Two separate articles in this issue of A&D describe the technological innovations and the design features of a historic product, the Jaguar XJ. On sale since the spring, the seventh generation of this great British car promises to generate real excitement among brand loyalists.
At engineering level, the briefing for the X350 project, which began in 1997, demanded increased dimensions and the use of a revolutionary (for Jaguar) body material. Faced, in fact, with the need to increase interior space and hence exterior size, the Jaguar management decided, as long ago as 1998, to abandon steel in favour of aluminium for the dual purpose of optimising performance while significantly reducing weight.
On the design front, when Ian Callum took over at the helm of Jaguar design, the XJ project had already reached an advanced stage. He did, however, get there in time to examine the salient features he was to describe to Auto & Design. “While its low-slung shape was a strength of the first series, the new version is much taller in order to accommodate a more spacious interior. It took a lot of hard work to achieve this, without sacrificing the lithe look that has always been a Jaguar selling point. In the end, they have created a car so perfectly proportioned that not even its 20″ wheels look out of scale”.
“The team has given the car a completely new presence”, continues Callum, on the subject of the new XJ. “By adopting an unusually high waistline that makes it look more attractive, though, actually, more like the original 1968 XJ than many of the intervening versions”.
Callum and his team will now be asked to develop a completely new Jaguar line. However, for the immediate future, the current XJ-6 and XJ-8 will continue to be the brand’s key flagships.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 141