Jaguar today revealed its new sports show car, the Advanced Lightweight Coupe at the Detroit Motor Show.
“The Advanced Lightweight Coupe represents the very essence of Jaguar, its heart and soul. If you want to know what lies ahead for us, what direction we will take – this is Jaguar’s answer,” said Joe Greenwell, Chairman and CEO, Jaguar Cars.
Created by Jaguar’s design team under the watchful eye of Design Director Ian Callum, this high-performance show car is indicative of more than just the company’s evolving design direction – the Advanced Lightweight Coupe is said to represent the future of Jaguar.
The Advanced Lightweight Coupe is a physical expression of Ian Callum’s direction for the next generation of Jaguar cars which, like this 2+2 show car, will have purposeful and seductive exteriors that bring Jaguar design firmly into the 21st century. And with the lightweight aluminium body architecture technology that was introduced with the new XJ saloon, in production form the Advanced Lightweight Coupe would be as dynamic and agile as it is desirable.
“This company has had many ground-breaking moments,” says Joe Greenwell, Chairman and CEO, Jaguar Cars. “The XK120 was a ground-breaker and of course the E-type and XJ6 saloon in the 1960s helped to change the face of motoring. These were events in automotive design history that have stood the test of time and I would like to think that we will look back on the Advanced Lightweight Coupe as another of those moments in Jaguar’s lineage.”
Jaguar Cars Managing Director Bibiana Boerio concurs: “This show car is a rallying call for Jaguar lovers the world over, who appreciate sporting luxury. We want them to know that we are committed to a product-led transformation of this company that will see us making Jaguars with great design and wonderful interiors that are fast, glamorous and evocative. A new Jaguar sports car is always an important event and we absolutely believe that the Advanced Lightweight Coupe demonstrates that the direction we are taking is the right one.”
“I firmly believe that Jaguars should appear powerful as well as elegant,” Callum says. “Look back at the great cars from our past and you will see that they were as muscular and taut as they were subtle and curvaceous. That’s what confident Jaguar design is all about.”
Callum describes as the car appearing to change shape in front of you.The Advanced Lightweight Coupe’s distinctive tapering shape at both the front and rear means there appears to be no overhang beyond the wheels, giving the car an exciting presence and a real sense of power and potency.
Creating a sports show car that conveys the remarkable heritage of Jaguar with integrity while projecting the marque forward into the future was not a simple challenge. Ian Callum and his design team passionately debated how the Advanced Lightweight Coupe would strike that balance before settling on this stunning design.
“Nothing is superfluous on this car,” Callum stresses. “If you point at any part of the bodywork it is there for a specific reason or because it simply can’t go any further in. We have produced a skin that is drawn taut across the chassis; one that covers the bare essentials underneath and nothing else – that’s how a sports car body should be formed.”
The car rides on unique 21-inch alloy wheels with custom-made Pirelli tyres, which sit below wide, flowing haunches. The rear haunch is of particular note, its prominent shoulder helping to exaggerate the size of the wheels relative to the body. With the visual mass of the cabin also drawn back towards the rear haunch the car appears to be moving forward even when it is standing still. The grille on the show car is also of prime importance as an indicator for the look of future Jaguars. As a pure geometrical form it draws its inspiration from classic Jaguars of the past like the E-type. Additionally, features such as the polished aluminium gills reinforce the engineering integrity that is present in all Jaguars.
“When Jaguar’s revered aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer created the E-type he didn’t sculpt that car, instead he devised that remarkable shape from pure geometry – it is a series of ellipses,” says Giles Taylor, Jaguar Senior Design Manager. “By designing the E-type that way he gave it a mechanical purity that we wanted to reflect in this car’s face. That meant the grille had to be perfectly symmetrical in both a horizontal and vertical plane, and by doing that we have made a focal point from which every line can stream backwards.”
Rising from the radiator grille, a prominent bulge in the hood runs to the base of the windscreen and invokes a notion of real power beneath the skin. From there the cabin flows back in a clean, spontaneous line to the car’s rear end which tapers sharply to a focal point of two, centrally-mounted tailpipes. The headlights are a departure from the simple elliptical lenses on current Jaguars. Instead a more contemporary, angular design gives the Advanced Lightweight Coupe an edgy look and helps to draw your eye around the corner of the car to the new chrome gills that sit behind the front wheels. These would aid engine cooling and also improve aerodynamic flow to the rear.
The task for the interior design team was to produce a cabin that wasn’t over-powering or fussy. “We all agreed that our interiors should be clean, simple and straightforward,” says Ian Callum. “There is an honesty about the car’s interior which I really like.”
Laid out in a classic 2+2 sports car format, the car’s cabin is more spacious and better packaged than previous Jaguar coupes, with impressive headroom and multi-directional sports front seats and individual bucket seats in the rear. The interior is trimmed throughout in a tan leather which has visible stitching on the hides that line the doors and the dashboard. Aluminium inserts are spread throughout the car to act as jewellery that accentuates the contemporary feel of the cabin. Its focal point is the central dashboard console that houses an advanced Alpine telematics screen which provides user-feedback in the form of a ‘pulse’ when you touch the on-screen buttons.
The instrument binnacle has been designed to relate to the shape of the steering wheel and houses a high-resolution screen between its dials that provides the driver with a secondary source of infotainment and satellite-navigation information. Behind the steering wheel sit the gearshift levers that operate an automatic paddleshift transmission – the first time this technology has appeared on a Jaguar. The paddles are mounted to the wheel itself, rather than the steering column, to ensure that at whatever angle the wheel is held, the driver doesn’t have to take his concentration away from the road.
Thanks to a technologically advanced aluminium architecture – which is around 40 percent lighter and 60 percent stiffer than a standard steel body – and a V8 powertrain, the car would be capable of reaching 60mph from standstill in less than five seconds and breaking the 180mph mark at maximum velocity.
An aluminium chassis similar to that used in the new XJ saloon is constructed using many of the same advanced technologies. It is not just lightweight but also incredibly strong and stiff, which is of immense benefit to a car’s handling and ride as well as fuel economy and exhaust emissions. The lighter body also means responsiveness is improved whether you are talking in terms of steering feel, traction or power delivery.
Dynamic aids such as Computer Active Technology Suspension work in conjunction with safety systems such as Adaptive Cruise Control and the Active Restraint Technology System – all features that Jaguar already has on its production cars.
“The Advanced Lightweight Coupe marks a return to the core values of Jaguar,” says Bibiana Boerio, Managing Director, Jaguar Cars. “There is a determination in every department of this company to produce a new range of cars that provides the total Jaguar experience and this ca
r is the first evidence of that determination. “