of light reveals an almost cat-like iris when illuminated. Bespoke Pirelli tyres surround 21-inch machined, polished aluminium wheels; and running backwards from the nose of the C-XF is an unbroken shoulder that flows beneath the cabin glassline and into the haunch.
Inside the car, the emphasis is on tailored performance rather than pampered luxury, with lightweight, bucket-style front seats. Twin individual bucket seats also house the rear-seat passengers. Between the seats runs a tall central transmission tunnel that gives the occupants a sense of sitting deep within a futuristic cockpit, as Jaguar interiors traditionally give occupants the feeling that they are enclosed in the car, not sitting on it. The focal point of the interior is a sweeping brushed aluminium fascia, complemented by a combination of leather and wood.
A theatrical feature of the car is the starting sequence. A jewel-like Power button pulses on the centre console – its rhythm representing the ‘heartbeat’ of the car. Press the button and beneath your hand concentric aluminium rings spiral downwards to allow the new circular JaguarDrive Selector to nestle directly in your palm. Then, as the engine starts, a beam of blue light radiates from the centre of the instrument panel, chases its way around the cabin and finally envelops the rear seats. Overhead, an electro-luminescent panel spanning the entire roof-lining bathes the interior in a muted blue light. Outside, a burst of blue light from the front grille marks the moment the car’s engine fires into life.
“We want Jaguars to feel like they are coming alive when you start them,” says Interior Designer Alister Whelan.
As a design showcase for future generations of Jaguar sports saloons, the C-XF is certainly innovative. Ian Callum concludes, “It signals a future for Jaguar that is as exciting as the C-XF itself.” Let’s hope so.
Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: Jaguar Cars
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