At last, Jaguar gives us a glimpse of its future. The derivatively styled XJ8 led us to wonder if Jag would remain forever mired in the past, but the Advanced Lightweight Coupe shows that design director Ian Callum has a clear vision of where he wants to take Jaguar. Yes, it’s officially a concept, but this car will hit the road as the next-generation XK8 and XKR coupe and convertible.As its name implies, the concept, like the XJ8 sedan, has a bonded and riveted aluminum skeleton supporting aluminum body panels, which should drop curb weight by several hundred pounds compared with the current car. This plus higher-horsepower versions of the current cars’ normally aspirated and supercharged V-8s should put performance in territory. The 2+2 cabin beautifully balances modernity and sumptuousness, with nary a trace of show-car frippery. The design team wanted the tautly drawn, muscular exterior to send as strong a message about Jaguar’s intentions as the XK120 and the E-type did in their own time. That’s heady company, but we think the new XK will be a stunning representation of the Jaguar brand. It’s unlikely that the hatch, a nod to the fixed-head E-type’s left-hinged cargo lid, will carry over, however.
The Feline Mystique: “The Advanced Lightweight Coupe represents the very essence of Jaguar, its heart and soul,” says Jaguar chairman Joe Greenwell. “If you want to know what lies ahead for us, what direction we will take-this is Jaguar’s answer.”