With the Jaguar X-Type progressively making its debut in countries around the world (it was launched in Malaysia recently), the British company has given a preview of what the public can expect in future products in the form of the R-Coupe Concept. The four-seater luxury coupe is the first vehicle to explore and demonstrate the new design philosophy at Jaguar and faithful to core Jaguar values from the past, the R-Coupe interprets them in modern form.
The design team responsible for creating the R-Coupe was led by Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar Cars Limited. According to Callum, “the R-Coupe demonstrates that you can maintain traditional Jaguar design values — proportions, stance and graphic cues — and create an advanced car around them”.
The exterior of the R-Coupe looks engineered, not merely styled. Its integrity comes from strong, geometric forms such as the tubular fuselage — recalling that of the Jaguar E-Type. While Jaguar has no plans to produce the R-Coupe, themes and ideas embodied in its design will find their way into future production models.
The R-Coupe’s proportions — 4922 mm long and 1890 mm wide — suggest power and movement, reminiscent of classic Jaguars and indeed, one of the key design objectives was to match the beautifully balanced proportions of the earlier models. Equally fundamental to the character of a true Jaguar is the car’s stance — the relationship between the road, the wheels and the body. The way the R-Coupe’s cabin tucks down between the massive wheels conveys an appropriate impression of ‘latent power’.
As an example, ultra-low profile Continentals tyres are fitted. These have a unique ‘Jaguar Cat Claw’ tread pattern and are mounted on uniquely-styled, 10-spoke alloy wheels with 285/30/R21 tyre sizes. With this combination, the car’s roof is just 1346 mm above the road.
Flowing lines over the structured forms, together with clean and simple surfaces contribute to the car’s powerful, muscular presence. The R-Coupe’s design detail is restrained and calculated to deliver a sense of movement. The side window trim subtly widens as it runs back, while the flowing waistline carries the eye along the length of the car — another Jaguar hallmark re-interpreted for the R-Coupe.
“The interior celebrates the warmth and richness of natural materials, to create a bold and harmonious cabin that is both cosy and advanced,” says Julian Thomson, Chief Designer, Advanced Studio, Jaguar Cars Limited. Modern furniture and interior design inspired both the styling and choice of materials for the R-Coupe’s luxurious cabin. Abundant wood and leather are used in novel ways and help create a highly tactile interior.
A broad sweep of ebony wood veneer around the cabin is offset by generous quantities of naturally-treated leather. Soft, blonde Connolly hide on the seats contrasts with the deep brown saddle leather used elsewhere, including, unexpectedly, on the floor.
The dashboard re-interprets traditional shapes in a clean and modern way, while the rich detail throughout the cabin is inspired by jewelery, watches and luxury luggage. Three-spoke leather with anodized aluminium is used for the sports steering wheel which has a column-mounted F1-style gear change using with silver-plated paddles. The instruments are said to be ‘chronograph-inspired’ and have individual, silver-plated binnacles. The meters themselves are black dials with silver graphics and at night, are bathed in amber illumination. There’s a Control management centre with interactive LCD screen for access to ICE controls, climate control, telephone, navigation, TV, e-mail and internet.
At the unveiling of the R-Coupe in Frankfurt, Jaguar also revealed that the next generation of its flagship XJ sedan will be the company’s first series production model to feature an advanced aluminium-intensive body structure, marking a significant step forward in Jaguar’s development and use of innovative technologies and new materials.
“Jaguars have always been cars to stir the emotions, but forthcoming vehicles will also increasingly appeal to our growing customer base at a rational level, too. Advanced technologies and materials, such as aluminium, will play a far more prominent role in Jaguar’s future, adding further impetus to the company’s product-led transformation, which has already delivered a doubling of sales in the last three years,” Jaguar managing director Jonathan Browning said.
Though the next-generation, aluminium-bodied XJ will be a series production first for Jaguar, the company has long experience of creating specialized aluminium-intensive vehicles, from the original XK 120 sports car of 1948, through the C-Type and Lightweight E-Type of the 1950s and 1960s, to the XJ 220 supercar of the early 1990s.
Engineers at Jaguar’s R&D Centre are also developing a wide range of other new technologies to be introduced on future generations of Jaguar cars. These will help sustain the company’s lead in such areas as telematics and vehicle safety, where Jaguar has introduced world-leading technology over the past two years.
“The increased emphasis on innovative technology represents a significant change in strategic direction for Jaguar, which is both strengthening and broadening the appeal of our products,” said Mr Browning. “Jaguar has always offered its customers stylish, sensuous cars with a true performance spirit. In recent years, this has increasingly been allied to industry-leading technology. For the future, we are fully committed to the intelligent application of customer-focused innovation which delivers tangible benefits for quality, safety, security and value-for-money, and which enhances Jaguar’s core marque values of design, performance and chassis dynamics.”