Jaguar C-X17 concept (2013) design boss Ian Callum on interior design | CAR Magazine

Jaguar C-X17 concept (2013) design boss Ian Callum on interior design

Published: 09 September 2013 Updated: 26 January 2015

As with all concept cars, the Jaguar C-X17’s interior is the least production-viable element of the entire design, but it does give vital clues to the direction that design boss Ian Callum and his team are evaluating for the future. The focus is on clean, strong, flowing design, one that shuns clutter for pared-back simplicity. Open the door and you’ll notice both the sense of space and the small F-type steering wheel and four individual bucket seats, the latter two elements suggesting a nimble, involving driving experience. This does not feel like the ‘command’ driving position so beloved of Land Rover owners.

For more unseen location photos and an in-depth feature, pick up the October issue of CAR magazine, out Wednesday 18 September

Jaguar design boss Ian Callum on the C-X17’s interior

‘I’ve got a real thing for seats at the moment,’ reveals Callum. ‘I wanted to simplify them because seats can become too complicated in concepts – these capture some of the E-type seat design. They’re lightweight, elegant, stylish, and we’ve used dog-tooth leather, which was associated with the glamorous US set in the 1950s and ’60s. Black-and-white is high impact without being too assertive.’

A thick, bold line running the width of the dash emphasises space, the almost stark minimalism lifted by an abundance of piano black, saddle leather and restrained use of lighting. First you’ll notice the rotary gear controller – a development of today’s interface – glowing a seductive red, but then you notice that it contrasts with the more subtle – but more ubiquitous – blue lighting that lends an urban, nocturnal kind of chic.

‘Lighting is very important to us,’ explains Callum. ‘It highlights fun and indulgence. You can only light so many areas of a car legally, but we’ve got it in the seats too. We want to have it in future Jags – there’s more to life than wood grain, not that we’ll be stopping doing that too.’

Also of note is the touchscreen interface, Callum admitting that the German rotary-controlled systems – BMW’s iDrive, Merc’s Comand, Audi’s MMI – can be ‘buried down a tube’ to minimise light interference, and positioned wherever the manufacturers please, within reason, because the occupants don’t actually have to touch the screen, but the simplicity of the touchscreen remains appealing to Callum.

‘It’s not something we’ve got, but something we’re looking at,’ he tells us, referencing the specific touchscreen tech in the C-X17 rather than the touchscreen systems currently used by Jaguar production cars. ‘We’re seven or eight times more advanced with electronics than we were five or six years ago. We’re well up on connectivity, and we’ve got designers going to China and Japan, finding out what the next big thing is.’

So, while this concept-car interior does have to woo the motor-show crowds, expect some of the ideas you’ve seen here to filter through to production Jaguars over the coming years.

Click here for the first official pictures story on the new Jaguar C-X17 concept car

Click here for the lowdown on the Jaguar C-X17’s new aluminium chassis

Click here to watch the global unveiling of the Jaguar C-X17

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator