Stylish with a touch of sinister. Is the new XF still a proper Jag?
Before Jaguar became one of Britain’s most prestigious exports, and a mainstay in the luxury car market, it was a wispy notion in the mind of its co-founder, Sir William Lyons. The man imbued his designs with a distinctly artistic flavour, betraying his own Edwardian underpinnings. His cars had to have a certain dynamism, flair and a touch of the futuristic that would render them immortal. In an era largely devoid of marketing talk, a Jaguar needed to speak for itself.
Beholding the second-generation Jaguar XF in the metal, it’s clear that Jaguar has striven, for over half a century, to maintain some of those values – though with varying levels of success. With the new XF, Jaguar has been wise enough not to overly radicalize the traditional executive sedan form and trade it in for novelty value. So, the changes do remain minimal. That said, even today, with a more homogenous, brand-oriented design philosophy working its way into manufacturer brochures, one can easily trace the XF’s lines to Jag’s grand tourers of yesteryear.
The XF has, since its birth in 2008, sat squarely in the middle of the brand’s portfolio. Jaguar’s routinely sensational concept designs had already created enough of a buzz to make fans forget about the misguided S-Type (the car it replaced) and have them gush over what was clearly a new chapter in Jaguar’s story. With design chief Ian Callum (he of Aston Martin DB7 and DB9 fame) penning the form, there was very little chance of things going wrong. Callum’s hallowed penmanship had brought with it a brand of aesthetics unknown to the premium mid-size sedan space, swatting away any clinical elements which were wont to find their way to a car in this category. Never one to dilute its driving experience, Jag kept things traditionally rear-wheel- driven with an unmistakably predatorial and feline form set to prey upon competitors securely chewing most of the market share.