Will the Jaguar C-XF concept car make it into production unscathed?
Not quite, judging by these new spy photos and video. The show car's arcing coupe-like roofline has, inevitably, had to be raised to make space for rear-seat passengers taller than three-foot high. But the flavour of the C-XF concept remains intact, insist Jaguar officials. Although this prototype is disguised, it appears that the S-type successor is a big change from today's retro-styled saloon. Officials who've seen the XF claim it's the concept car 'minus 25 percent'. So what's been lost? Well, these photos suggest the bonnet is a bit higher, the windscreen angle slightly more upright, the roofline taller and the door handles are now conventionally sited.
Great scoop photos, but what will the XF look like inside?
Sadly our spies were unable to photograph the interior, but we hear that the XF will develop the theme of the concept car's cabin, minus the show trickery. So the horizontal beam across the dashboard will survive, but the roller-style air-vents and funky blue lighting will be toned down. Jaguar is between a rock and a hard place with the XF. In one corner, critics lambast the S-type's olde-worlde image and continuing reliance on cautious retro design; in the other, fans love the fact that Jags shun the flash-in-a-pan modernist trends of some German rivals. The XF is the car that will define how Jaguar is negotiating the tightrope.
So when can I buy an XF?
Jaguar will pull the covers off the finished model on the doorstep of its main German rivals, at September's Frankfurt Motor Show. Expect to see cars in dealers by early 2008, priced very close to today's S-type, starting from around £33,000. As it's based on the mechanical package of the current S-type, the XF will offer familar choices under the bonnet: 3.0-litre V6 and 4.2 V8 petrols (naturally aspirated and supercharged for the 420bhp R model), and the impressive 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel. Will there be a smaller engine? Jaguar is studying an entry model to stretch the range further towards the BMW 520i et al.