The 2008 XF could represent the most significant departure from previous styling in Jaguar’s history. The question is: is that a good thing? Maybe its time for a fresh start, considering how Jaguar has been plagued by reliability and build quality issues for decades.
When Ford Motors bought Jaguar, it was assumed that this acquisition would solve some of those nagging problems. While Ford’s oversight may have eliminated mishaps like wheels falling off and doors not opening for no apparent reason, many feel that their impedance on Jaguar styling has only brought about a new set of nightmares. The Ford design concepts for Jag virtually terrorized the XJ series, as the American automaker tried to retain classic Jaguar touches while building the new cars on what appeared to be Ford Taurus platforms.
However, it is unfair to categorize all Jaguar design problems as products of Ford interference. The British luxury auto manufacturer has always attempted to carry over old styling cues to new models, tightly gripping their illustrious Mark VII past. With the upcoming exit of the S-type, Jaguar has been faced with a tough question: can the old truly be left behind?
The answer? Almost. Jaguar’s design team, led by Ian Callum of DB7 fame, has assembled a very generalized list of the (positive) attributes that makes a Jaguar so special, and cleverly applied them to this unique looking new concept. If you’ve ever seen a Jaguar sedan, you can probably list a few: sleekness, elegance, grace, athleticism, and style. Obviously, the heavily sculpted hood and cat-eye headlight shape will be included. So despite the XF’s very modern look, Jaguar has managed to sneak in some retro touches.
The XF will go to production in 2008, with a slightly more conservative appearance than this exaggerated concept car. Wheels will be an inch smaller, windows will be deeper, and door handles will probably have to be added. Designers plan to use wood trim sparingly for the interior, in favor of a more modern look. The power supply is expected to come from a supercharged 4.2 liter V-8, which generates 420 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque. The engine will be mated with a six speed automatic transmission, and all XFs will be rear wheel drive.