Published on February 15th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez3
Jaguar’s All-New Aluminium Architecture For The Future
iQ[Al] is not just a vehicle architecture, it is a completely new philosophy that underpins the innovative future of the Jaguar brand, enabling Jaguar to significantly grow its product portfolio, targeting high-growth areas of the premium market in global markets.
The first Jaguar to be delivered from the new architecture will be a new C/D segment premium sedan, which will be rolled-out globally from 2015. The first aluminium monocoque product in its segment, the new sedan will be produced at an all-new, ultra high-tech production facility in Solihull, England.
The aluminium-intensive architecture will be modular and scalable, providing a high degree of flexibility and making it possible to produce a wider bandwidth of models and derivatives than ever before. It is lightweight, extremely stiff and incorporates innovative technologies that emphasises Jaguar’s commitment to sustainability, such as a new high-strength alloy made from almost 100% recycled raw material.
The architecture is being carefully developed to fully incorporate all the vehicle attributes established by Jaguar engineers. All products will perform like true Jaguars, the flexibility and scope of the architecture guaranteeing the individual character of each one. Jaguar design and engineering teams collaborated closely on its development from the outset to ensure versatility of design combined with fully competitive interior packaging.
The flexibility that this architecture will provide, means Jaguar designers and engineers can apply the philosophy “anything we can imagine, we can create,” to deliver a new portfolio of products less restricted by technical or manufacturing constraints. The new architecture will allow Jaguar to move into higher volume production, without compromising the unique character, breath-taking design, outstanding vehicle dynamics, performance and luxury that Jaguar is famous for. The flexibility of the new architecture will enable the manufacture of different products on the same production line at the same time. The highly efficient, state-of-the-art production process will allow rapid response to variations in market demand for individual models by balancing production volume accordingly.
Future Jaguars will be powered by engines with a wide range of capacities and output, all delivering inspirational performance and offering the latest innovations in fuel-efficient technologies, without sacrificing drivability or feel. The new sedan will be the first vehicle to be equipped with all-new four-cylinder diesel and petrol engines, allowing Jaguar to break the 100g CO2/km barrier for the first time. These advanced, high-output engines will be built at Jaguar Land Rover’s new engine production facility, currently under construction in Wolverhampton in the UK as part of a £500 million(R8.7-billion) investment, which will be operational from 2015.
These vehicles are also designed to be powered by the powerful V6 petrol engine seen in the Jaguar F-TYPE sports car, which, combined with the lightweight architecture, will bestow them with best-in-class specific power output as in the F-TYPE. Together, the family of engines will offer the best of both worlds and deliver all-encompassing capabilities: sporting performance and class-leading fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.
Jaguar C-X17 DYNAMICS: FLEET-FOOTED AND SURE-FOOTED
As a sports crossover, the Jaguar C-X17 concept is positioned as a driver’s car. It has an on-road bias, and its low height, optimised centre of gravity and lightweight all-aluminium body endow it with superior, car-like driving dynamics and a level of agility that would make it quite at home on the fastest roads. The Jaguar C-X17 also features cutting-edge dynamic technologies such as Torque Vectoring by Braking, a system which constantly monitors the vehicle’s cornering dynamics and, when required, intelligently uses the brake system to rebalance the distribution of engine torque to the wheels, in order to reduce understeer and maximise grip.
With its 213mm ground clearance and intelligent All-Wheel Drive, the Jaguar C-X17 could also offer reassuring capability and enhanced grip on poor roads and in varying weather conditions. Jaguar’s intelligent All-Wheel Drive system continuously monitors grip levels and driver inputs and uses feed-forward torque distribution to both pre-empt and react to wheel-slip, providing greater driver confidence and vehicle stability in low-grip conditions. In normal grip conditions, the system predominantly delivers drive to the rear wheels, providing the dynamic driving experience all Jaguars are renowned for.
EXTERIOR DESIGN: BEAUTY OF PROPORTION
With a crossover being a new journey for Jaguar, Director of Design Ian Callum and his team were clear that the Jaguar C-X17 would not compromise on the time-honoured values of Jaguar car design: purity of form, beauty of line and balance of proportion. Even as it subscribed to the practicalities expected of the crossover category, the Jaguar C-X17 had to be stylish, sporty and exciting. It had to instantly stand out from the crowd, yet retain the sense of timeless sophistication that is typically Jaguar.
The Jaguar C-X17 has dynamic yet perfectly balanced proportions, with the low profile and large wheels giving it a powerful, planted stance. In terms of form, it is sleek and fast, relying on pure lines rather than exaggeration or showmanship. The long bonnet’s twin ‘power bulges’ and prominent grille impart a muscular look. The headlamps hint at the Jaguar C-X17′s sedan siblings while the grille is inspired by the XJ, resulting in a distinctive family look that is reassuringly familiar yet uniquely appealing. The grille features a hexagonal pattern, with small aluminium panels within its structure that can close to enhance the vehicle’s aerodynamic properties.
The Jaguar C-X17′s twin ‘heartlines’ are clearly visible when viewed in profile. Two clean and simple design lines, with a subtle crease in the metal to catch the light, visually tie together the Jaguar C-X17′s shoulder and haunch. The accentuated length of the windows adds to the vehicle’s overall sense of sleekness.
