The defining element of the new XF as a true sporting Jaguar is its visual strength. Driven by a bold new design language, the XF firmly emphasises contemporary and emotional themes while remaining unmistakeably a Jaguar. Targeting leadership in exterior and interior design, the XF builds on already high standards of craftsmanship, quality and dynamic refinement, while improving packaging and aerodynamics even further.
As Design Director Ian Callum explains:
“The XF is a stage in a personal journey for me. It has always been my career goal to return Jaguar to its rightful place as leader in automotive design. Cars like the original XJ6 left a lasting legacy and my ambition has been to create something as seminal. The XF is that car.”
The new XF enters the range in the niche previously occupied by much-loved mid-sized Jaguar saloons such as the original XJ Series 1 (a car that was smaller than today’s XJ). But unlike many D/E segment premium saloons, the new XF pushes boundaries away from the ‘three box’ style and creates a four-door, five-seat saloon with strong, coupe-like lines. Jaguar’s new design language, which debuted with the new XK sports car, is applied to a saloon car for the first time in XF. The visual step forwards is as significant as it is obvious - the XF’s proportions, for example, are so closely matched to those of the XK that the screen rake angles are the same on both cars.
Having the space and practicality of full five-seat accommodation was a programme imperative, so the XF is proportioned to provide interior space and levels of comfort that challenge for best-in-class honours. At 4961mm long and 1877mm wide, on a lengthy 2909mm wheelbase, the XF is 45mm longer and 25mm wider than its nearest 'dimensional' competitor, the Audi A6 – with even greater advantages over the BMW 5 Series, Lexus GS300 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
The XF’s visual emphasis is sporty, muscular and dynamic – a character defined by a sweeping silhouette inspired by the XK, a powerful grille, dramatic side window graphics and, of course, strong Jaguar ‘shoulders’. The look, however, does not come at the expense of efficient packaging. The XF’s waistline rises to meet the roof rather than the roof coming down to meet the waist, which improves interior space. This rising waistline gives the XF a higher tail than any previous Jaguar, providing the twin benefits of much improved aerodynamic performance, together with substantially increased luggage volume. At a maximum of 540 litres (500 with a spare wheel) the XF’s boot is the equal of anything in the class and betters most rivals.
The XF’s Jaguar character is defined by its face – centred around a bold intake grille which provides a focal point for the feature lines which stream back over the bonnet and cabin, it has inherent visual strength. The grille’s mesh pattern is itself an important element of external jewellery, the woven pattern an emotional design signature that is quintessentially British, with strong sporting connotations.
The headlamps further emphasise the way in which Jaguar’s design language has progressed. The one-piece clusters have a wide aspect ratio and wrap around the corners of the body onto the front wings. Closer inspection of the headlamp internals reveals twin round elements incorporated within the overall shape; a subliminal reminder of the Jaguar saloon ‘quad lamp’ signature.
The front lower bumper includes powerful air intakes, carrying chrome 'splitter' blades whose simple, modern lines evoke the technical, strongly engineered shape of a propeller blade.
In profile, the new XF follows the Jaguar credo of having flowing, uninterrupted lines. The feature line that starts at the outboard edge of the lower air intake, runs up over the front wing, rises into the waistline and then runs around the trailing edge of the bootlid is an example of this.
The stance of the XF is new for a modern-day Jaguar saloon. It gives the car a ‘ready to pounce’ look that suggests latent power and energy, the strong wedge profile of the waistline imparting a forward-biased dynamic before the car has even turned a wheel.
The XF’s wide rear track not only enhances the handling and dynamic values of the car but also reinforces the visual confidence of the new shape. At the rear, the design elements integrate to emphasise the width of the car. The bright signature blade, which proudly carries the ‘JAGUAR’ script, appears to extend beyond the boot lid and into the tail lamps by aligning it with the clear ‘windows’ of the reverse/indicator clusters.
The tail lamp graphics wrap around onto the rear wings, leading your eye out to the broad, muscular rear wheel arches. The lamps use state-of-the-art LED technology to give the XF an unmistakeable night-time signature and an exotic personality. The wheels lie at the extremities of the body, with the wings sculpted to make them look like powerful, bulging muscles. Every wheel and tyre combination has been engineered to have the same rolling radius, giving a consistent ‘wheel to body’ visual relationship. The XF is fitted with either 17, 18, 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels, the supercharged SV8 being the only car in its class to have 20-inch wheels as standard.
The exterior details of the XF have been designed as if they are finely crafted items of exquisite jewellery. The distinctive bright aluminium finisher around the side window, for example, is unusual in being a single-piece pressing and is an unmatched piece of craftsmanship. The side power vents have the Jaguar name embossed on an ‘ingot’ bar across the centre, while the ‘venturi’ shape below the tail – which hints at the XF’s sophisticated aerodynamics – is positioned above large, stylised twin chrome tailpipes.
The XF is unmistakably a Jaguar and its badging unequivocally identifies it as such: a large ‘growler’ badge is prominent on the front grille, while adding the Jaguar ‘leaper’ to the rear boot lid is an emotional statement - a powerful signature that customers associate strongly with the most sporting Jaguars.
From launch, the XF offers three trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury and SV8. Externally, with the exception of wheel styles and a badge on the SV8, all cars will look the same – a customer is buying an XF, rather than an XF in a particular trim level.
Wayne Burgess, XF Senior Manager, Jaguar Design:
“It was time for Jaguar to be bold and the XF fits that brief perfectly. With its dramatic styling, powerful yet beautiful flowing lines and a distinctive face, the new XF looks like no other Jaguar saloon – and yet it could only be a Jaguar.”Published 28 August 2007