Future Cars

2008 Jaguar XF

For Jaguar sedan design, time stopped in the 1960s. Today’s X-type and XJ sedans both follow in the tire tracks of the first XJ, which debuted in 1968, while the S-type apes the even older, early-’60s Jaguar Mark II. Design chief Ian Callum is determined to drive Jaguar styling out of its cul-de-sac, and the Concept XF is the first indication of where he plans to go.

Interiors will use wood as both a structural and a decorative element. Jaguar cabins will be styled so as to emphasize their width, and technology will be discreet. The RD-6 andR-coupe concepts–as well as the new XK–follow this philosophy, but the C-XF is the first Jaguar sedan to do so.

Jaguar has announced that the S-type will be replaced in spring 2008 with a car called the XF, so the C-XF clearly points the way toward that production model. How close is the C-XF to the XF? “It’s that styling direction, but it’s not that car,” says Callum, adding that “it’s a less radical version of that shape.” He characterizes the concept’s design as “twenty percent exaggerated”–particularly in its low roofline, its wide track, and its pumped-up details.

The C-XF’s 114-inch wheelbase is virtually identical to the current S-type’s, and the concept is an inch longer overall. But the C-XF is significantly taller than an S-type and wider than an XJ. A supercharged, 420-hp, 4.2-liter V-8 mates to a six-speed manu-matic in the C-XF, but the production XF surely will be offered with a V-6 and Jag’s normally aspirated V-8 as well. We’ll find out how closely the production XF mirrors the C-XF concept this fall, when the XF will be unveiled, perhaps at the Frankfurt auto show.

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