At first sight, the XF is a Jaguar unlike any other, which abandons certain styling cues such as the heart-shaped grille, which the S-Type – destined to be replaced by the new car presented at Frankfurt – had nostalgically inherited from the legendary Mark 2.
Yet Ian Callum, chief of design for the cat brand, claims that “our design philosophy isn’t rebuilt every five years, and is based on that of Sir William Lyons, so there’s no need to re-invent it”.
All that is needed, he says, is to “find the values that make a Jaguar a Jaguar”. While the XF is a new concept from the ground up, it has not forsaken a number of classic styling cues, first among them the grille, which, while not that of the Mark 2, is very similar to that of the first series XJ6.
Other traits are, says Callum, echoes of the marque’s epochal cars, which he sums up in a mantra that many others have tried and failed to make their own: “Quality, quality, quality”.
In reality, Jaguar has taken a new course with the XF, yet one which remains true to the brand’s traditions, as encapsulated by the slogan “strength expressed through image”.
Rather than a new design philosophy, this is more the case of a revised formal language, which brings together the style and performance of a sports car with the sophistication and space of a luxury saloon. The visual effect is that of a fastback coupé, but the interior ambience is that of a luxury saloon for five.
“Jaguars”, says Callum, “have to be beautiful cars. Just making different cars with different ideas would be very easy, the real challenge is to make cars that are different and beautiful.”
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 166