Every day we make decisions. We choose the
rational – following our head – or the emotional – following our heart.
The real trick, though, is to balance the two and so get the best of
both worlds. This is something that Jaguar understands in a way that few
other car companies do.
“With R-D6 we set out to create a
concept car which would build on the R-Coupe and further develop
Jaguar’s new design direction. We also wanted to showcase the latest
technology in lightweight vehicle structures and our potent new
bi-turbo, common-rail V6 diesel.” Mike Wright Managing Director,
Jaguar Director of Design, Ian Callum,
and Chief Designer, Advanced Design, Julian Thomson, marshalled the
efforts of a small team of groundbreaking designers who seized the
opportunity to realise their ideas for the future of the Jaguar marque
well before they appear in production form.
“R-D6 represents the pure, sensuous and
sporting design that will feature in all new Jaguars, but more than
this it is a vision of the future of premium motoring: beautiful,
fast, agile, efficient and fun. The fact that it is the most compact
four-seater Jaguar ever and defies categorisation makes it even more
intriguing and desirable.” Ian Callum Director of Design, Jaguar
Observers will point to ‘classic’ Jaguar
design cues – such as the grille – on R-D6, but it is important to
realise that such features are there not because they commemorate
Jaguar’s past, but because they are intrinsically ‘right’ for a
thoroughly modern Jaguar.
R-D6 also takes advantage of Jaguar’s lightweight structure strategy, as
pioneered in the new XJ saloon. Using aluminium and composite materials
for the chassis and body, R-D6 weighs just 1500kg. This allows it to
capitalise on the power – and, more importantly, the torque – delivered
by its V6 engine.
And it’s the engine that will surprise many people – although, when you
think about it, a high-performance 2.7-litre diesel engine makes perfect
sense. Confirming Jaguar as a potent new force in the world of
large-capacity diesels, the bi-turbo V6 is a tuned version of the engine
that will make its debut in the S-TYPE in 2004. With horsepower in
excess of 230bhp and a massive 500Nm of torque, the V6 diesel engine
endows R-D6 with the pace to satisfy its looks and R-Performance rating.
Acceleration from standstill to the benchmark 60mph takes less than six
seconds. Top speed is an electronically limited 155mph.
Distinctive, confident and original, R-D6
has a beautiful, pure style that triggers a simple desire: I want one.
Its distinctive blend of attributes inherent in the Jaguar psyche –
emotional engineering, stimulating performance, intelligent technology
and downright sexy design – makes R-D6 instantly recognisable as a true
Jaguar. But the styling of the car – its lines and shapes, its sheer
presence – heralds a design direction that makes no apologies to past,
present or future.
“Respect for a glorious heritage
doesn’t stop us putting in place the foundations for future
generations of thrilling, dynamic Jaguars that aren’t afraid to
challenge perceptions. That’s what R-D6 is all about.” Julian
Thomson Chief Designer, Advanced Design, Jaguar Cars
At 4,330mm long, R-D6 is 342mm shorter
than Jaguar’s smallest car, the X-TYPE saloon – and 760mm shorter than
an XK8 coupé. The compact length of R-D6 is aided by short overhangs
front and rear (800mm and 695mm respectively) and is achieved with a
wheelbase of 2,840mm.
To ensure R-D6 is a true four-seater, the design team refused to
compromise on width or height (2,150mm and 1,390mm) but succeeded
nonetheless in crafting a beautifully compact coupé that has all the
road presence – and more – that you expect of a Jaguar.
Whether it is the grille that draws your eye, or the vents integrated
into the bonnet and flanks of the car, or the aluminium finisher
swooping over the entire side glass area, there is some instant
attraction for everyone in the design of R-D6.
The headlights reveal a fresh interpretation of the twin-lamp style
featured by Jaguars so successfully – and naturally – for many years.
Both front and rear lights use LED technology to deliver the best
possible function while maintaining beautiful form.
For many, though, it will be the details that make R-D6 so irresistibly
attractive. Details such as the flush-mounted door handles, which pivot
on the front edge to activate an electrical actuator that opens the
door; the centrally mounted twin-pipe exhausts; the aluminium boot
finisher engraved with the Jaguar script; or even the Leaper on the back
of the car.
“We’ve already proved with the new XJ
what advantages there are in using aluminium within a lightweight
vehicle structure. It’s natural that this technology will feature in
Jaguar’s future – and what better place to start than R-D6.” Phil
Hodgkinson Programmes Director, Jaguar Cars
The aluminium chassis of R-D6 is similar
to that of the new XJ and is constructed using many of the same advanced
technologies – with all the accompanying advantages, including
outstanding strength, robustness and durability in a true lightweight
Castings such as the front suspension turrets have also benefited from
techniques used in the new XJ, while the body is of aluminium and
R-D6 rides on 21-inch wheels, machined from solid aluminium specifically
for this car. They are shod with unique, ultra-low-profile Pirelli tyres:
255/30 R21 on the front and a massive 275/30 R21 on the rear. Look
through the spokes of the beautiful wheels and you’ll see Jaguar
R-Performance discs and calipers.
The all-new diesel engine that powers
R-D6 encapsulates the spirit of Jaguar today and at the same time
reinforces the promise of its future. Due to make its debut in a
production Jaguar – the S-TYPE – in mid-2004, the 2.7-litre V6 features
twin turbochargers and the latest, high-pressure, common-rail direct
injection, making it among the most advanced high-performance diesel
engines in the world.
