The undoubted star of the recent North American International Auto Show was Jaguar’s C-XF concept car, which won numerous accolades and column inches the moment it was unveiled in Detroit.
“An exciting, modern, dynamic sports saloon that evokes absolute desire,” enthused one commentator. “It possesses a sense of latent power that conveys dynamism and movement even when the car is stationary,” declared another. A third said it was “so good-looking” he was immediately wondering what he needed to mortgage in his life to pay for the car.
Jaguar has set the C-XF four-door sports saloon as a statement of intent on its vision for future generation cars. From the breathtakingly dynamic exterior design, to the stylish and hightech interior, to the superb engine under the hood, the C-XF is a triumphantly confident and complete package.
The exterior design completely updates the traditional Jaguar look – while still respecting its key values – replacing it with something purer, more modern and more sporty. Director of Design Ian Callum says the core design values for the C-XF were “purity, visual dynamism and beauty” and these are evident throughout the car, from the new jet-fighter-style recessed grille at the low, aggressive nose; past the latest evolution of Jaguar’s twin-lamp headlights, subtly accented with blue irises; along the shoulder line which flows unbroken all the way to the widened rear haunches. The entire design conveys athleticism and latent power.
The beautiful and dramatic lines of the C-XF’s bodywork are accentuated by the unique liquid metal paintwork, styled “Metashine Silver” by Jaguar and based on the Ciba® XYMARA™ METASHEEN® range of effect pigments. Highlights are picked up with chrome and aluminum – monochromatic “tone-on-tone,” as described by Julian Thompson, Head of Advanced design, to evoke a car “milled from a solid piece of metal” – as well as clean, pure white ceramic.
The “tone-on-tone” design continues into the interior of the C-XF, where aluminum (on the sweeping fascia) is now joined by new textures and treatments on traditional materials: carbon fiber patterned leather (on the dashboard), semi-aniline leather (in the bucket seats), scorched Poplar wood (on areas of the doors and the transmission tunnel). Occupants feel invitingly cocooned in a futuristic cockpit. Innovative lighting effects and carefully choreographed mechanics make the act of starting up the engine into a piece of theater: press the bright red Power button which pulses like the heart of a sleeping animal and aluminum rings fall aside to reveal the circular gear selector, while beams of electroluminescent blue light race around the cabin, bringing the car into wakefulness.
The design principle of the functionality of the C-XF’s interior is the use of technology to simplify, keeping dashboard elements out of the way until the driver or passengers need them. The JaguarSense technology effectively senses the user’s intentions to open doors, reveal handles and activate multi-directional touchscreen “infotainment” screens and air vents, while instrument panel dials move according to the driver’s needs.
Technology excellence continues under the hood, where the powerful and sophisticated “Powertrain” – a 420bhp 4.2-litre supercharged V8 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission – could bring the C-XF to speeds of 180mph if the car were not electronically limited to 155mph. The engine bay itself is the site of another design innovation: Beru F1 Systems’ carbon-fiber wiring “loom”, which encases the wiring and tidies the tangle of wires into a visually stunning harness.
The production version of the C-XF – the XF range – is targeted to be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and to come into showrooms in early 2008, replacing the S-Type range.
“Throughout its history Jaguar has created some of the most striking, modern and beautiful sports saloons imaginable and our objective with C-XF was to recognize those principle design disciplines,” explains Ian Callum. “The values that I see in Jaguar aesthetics include purity, dynamism, latent power, balance and modernity.”
The selection of Ciba XYMARA METASHEEN for its apparel undoubtedly enhances the groundbreaking aesthetic elements of this visionary sports saloon.