Press Release) Jaguar takes a leap
into the future with the North American public debut of a new
concept car at the 2002 NYIAS (New York International Auto Show)
today. Conceived to demonstrate how the company’s design philosophy
may develop in coming years, the Jaguar R-Coupe is a prestigious and
sensuous four-seater coupe that reinterprets Jaguar’s core design
values in a fresh and forward-thinking way.
“We challenged our designers to show how the Jaguar ‘look’ could
advance in the years ahead, to reflect the company’s transformation
from niche manufacturer to major player in the premium car sector”
says Mike Beasley, Jaguar’s managing director. “This represents a
long-term vision though, rather than anything that we will see
tomorrow. The R-Coupe provides an insight into Jaguar's long term
future design philosophy, reaffirming our commitment to create cars
that stir people's emotions.”
Classic and contemporary inspiration
The proportions and
stance of classic Jaguars from the 1950s and 1960s inspired the
powerful look of the R-Coupe, where strong, geometric forms underpin
the car’s flowing lines. Exterior detail is restrained but picks up
characteristic Jaguar design cues, such as the front grille.
The car’s warm and rich interior puts a contemporary twist on the
use of wood and leather, to create a luxurious environment
influenced by the latest trends in furniture and interior design.
Wood veneer sweeps right round the cabin, leather covers the floor
as well as the seats, and many jewel-like details are silver-plated.
“With the R-Coupe we have the ability both to explore and to display
our future design philosophy for Jaguar,” says Ian Callum, Jaguar’s
design director. “Concept cars like this provide an incomparable
opportunity for us to try out new ideas and to experience them in a
full-size, three-dimensional format. We’re looking forward to
learning a great deal from the reactions of the public too.”
The R-Coupe is not intended for production, but it embodies themes
and ideas that may find their way into future Jaguars. The concept
is not based on any current or proposed Jaguar chassis, though it is
constructed around a realistic four-seater package and a V8
powertrain. Further examples of advanced technology incorporated
into the car’s design include F1-style ‘paddle shift’ gear-changing,
headlight beams that follow steering direction, electronic door
releases, personalization of the interior environment for each
occupant and a futuristic, voice-controlled telematics system.
First vehicle from Jaguar’s Advanced Design
The R-Coupe is the first
complete vehicle developed since Ian Callum was appointed as
Jaguar’s new Design Director in 1999. One of his earliest moves was
to introduce a 15-strong Advanced Design studio, headed by Julian
Thomson, which has taken the lead role in bringing the R-Coupe to
life, working with Callum to develop Jaguar’s new design philosophy
and design language.
A prestige, four-seater performance coupe was chosen to embody the
new design thinking because such a model does not figure in Jaguar’s
future vehicle plans. So the R-Coupe can be shown in public without
revealing hints of any specific vehicles in the pipeline. Jaguar is
currently undergoing a product-led transformation that is seeing its
line-up grow from two models in 1998 to four today, and to five in
around three years time with the launch of the F-TYPE.
The Advanced Design team originally produced six exterior proposals
for the R-Coupe, as scale models. A design from Julian Thomson was
selected as the basis for the finished vehicle, though incorporating
details from the other proposals. Lead designer on developing the
exterior was Matthew Beaven. The interior design was chosen from a
series of sketch proposals, with the one selected being by Mark
Phillips, who became lead interior designer for the project.
The design of the Jaguar R-Coupe was finalized early in 2001, and
the team held regular reviews throughout the development process
with Ian Callum. Prior to its New York Auto Show appearance, Jaguar
changed the paint color of the R-Coupe from silver to a new Jaguar
Racing Green finish. This new paint finish will be available in the
North American market on the 2003 XK sports coupe and convertible
later this year.