The new Jaguar XJ is a cohesive design statement, a lithe sporting saloon that combines fluid, aggressive bodywork with an interior of rare distinction, even at this end of the market. Building on the car-maker's undeniably rich heritage, the new XJ transcends the current conventions in the sector, a business machine with soul.
For Wallpaper*, Jaguar's design team have gone one step further. 'We've created a bespoke, luxury XJ saloon for the Wallpaper readers of the future,' explains Giles Taylor, chief designer for both the XJ and XK models. Looking ahead to how tomorrow's customers will treat the already sumptuous interior of their flagship model, Taylor worked with interior concept artist Joe Roberts and colour and material specialist Andrew McDonald, overseen by Jaguar's Design Director Ian Callum. The concept brings multi-functional technology to the heart of the car, through a combination of flexible seating and transformable touch-screens. All this is swathed in natural materials, a Jaguar hallmark enhanced by layer upon layer of sculptural wood.
'Our concept is equally at home moving swiftly between business engagements, or leaving the city behind for a weekend at a country retreat,' Taylor explains, 'it's a car that's primarily designed to be enjoyed from the rear seats. When the front passenger seat is not occupied, it can be re-configured along with the seat behind it to create a luxurious full length bed.'
Leather and wood create an organic experience, juxtaposed with the huge touch-screen centre console that flows through the centre of the cabin. Used to control the car's advanced connectivity and entertainment systems, the console is an 'Information Pool' that forms a continuous surface from front seats to back.
Fully flexible interior lighting is combined with a 'canopy theatre' that displays imagery on the cabin's headlining. 'It's a true 'theatre of the senses',' says Taylor, 'each journey becomes a special experience.' Individual screens for rear passengers provide a modern alternative to the daily newspaper, TV screen and telephone, while the entire iPool system allows for the fluid transfer of information - be it a driving route, stock price or dinner menu - with the other occupants.
Using an evolution of Jaguar's proposed plug-in hybrid powertrain, the ultra-lightweight XJ is made from 75% recycled material. The all-white exterior reflects heat, cutting the load on the internal air-con, while roof-mounted solar panels help power the iPool system. The current XJ is available now; this is the shape of things to come.