< Jaguar XF Review
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First reviews, more pictures of the latest, hottest cars
Jaguar concept C-XF
Jaguar XF
Styling Finalised Before Amazing Concept Shown

Auto Express Lauds Jaguar For Bravely Sticking To Exciting Design!
Concept Was Illegal Anyway, Flouting EU Pedestrian Rules

“is raising buyers’ hopes to fever-pitch with a concept car like the C-XF, then deflating them with reality the best way to sell cars?” 

I spent a couple of months getting ready to tell you how Jaguar was trying to pull the wool over our eyes, then it took the wind right out of my sails.

I expected Jaguar to carry on the pretence that its new XF saloon looked just like the mind-blowingly attractive concept. To my amazement, Jaguar came straight out with a mea culpa, but with a twist that amazed even an old cynic like me. Yes, Jaguar agrees that the XF car which will appear in showrooms early next year looks nothing like the concept. But also, that this was the plan all along. The final design of the XF had already been fixed before the concept went on show. The C-XF was always a marketing trick to get the attention of the car-buying public.

 You may remember the stunning looks of the new Jaguar C-XF, which was unveiled at last January’s Detroit Car Show. Compare this with the road-ready-version, which was shown at the Frankfurt Car Show in September. “Watered down”, is the first, and most generous, thought that comes to mind.

To be fair to Jaguar, when this fabulous looking car first appeared in Detroit, it carried a health warning in the form of the suffix “C” for concept, reminding us that we should not get too carried away. It might not look quite so exciting in on-the-road form.

Muscular to meek
But Wow was it exciting. The front end of the concept reminded me of the air intake of a 1950s jet fighter crossed with a Maserati. The muscular lines sweeping to the back hinted at Aston Martin. But the final XF looked worthy rather than exciting with a touch of Lexus GS towards the rear. The face now looks meek compared with the concept’s aggression.

Take a look at the pictures. You can’t fail to see that the concept doesn’t look anything at all like the car which finally made it to production.

All the more irritating was an Auto Express article in late August, which showed pictures of the clearly watered down Jaguar, with a story saying isn’t Jaguar brave, the road car looks just like the concept!

“When we gave you the first glimpse of the C-XF concept, many thought Jaguar’s design director Ian Callum could never bring such a shape to production unchanged. As you can see here, he’s been able to do exactly that,” said Auto Express, with a picture that showed the exact opposite.

Auto Express deception
Auto Express, after making this bizarre claim, said it had received exclusive access to the new XF throughout its development. I assumed Jaguar had been behind this deception, so when I was preparing to meet Callum, I was hoping to shoot him down with the truth of my case. Imagine my amazement when Callum, presenting the car to journalists, said that the design of the new XF had already been finalised when the C-XF was unveiled. So all that excitement and anticipation was for nothing. Callum said that Jaguar wanted to signal to the world that its design language was changing. Not only that, the concept could never have been brought to market anyway because the front end contravened the European Union’s regulations on pedestrian protection.

I’m not sure if raising buyers’ hopes to fever-pitch with a concept car like the C-XF, then deflating them with the real thing, is the best way to sell new cars. I’m not sure how a magazine like Auto Express feels about distorting the truth to its readers, who it has treated with contempt. What is undoubtedly a terrific replacement for the slow selling and dated looking S Type, will start its life in this potential buyer’s eyes as a disappointment, when the C-XF might have persuaded me to buy a Jaguar for the first time.

Stunning interior
The real XF has a stunning interior, with beautifully designed instruments, and with much aluminium on display. Jaguar says that although the dash board doesn’t use traditional wood, the interior  has more wood in total that the previous model, with inlays in the doors and other cabin decoration.  When you turn on the ignition, the gearbox controller slides upwards from a flush position, and the air conditioning outlets rotate to open, suggesting its readiness for action. Pointless really, but cool.

The Jaguar XF goes on sale in the Spring. Prices start at £33,900-€47,200 for the 2.7 litre V6 diesel, rising to £54,900-€76,400 for the 4.2 litre Supercharged SV8. 

Neil Winton – November 28, 2007

Jaguar XF
Jaguar concept C-XF
Jaguar XF
Jaguar concept C-XF
Jaguar XF