The introduction of any new XJ range opens a fresh chapter in the story of the Jaguar marque. Against a background of significant growth – in 2001 Jaguar’s annual global sales passed 100,000 for the first time, and this year will show another strong increase – the new XJ model remains quintessentially true to the core strengths and values that have made generations of the car so popular. For more than three decades, the XJ has been the definitive Jaguar saloon.
Working with the most advanced technologies ever used by Jaguar, the XJ programme team has created a car that blends the ultra-modern with traditional Jaguar values. Lightweight aluminium construction provides new levels of strength, robustness and dynamic ability.
Engineering the new XJ to perform in all the areas that are expected of a Jaguar flagship saloon has resulted in a car that leads the way in the application of intelligent, relevant technology while providing the style and contemporary luxury that are the trademarks of the Jaguar brand.
Exterior Design And Engineering
“The new XJ is a luxury car with a true sense of gravitas. The proportions, stance and obvious dynamic quality clearly display that all-important Jaguar DNA and give it real presence on the road.” Ian Callum, Director of Design
The powerful yet restrained design of Jaguar’s new flagship saloon marks it out as an elegant, luxurious car in the tradition of previous XJ models. But alongside this is the technology and advanced technical design that has made the body construction possible. The new XJ body is manufactured almost entirely from aluminium, a material that has a strong place in Jaguar’s history. Using the same lightweight but ultra-strong techniques that feature in aircraft, the new XJ’s body is an advance on all fronts. The bodyshell (known as the body-in-white or BIW) is some 40 per cent lighter than that of the equivalent steel body. This is the starting point from which spring many of the advantages the XJ enjoys over the competition, not least in relative performance and economy.
Equally important, the new body is 60 per cent stiffer than its predecessor. This brings yet more positive points, including the ability to achieve excellent dynamic performance, safety, refinement and durability.
“We chose a lightweight aluminium vehicle architecture for the new XJ not because it was something new, but because it enabled us to deliver real and significant benefits to our customers.” David Scholes, Chief Programme Engineer
Featuring an industry-first use of rivet-bonded joining technology for the whole body structure, self-pierce rivets are used in combination with aerospace-sourced epoxy adhesive to join the aluminium pressings, castings and extrusions. This provides great strength, robustness and durability. The aluminium body is primarily a conventional monocoque construction, however structural castings and extrusions are used locally to enhance the body structure and reduce the overall panel count.
In addition to the aluminium used in the body structure for panels and castings, a magnesium cross-car beam – as strong as aluminium but 30 per cent lighter again – supports the facia and instrument panel and is combined with aluminium to produce a lightweight steering column. Magnesium castings are also used in the seat frames.
But this state-of-the-art construction would count for nothing if the car did not have the essential style that ensures a Jaguar XJ stands out from the crowd. Sensuous and sophisticated, the all-new saloon is true in every respect to the glorious tradition of the XJ heritage. More than 800,000 XJs have been sold since the first generation was introduced in 1968, more than half of all Jaguars ever made.
“This all-new car had to be clearly identifiable as an XJ, capturing the recognised essence and style of the classic lineage… but it also had to have a modern idiom all of its own.” Ian Callum, Director of Design
The Jaguar design team has subtly transformed the proportions of the new XJ. Longer, taller and wider than its predecessor – which results in more room for occupants and luggage alike – the new XJ is a thoroughly modern interpretation of an iconic design.
The doors are noticeably deeper and the waistline higher than in the previous generation and overall the new car has a slightly more ‘cab-forward’ approach, with the four wheels closer to the corners. The front overhang is much reduced and the windscreen rake is faster (less steep), but the resulting smaller bonnet retains the characteristic sculpted XJ shape.
The headlights – vital in setting the tone for the look of any car – have evolved into a more distinct element of the front-end style. Now oval in shape, they are arranged in a classic quad design, positioned either side of a new grille of intersecting vertical and horizontal bars that takes its inspiration from the original 1968 XJ6 (XJR models have a different grille).
This makes it all the more poignant that the famous XJ6 badge is making a return in the new XJ range, taking its place alongside the XJ8, XJR and new XJ Super V8 models.