Innovations such as a Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI) cylinder block –
which provides outstanding strength and durability as well as weighing
less than a traditional cast iron unit – allied to state-of-the-art
electronic engine control systems have given Jaguar the engine that the
marque, and many thousands of potential customers, have been waiting
“Why not use a sophisticated diesel
engine in a luxury sports coupe? Sir William Lyons was never afraid to
innovate and if he was alive and running the company today, I’m sure
this is exactly the sort of progress he would be embracing.”
Mike Wright Managing Director, Jaguar Cars
For R-D6, the 24-valve engine is tuned
beyond road-going levels, but central to its design is the need to
deliver all the power, refinement and spirited performance that Jaguar
drivers demand. The V6 diesel engine that today brings a concept car
fully to life will, in less than a year, be putting a smile
on the face of Jaguar customers.
To appreciate fully the interior of R-D6
takes a while, partly because you spend as much time touching as you do
looking. The materials in the cabin are a blend of classic with a
contemporary twist and modern bordering on the futuristic. And as you
would expect from Jaguar, there are a couple of refreshingly
Aluminium features extensively in both milled and formed guise. Two
types of leather – lightly grained, carbon-black aniline and 8mm thick
black saddle leather – are used throughout the interior. Satin-finish
Black American Walnut veneer complements the Piano Black gloss veneer
that was introduced on the new XJ.
Probably the best way to visualise the interior of R-D6 is to imagine
yourself sitting in the luxurious, moulded composite driver’s seat, your
back supported by a ‘spine’ of tensioned leather that weaves through the
structure of the seat and then loops forward at the top to provide an
integral head restraint. The seat is constructed with internal ducts to
allow heating or cooling according to driver preference.
“To my mind, what you’re looking at is
the ultimate luxury sports interior. Don’t just note the fact that
there is leather and wood; really study how we’ve used it. Trust me,
this is beyond contemporary.” Ian Callum Director of Design,
To one side of you is a door featuring
aluminium and two types of leather, and in the centre a section of the
American Walnut wood veneer that runs from the front to the rear of the
cabin. Controls for motorised movement of the seat are integrated into
the recessed armrest. Open the door and a formed aluminium surround is
visible, integrating a Jaguar-embossed leather kick-plate.
Your feet rest on wood, which again runs from front to rear. In the area
immediately below the seats and extending partially into the footwell,
the wood is obscured by a ‘floating floor’ of tensioned thick saddle
leather that ‘flows’ over the transmission tunnel and is also visible at
the outer edges of the cabin floor. The 25mm gap between the leather and
the wood, aided by apertures in the latter, forms part of the
“When we started work on the interior,
we wanted to only use the materials in an ‘honest’ way, so the wood is
mostly flat and the leather ‘drapes’ in a natural fashion.”
Julian Thomson Chief Designer, Advanced Design, Jaguar Cars
Where it tops the transmission tunnel,
the leather is inset with an aluminium gearshift surround. The milled
aluminium lever itself – which operates a six-speed manual transmission
– is located in an aluminium, domed hemisphere in place of a traditional
If all of this is detail, it is the view straight ahead from the
driver’s seat that shows exactly what sort of car R-D6 is. Pride of
place goes to the dial pack, encased in aluminium and inherently
sports-focused. The tachometer is positioned centrally, with the
speedometer smaller and to the right. To the other side, in an adjoining
‘pod’, are the usual fuel and temperature gauges and other warning
lights. All the dial faces have a white ceramic appearance and
R-Performance branding, and a milled aluminium rear-view mirror looks
perfectly at home. This blend of racetrack and luxury road styles is
typical of R-D6 and emphasises its seductive nature.
A broad, solid aluminium ‘switch beam’, topped by an aniline
leather-trimmed lower instrument panel, runs across the facia. It is
broken in the centre by a cover for the navigation and ‘infotainment’
display screen, revealed when the cover swivels backwards into the
instrument panel. The touch-sensitive screen, developed by Alpine
Electronics, features unique ‘Shutter LCD’ technology that allows
passengers to watch a moving image – for example, a DVD – while the
driver sees only the essential driving functions: navigation,
The facia hood – which stretches back to a veneered wood surround at the
base of the windscreen – is of black saddle leather, which is again
designed to give the appearance of being a ‘floating’ structure.
Surrounded by such contemporary opulence and yet aware of the fact that
this is actually a compact sports coupé, it is no surprise for a driver
to find a three-spoke, tri-material (aluminium, leather and Piano Black
wood) steering wheel and drilled aluminium foot pedals. Both are a
The rear cabin of R-D6 is equal in style and comfort to the front. Two
individual seats are accessed via rear-hinged doors, and passengers are
treated not only to comfortable, moulded seats, but also to a surprising
amount of room.
When the rear seats are unoccupied, the entire assembly can slide
forward to almost interlock with the front seats. This doubles boot
capacity, but here’s the really clever bit: the boot floor is a
two-layer design, with the upper layer – and, of course, any luggage
placed on it – moving forward with the seats to save you having to
reorganise the boot.
The side-hinged tailgate, the style of which will be familiar to anyone
who has owned a Jaguar E-type coupé, is as practical as it is stylish,
allowing rear headroom to be optimised.
And what of those idiosyncratic Jaguar touches?
Interior lighting is usually provided by clear glass courtesy lights,
but R-D6 is altogether more passionate, with ambient floor lighting
activated when the door opens to provide a welcoming, deep red glow.
But the ‘hidden’ feature you will touch every time you get in the car is
secreted in the top of the gearshift, below a swivelling top piece. Much
like the safety-catch on a gun – or the top of a fighter aircraft
joystick – this covers a silver button with a very important duty. Press
it and the V6 engine – and the R-D6 – springs into life. Just the kind
of dramatic touch you’d expect of a Jaguar.