The rear of the vehicle has a distinctive touch of sports car about it, with the haunch, taillights and detailing all bringing to mind the seductive Jaguar F-TYPE. The Jaguar C-X17′s roofline swoops quickly rearwards, culminating in a distinctive cantilevered spoiler over a steeply raked rear window that enhances the crossover’s sporting, ‘fast-even-at-standstill’ appearance.
The large 23-inch wheels, which enhance the Jaguar C-X17′s solid stance, are a one-off design with five split spokes. They have a Dark Atlas graphite grey finish with gloss black finishers on the spokes.
INTERIOR DESIGN: CRAFTSMANSHIP AND TECHNOLOGY
The interior of the Jaguar C-X17 blends high-end interactive technology with premium, a place where artisan treatment and traditionally crafted materials meet modern techniques in an innovative cabin full of luxurious touches and cutting-edge technical idea. The result is a spacious, airy, luxurious and sophisticated cabin.
The Jaguar C-X17 seats four passengers in individual bucket seats. The seating position is relatively low for a crossover, giving the occupants a feeling of sitting deep within the cabin. The seats are lightweight units with a sculpted free-standing appearance, visually enhancing the airiness of the cabin.
The spacious boot incorporates two leisure seats that swing up and out of the boot floor for use when the car is stopped and the rear hatch opened. Solidly constructed from milled aluminium and finished in Connolly saddle leather, these seats swing outwards on a beautifully engineered hinge to provide a practical seating area when the car is stationary. Accessories that support an active lifestyle, such as a torch and a camera, are positioned in leather holsters, in storage compartments located in the boot.
Panoramic sculpted roof
The sense of openness inside the cabin is heightened by the Jaguar C-X17′s unique panoramic roof. The designers of the Jaguar C-X17 have constructed the interior of the roof from a series of sculpted vanes running from front to rear, closely arranged in parallel and integrated into the header and cant rails. They are contoured on the lower side to generate extra headroom, and shaped to create a ring of space that enables a whole-roof view of the sky above, giving the occupants a sense of openness. The topside of the vanes follows the smooth profile of the glass roof, maintaining the sleek exterior lines of the Jaguar C-X17.
Premium two-tone leather trim
The interior of the Jaguar C-X17 is a juxtaposition of premium traditional materials and modern finishing techniques. Designers drew inspiration from a variety of sources, from extruded aluminium lampshades and lattice-framed stools to premium leather shoes, jackets and handbags, which favoured strong colour contrasts.
Accordingly, the Jaguar C-X17 unveiled at Frankfurt had seats, instrument panel, floors, doors and boot finished in an overlapping combination of Jet saddle leather and Orchid leather panels. Renowned British leather specialist Connolly, the benchmark name in premium automotive cabin craftsmanship, created the bespoke leather panels specially for the Jaguar C-X17. The 3mm-thick saddle leather, which features bands of stitching to increase the passenger’s tactile experience of these surfaces, is die-cut in a Houndstooth pattern inspired by traditional tailoring materials, lending the interior of the car a classy yet contemporary feel.
The interior door finish is gloss black, while for the interior metal finishes, ruthenium (a member of the platinum family) is used instead of brightwork, creating a darker, more tonal effect that suits the subtle, premium feel of the cabin.
The Jaguar C-X17 takes interactivity to a new level with the unique Interactive Surface Console that runs the length of the car’s centre tunnel, from the centre console of the dashboard through to the rear seats. Made up of a series of interconnecting touch screens encased in transparent acrylic glass, the Interactive Surface Console connects those in the rear cabin with the driver and front seat passengers via a secure in-car Wi-Fi network.
The Interactive Surface Console allows the vehicle occupants to upload pictures, video and sound files from their mobile devices and share them with their fellow passengers, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels. Using the touchscreens and an intuitive user interface, information can be ‘flicked’ forwards and rearwards between the front and the rear passengers. By enabling sharing, both in terms of technology and information, between the occupants of the Jaguar C-X17, the Interactive Surface Console puts as much focus on the rear compartment as on the front and immerses all four passengers in a unified multisensory experience.
The Jaguar C-X17 features a 12-loudspeaker system specifically developed for the vehicle by British ultra-premium audio experts Meridian. Designed closely in conjunction with the development of the Jaguar C-X17′s interior, the system draws on Meridian’s award-winning digital sound processing technology. Tri-field technology creates an all-enveloping sound field that makes each listener feel that the music is exclusively focused on him or her. With sub-woofer drive units in the rear centre tunnel, dashboard-mounted tweeters, speakers in the A and B pillars, twin door speakers, rear speakers, and head-height speakers situated in the tops of the front seat head rests, this unique system enables every occupant of the Jaguar C-X17 to enjoy optimum, authentic sound for an exceptional in-car audio experience.
The Jaguar C-X17′s instrument panel has a twin-dial configurable TFT console with provision for a Head Up Display – a system which projects vital information onto the windscreen for the driver to process quickly, akin to the systems used in modern fighter aircraft.
The gearshift has a rotary dial, finished in ruthenium, which rises on activation and serves as the interface to toggle between driving modes such as Road, Sport or All-Road. Milled aluminium vents on the console, seats and doors mirror the pattern of the grille mesh.