January 4, 2007
Set into the front of the C-XF is a bold and aggressive grille finished in black chrome. Recessed deeply into the body rather than sitting flush with the surface, the visual effect is similar to that of an air intake on a jet engine and serves as a reminder that directly behind is a sophisticated and powerful 4.2-litre supercharged V8 engine.
The C-XF’s colour palette is deliberately monochromatic, mixing a one-off exterior paint – Metashine silver – with areas of brightwork in either chrome or aluminium finishes. Additionally, white ceramic is used to indicate areas of dynamic air flow or heat exchange – in this case the side power vents and tailpipes.
Design Director Ian Callum describes the cabin of the C-XF concept car as “one of the most exciting interiors Jaguar has ever done”. One glimpse of the inside of the four-seater is enough to understand why Callum has this view.
The emphasis is on tailored performance rather than pampered luxury and nowhere is that better demonstrated than in the lightweight, sculpted bucket-style front seats. Trimmed in semi-aniline leather (a specially dyed hide which ensures even colouration yet retains its softness) the seats are sports-styled yet also offer impressive comfort thanks to a deeply padded lumbar area with ventilation cavities. Twin individual bucket seats house the rear-seat passengers.
The ‘tone on tone’ theme that has been applied to the exterior of the C-XF has been carried through to its interior, with a sensational blend of materials, graphic elements and innovative technologies.
Jaguar’s ethos on embracing new technologies that enhance the driver experience has long been that they should surprise, delight and inform, rather than impose themselves or bombard the user with excessive information or choice.
Perhaps the most theatrical of the features Callum references is the starting sequence. Sink into the C-XF driver’s seat and 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 envelopes the rear seats. Overhead, an electro-luminescent panel spanning the entire rooflining bathes the interior in a muted blue light to give a feeling of ambience and space. Outside, a burst of blue light from the front grille marks the moment the car’s engine fires into life.
Visually coming to life when being started is one thing, but sensing the requirements of an occupant without physical touch is a further, significant leap forward again. The introduction of a new prototype technology, called JaguarSense, sees four sensors hidden within the doors react to the sweep of your hand as it passes over them. Once activated, the inner door handles – previously hidden – motor outwards ready to be used.
Driving C-XF in a more relaxed manner would allow occupants to enjoy an audio experience of the highest quality. Visually stunning honeycomb speaker panels are set into the rear parcel shelf and front facia top. Designed by Jaguar and created by leading British loudspeaker manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins, the beautiful cat’s eye-shaped designs are aesthetic yet functional works of art.
Beneath the C-XF’s bonnet, further technical excellence is immediately apparent. The car is powered by an enhanced version of Jaguar’s renowned 4.2-litre supercharged V8 engine. Tuned to produce in excess of 420bhp and 500Nm of torque – the latter produced from very low revs – this proven powerplant and its six-speed automatic transmission with Jaguar Sequential Shift manual gearchange capability, deliver superb sporting performance. If C-XF were a production car, it would reach an electronically limited top speed of 155mph, with the possibility of an unrestricted speed in excess of 180mph.
The C-XF is the first car ever to use Beru F1 System’s unique Wire in Composite (WIC) technology. WIC completely encloses all wiring in a bespoke carbon-fibre sleeve, protecting it from damage and also improving durability, packaging, weight and aesthetics. As the first vehicle to use the technology, the C-XF leaps ahead of upcoming debuts in both Formula 1 motor racing and the aerospace industry – and allows Jaguar to further investigate production car potential for the system.
“The Jaguar C-XF concept is the most dynamic and modern four-door car that Jaguar has ever created, a design showcase heralding the next generations of our sports saloon models. It signals a future for Jaguar that is as exciting as the C-XF itself.” Ian Callum, Design Director, Jaguar Cars
(January 3, 2006)