Designing the Jaguar F-Type Coupé: "Ultimately, you need to be bold"

There should there always be a sports car in the Jaguar range, what about an SUV?

"We prefer to call it a sports crossover. I think SUV is a bit blunt, it's got connotations of truck-like. The thing about the C-X17 was we have to make it quite clear it's a sports crossover so therefore it's still a driver's car. Yes, it should have four-wheel drive off-road capabilities to a point, but we'll leave the expert side of our sister brand Range Rover to that because they're the kings of it. Although we can live off some of their understanding.

"We already do four-wheel drive with the RXJ and XKR, which sadly we don't get in the UK. There's a lot of the Land Rover technology in there.

"If we were to do a sports crossover, we'll see what happens is the answer to that. We're not confirming we're going to do a crossover. But if we were to do one, it's because the market demands it... We want to show we can do performance and practicality."

More after the break...

What was the most difficult aspect of the design of the F-Type Coupé? Did it take longer to design than the Convertible?

"The Convertible really setup the game. Although we had the Coupé in our minds, we actually finished the Convertible before we started it, which is unusual. There was an overlap before we really finished the Convertible, I had to see what a Coupé might look like before we signed it off. That's why we did the C-X16 concept. That was a prelude to what we might do.

Jaguar F-Type Coupé

"There was nothing really difficult. I mean it's all difficult otherwise anybody could do it. But nothing specific. The demanding thing in a sports car is the package, size and physical volume. The most difficult part, of course, were the sculptured hunches at the back, which go back to the Aston Martin days. I think they just give the car so much presence.

"With an aluminium car, adding them was hugely challenging and so going through the first iterations of it, working with our guys in manufacturing, we could've ended up with something a lot gentler. But they worked with us and we got the shape, the extent, at the back that we really wanted. The nice thing is we work with guys who want to build what we want to build. They don't just say, "oh that's too difficult". They care. And they're quite young, I mean they're not some guy here in retirement saying "I'm not building this"... They say: "We've got to build this because this is what I want to see as well." The rear three-quarters of the car was quite challenging to make in aluminium."

Why was such a big deal made about the flat grille?

"We're growing in confidence. And it's a bit like a face, you know. I did hint that future cars may be a little more upright. There you go, I hinted at it. The XF started off the new shape grille, which was inspired by the original XJ. I know that sounds tenuous but we genuinely looked at the XJ. That was the last car [Sir William] Lyons designed and was involved with so we looked at that car and wondered where he would've taken the grille... So I went back to that reference and that's what created the XF grille When we did the XJ I said I wanted this car to be more forthright, more formidable. So we'll make the grille more upright and make it bigger.

"When we did it people at the time people said, internally as well, it was too bold, you can't get away with this. It will be fine, trust me, I said, this car needs to have presence. When we did do it and we got it right, it taught me at the time was that we need to do more of this. We need to be more confident and we need people to understand the face of Jaguar. It's not shrinking violet, it's assertive. So the view now is we are going to have more assertive front-ends.

"Ultimately you need to be bold. I've also found out if you feel you want to be noticed, you have to push into an uncomfortable zone when creating it. Not to do it wrong, just be a little more excessive. By the time the car comes out it will be alright. It's my job to convince everyone around me it will be fine.

"Trust me, I'm a designer."

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