Tuesday, 28 August 2007

XF - What to think?

So, now the car has been officially launched, and we can see official Jaguar images, has my opinion changed?

I have to say that I'm ambivalent until I see one in the metal. The exterior is every bit as gorgeous as the spy shots suggested, and surprisingly the interior isn't QUITE as bad as that spy shot had led me to assume. I still reckon it could have been easily improved, yet it's not quite as cheap looking as I thought.

It will appeal to younger buyers, and whilst yes, it could be better, the elderly gents who bought an S-Type for their retirement won't be too dismayed either. I quoted a Jaguar employee in my last blog, and he's almost there. What he SHOULD have said is that Jaguar have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. No, it's not quite like our impression of a Jaguar is today, but compare it to the Mark 2 of forty years ago and it's bang on the mark.

I think that this car has shown me just how wrong the impression spy shots can give you can be. The shots were undoubtedly of a car that was close to this spec, maybe even the same, but subtle things can change it. It looks classier and more Jaguar-esque than I thought it would.

I just want to see what it looks like in green.

Friday, 24 August 2007

XF - Jaguar's saviour or downfall?

I've seen spy shots of the forthcoming Jaguar XF (launched next Tuesday) and I'm not sure what to make of it. Whilst not in any way a traditional Jaguar, it still is undeniably an attractive car.

It strongly resembles a 4dr version of the XK coupe, with a slightly remodelled nose featuring a version of the grill seen on the 1968 XJ6. This is good. Jaguar saloons of the 1960s, such as the S-type and MK2, looked not dissimilar to 4dr versions of the XK150 coupe that preceded the E-type. But where I feel the XF will test those who may have considered one is the interior.
I've only seen one photograph of this, and I have to say I'm surprised. It does not look like a Jaguar interior at all, more the interior of something more low-rent like a 5-series. There are acres of black plastic, and only the thinnest sliver of wood demonstrates that this car is more expensive and prestigious than a VW Passat.

How could they have got it so wrong? Yes, they are losing money and need to appeal to younger buyers, but the XK has shown that Jaguar are capable of designing modern and contemporary interiors that still appeal to the lovers of the XJ and previous S-Type. The XK interior is an example of a truly epic interior: It can be trimmed in black leather and fitted with carbon fibre trim if the owner so desires, but still works well with the traditional cream leather and walnut that Jag fans like myself appreciate. The XF could have been like that, but instead they have chosen to take the German route. To quote an employee of Jaguar, stated on a spyshots forum, they have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

I am gutted. Rover went to the wall for being overly retro. Yet Jaguar, whose very appeal lies in being that, have abandoned it completely.

And it's not as if it's going to work. Young buyers will be put off by the continued 'old man' image of both XJ and X-Tripe, and the more mature fans will look upon the catastrophic interior of the car, turn on their heel, and leave the showroom. Jaguar are at risk of losing existing clientele without attracting anyone to replace them.

I hope that the shots I have seen are not of the interior that will be unveiled with the rest of the car next week. If they are, Jaguar is taking a huge gamble, and I for one don't believe it will pay off.