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First look: Jaguar concept leaps ahead of the pack

No-show: Jaguar's C-XF concept morphs into production XF at Frankfurt, but won't be seen at the Sydney show.

Jaguar tried to keep its new concept car a secret - without success

3 Jan 2007

PICTURES of Jaguar's new XF sedan have been leaked worldwide ahead of its official Detroit motor show debut next week.

Photos of the concept, known as the C-XF, appeared in a North American car magazine last month and the images quickly spread through the world-wide web, causing big headaches for the executives from the Ford-owned British company, who had wanted to keep the car under wraps.

However, the C-XF looks as though it will continue to gain media attention as it points to the new design direction being penned by Jaguar's chief of design Ian Callum.

Although the concept is typically over-the-top with its 21-inch wheels, outrageous interior and extensive use of carbon fibre and blue electroluminescent interior lighting, the exterior of the production XF, which will replace the S-type, will take on similar themes to the C-XF.

The concept ditches the trademark quad headlights, rounded grille and adopts the four-door coupe design that has established the Mercedes-Benz CLS.

Interiors will use wood as both a structural and a decorative element. Jaguar interiors will have some form of tradition to them but the latest technology will lurk beneath the leather and wood interior.

The concept uses carbon-fibre-pattern leather is used in partnership with semi-aniline hide on the seats. Elements of the doors and transmission tunnel have been carved from poplar wood and then scorched by the artist Clive Sheridan, to create a satin feel.

There is no visible stitching on the seats or fascia, the idea being that it creates an interior wrapped in leather.

At the heart of the C-XF is a supercharged, 313kW 4.2-litre rear-drive V8 mated to a six-speed "manu-matic".

6 center imageLeft: The Jag's blue interior.

Apart from the carbon-fibre patterned leather and blue interior lighting there are other quirky gadgets that are unlikely to go into production, like the start-up sequence.

As the driver hops into the driver's seat a "Power" button on the centre console pulses, representing the car's heartbeat.

Prod the button and concentric rings withdraw to leave the gear selector in your hand. At the same time, beams of blue light emanate from the instrument panel and the grille as the engine fires up.

Other novelties include JaguarSense, which activates the interior door handles when an occupant sweeps their hand across the door trims.

A dual-view screen system allows the driver and passenger to view two different images simultaneously, while the centrally mounted rev counter responds to the way in which the car is being driven. If the driver selects Dynamic mode, the rev counter motors outwards, increasing its prominence.

So apart from the gadgets, how close is the C-XF to the XF? Callum has been quoted in UK media as saying the concept's design was "20 per cent exaggerated", particularly the ultra-low roofline, wide track, and its pumped-up details.

The C-XF's 2895mm wheelbase is virtually identical to the current S-type and the concept is 25mm longer overall.

But the C-XF is significantly taller than an S-type and wider than an XJ.

The production XF is expected to also offer a V6 apart from a normally aspirated V8 as well. A hot R version is also tipped.

The production XF is expected to be show at the Frankfurt motor show later this year and go on sale early next year.

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