Jaguar XF's interior (2008)

Published: 16 May 2007

Inside the Jaguar XF

So Jaguar's new XF is yet another 'make-or-break' car for the struggling British car manufacturer. They must be sick of hearing that in Coventry, but the S-type replacement is unarguably too important a car for them to get wrong. CAR Online has already published numerous scoops of the production XF, but now our man with the long lens has snatched the first photograph of an undisguised interior. It's not an exact facsimile of the C-XF concept's, but the overall structure of the dashboard is similar. There's a big touch-screen display mounted high up on the middle of the dash flanked by a pair of tall, upright air vents, underneath which nestle a bank of (possibly Ford-sourced) switchgear for ventilation and minor controls. Click 'Next' to compare the production car's cabin with the concept's

So it's not quite as space-agey as the concept car's cabin, is it?

No, but then few production car cabins do manage to capture the full excitement of the concept car that sired them. Nearly everything that you see in the C-XF shown at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2007 (pictured above) that smacks of show-car glitz is toned down at the behest of the bean counters. Out go the strips of fluorescent lighting and swathes of metallic trim, and in come the parts-bin switches and other components shared across the Ford group. But our scoop shot does reveal that one piece of radical concept design will survive: the new circular JaguarDrive Selector transmission.

The new circular JaguarDrive Selector transmission?

Yes, this has survived virtually unchanged from the C-XF. It's an unusual gear selector, controlled by a metallic dial to switch between Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Sport, and you can just make out the identical push-button starter, dial and gear selection lights on our interior shot on page 1. The concept's transmission selector (shown above) had push buttons beneath to prepare the transmission and suspension for different driving modes: Dynamic, Track, Launch and ASL. Although the production car's buttons are obscured by the test driver's arm, we understand these will be changed for production; you don't think most XF drivers will spend their weekends at the track, do you?

So what's the XF going to look like outside?

The outside of the XF still hasn't been revealed yet; we'll have to wait until the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2007 to see it. But the prototypes testing in the UK are slowly shedding their disguise and we can see that the roofline is slightly higher than on the concept car, as expected. At long last, Jaguar is finally ditching retro with the S-type replacement. Although some readers of CAR Online have criticised the XF for looking too like the Ford Mondeo/any Aston Martin/various other derivative designs, it is undoubtedly a move forward for the company best known for its retro designs.

So when can I actually buy a new XF?

Expect to see cars in dealers by early 2008 and we hear that prices will kick off at around £33,000 for a 3.0 V6 petrol. You'll also be able to pick a more muscular 4.2 V8 in naturally aspirated or supercharged 420bhp R form, or pick the probable best-seller, the 2.7 V6 diesel. There may be a smaller engine in the pipeline, to challenge the entry-level models from Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet