2011 Jaguar XJ Captivates with New Trend-Setting Style

July 24, 2010/Buy Cars And Trucks

MOTOR MATTERS FREEWHEELIN BY HOLLY REICH

Jaguar made its recent North American introduction of the 2011 XJ in Hollywood. With 500 billboards, airport signage and targeted advertising, it’s an example of how Jaguar is going after a younger, hipper audience — one that is involved in trends, entertainment, advertising and luxury.
“The XJ exemplifies a love of form with its elegance and beauty of line — the emotional that goes beyond the functional. We are looking forward to modern trends, a design form to create our future,” said Giles Taylor, senior design manager for Jaguar.
Jaguar designs are hand-drawn, not conceptualized on a computer. They always will be, notes Taylor, who says his communication tool is the pen. “I sketch because I love form; I love the three-dimensional. We have expressed ourselves with the new XJ in a very daring way. The ultimate charisma of our brand is emotional and artistic: forms that go through wind very fast.”
Taylor compares the design of the new 2011 Jaguar XJ to a well-fitted suit: one that fits a woman’s body perfectly, like Chanel and Yves St. Laurent. “These were the founders and artists of their own companies. Just like Sir William Lyons (founder of Jaguar) these are people who understand form, line and elegance,” he said.
Taylor explained that Jaguar wanted the 2011 XJ to have a very low profile, to look well planted. “The window shape came first,” he said. After that, the design team became braver and added touches like the linear front fender that grabs the front wheel.
“Jaguar has a lovely sense of repose — a Britishness. It catches the light. The waterfall shoulders the grille graphic in the front,” he enthused. The taillights (three vertical lamps called cats claws) were designed so that the XJ could be identified in the dark.
Regarding the interior, Taylor noted that the XJ is all about a sense of well-being, hence the gentle curve of the console to corset the passenger. “Our customer can discern right down to the smell of the leather and the stitching patterns,” Taylor said. The XJ also offers a carbon fiber trim option for the younger customer.
As with Prada handbags and Ferragamo briefcases, Taylor notes that less is more. “If you do it well, that’s enough.

” However, on the XJ Super Sport model Jaguar went with more. The vents illuminate with purple lights and there’s purple felt flocking in the glove compartment and the cupholders. The color, Mauveine purple, was Queen Victoria’s favorite. “A little bit of British humor,” Taylor quips.
But back to that less-is-more approach. The vents have changed from boutique style to vintage Jaguar shapes: metals that look and feel good to the touch. The 2011 XJ has more wood trim — more than has been used in a Jaguar since 1967.
Michelle O’Connor, technical engineer in charge of vehicle integrity, makes decisions on things like what a Jaguar should sound like. “A switch and the logic behind it; how it sounds and feels are obvious things that define the character of a car,” she says. “We even tune the sounds of a turn signal or the flow of air through the vents.”
For example, when the driver selects “Dynamic” mode the control panel lights up in a red hue. O’Connor said Jaguar thought it would be a pretty cool (or hot) visual.
The 2011 Jaguar XJ lineup includes the 5.0-liter V-8 in naturally aspirated (385 horsepower), supercharged (470 horsepower), as well as a 510-horsepower Super Sport model. Prices starts at about $88,800
“The soul of the XJ is feminine, but the pulse is masculine,” Taylor concludes. — Holly Reich, Motor Matters

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010