Jaguar's new transmission (2007)

Published: 31 May 2007

New JaguarDrive Selector - the scoop

Jaguar is desperately trying to fast-forward into the future with its new XF, and leave behind the brand's pipe 'n' slippers image that has so damaged sales in recent years. And what better way to dump the olde-worlde image than axeing the conventional gearstick? Earlier this month CAR Online was first to publish spy photos hinting at a rotary dial gear selector on the new XF, Jaguar's 2008 replacement for the S-type. Today we can bring you the first definitive proof - an unobscured photo of Jaguar's radical new selector. In place of a conventional gearstick comes an alloy dial reminiscent of BMW's iDrive controller, which pops up about three-quarters of an inch when the ignition is turned on. The driver twists it to change gear on the six-speed ZF auto, and the P, R, N, D or S indicator above lights up to show which gear is selected. A red start button sits prominently above the gear selector. Below the dial on the alloy plate of the JaguarDrive Selector are four buttons to control the traction and stability control, plus 'Sport' mode signalled by a chequered flag and Jag's ASL speed limiter. Finally, an electronic parking brake button nestles near the armrest, absent on this prototype.

So will other models get JaguarDrive Selector?

You bet. The next car to get the rotary dial gear selector will be Jag's XK coupe and cabriolet, but probably not until that car's facelift. It was only launched in March 2006, so mid-life revisions are still more than 18 months away. Our spies have had an early peek inside the facelifted XK and, while inconclusive, it does look as if there is no conventional gearlever hiding beneath the disguise on this early prototype we caught testing. The next XK and XJ saloon, which share the ZF auto, will definitely get the new transmission device; only the X-type, which will be facelifted later in 2007, will miss out on the new selector.

By Tim Pollard

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