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2011 Jaguar XJ Spy Shots Revealed, Sir William Lyons Turns In His Grave

Posted in Cars, Concept Cars, Design, Expensive Cars, Foreign Cars, History, Jaguar, Luxury Cars, Newsworthy by Suzanne Denbow | September 17th, 2008 | 16 Responses |

Jaguar XJ Concept

Spy shots and concept photos published in British publication Car (which I came across via Autopia) reveal a Jaguar XJ that has been redesigned to ensure that Jaguar ultimately meets the same fate as Volvo: obscurity and unpopularity. Abandoning the traditional makeup WHICH MADE THEM LEGENDARY – ahem, excuse me – Jaguar’s design chief Ian Callum appears to have engineered yet another interchangeably-styled luxury sedan. 2011 XJ test mules that were spotted on the test track were heavily disguised under the body work of the current model XJ saloon’s, but I’m not fooled. According to sources, the Jaguar XJ’s new design direction is a heavy crossbreeding of the Aston Martin Rapide and the Bentley Continental GT, which several auto enthusaists have heralded as a much-needed revision of the Jaguar XJ’s “outdated style.”


Ok. Let me break this down for you: when Ford bought Volvo in 1999 they performed the same kind of overhaul, abandoning the “turbo brick” styling. The result was a retooled Volvo that looked like little more than a high-end Ford Taurus. Now, thanks to that brilliant maneuver, Volvo’s popularity as a brand has been “put in the back on the discount rack, like another can of beans,” (to quote Billy Joel). The only motorists that are still enthusiastic about Volvo are the loyjala fanatiker like myself who remain true to the original Volvo line, manufactured from 1927 to 1999. As a matter of fact, if you ever crack open the pages of Rolling Magazine (the official publication of the Volvo Club Of America), you’ll notice a distinct lack of anything influenced by Ford.

2011 Jaguar XF Spy Photos

Like Volvo, Jaguar’s design isn’t merely an odd, “outdated” aesthetic, it’s a tradition-rich design upon which Jaguar’s legacy has been built. If it’s drastically altered to resemble yet another Bentley look-alike, you will effectively destroy the only traditional thread the Jaguar XJ had left to cling to. Granted, the entire Jaguar line has suffered a fall from popularity, but tampering with its only remaining prize-winning formula isn’t going to change that. I say to Jaguar: leave the XJ alone and focus instead on fine-tuning the two models that are already trying to embolden the mix, the Jaguar XK and the XF. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself sitting next to Volvo on the discount shelf. I hope you like beans.

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16 Responses

  1. montay taylor says:

    the closer that we can get the xj to the above photo the better it will look. as it stands it looks like an stretched xf. more roundness on the back roof line just like the photo…the above photo of the concept is beautiful give it a try…………………..

  2. montay taylor says:

    it looses its way at the rear roof line. car needs to be sleeker just like the above photo. note: more sleek………..

  3. Alex Perkins says:

    The current jaguar xj has been selling poorly due to its inability to compete with other luxury brands. If you propose that it remains “traditional” it will surely go the way of chrysler. The only way for jaguar to survive in this market is to change and adapt, which the new jaguar xj demonstrates quite well.

  4. Tony says:

    You state that Jaguar needs to stay ‘traditional,’ but you miss out on the fact that it has been rapidly losing sales. Sure, there will be a number of hard-core loyalists who will miss out on the old-look Jag XJ (just as there are hard-core loyalists, like yourself, who miss the ugly boxy Volvos of the 90s) ….but far more people will be drawn to the new look XJ than will be lost, and these will be people who would have bought (say) a top end Bimmer or Benz, but now see the Jag as a viable alternative that does not have ‘grandfather’ stamped on it.

    Sure, tradition is very important. But, just as important are sales! If Jag does not evolve, it will become like Saab or Volvo. I just hope it is not too late for Jag, and looking at the success of the XF it appears like it may not be. Imagine what would have happened had the XF been made to look like some 1960s redux ….yes, it would have been like one more clunky 90s Volvo lookalike.

  5. Matt says:

    Thank you, thank you thank you. The only journalist willing to write the truth instead of inexplicably kissing up to the designer that is imploding this brand by making Japanese luxury sedan knock-offs that look like they have been lifted from the back pages of a school boy’s notebook.

  6. Richard Wilton says:

    I would say Sir WIlliam Lyons has been turning in his grave for quite a few years now, seeing the unadventurous, albeit graceful, models that have characterized Jaguar over the last thirty years. (I drive one and love it to bits, by the way.) He was an innovator. When I was a kid about four decades ago and my late lamented Dad drove a Jaguar, it was the latest in sexy technology, not a museum piece. Go on Jaguar, push your way to the front again!

  7. Taboka says:

    I say stay traditional. I dislike the idea of the “change” but I have to agree Ford took the Volvo and Jaguars and merely made then into high end Tauruses. I am not against change all together but I think that jaguar was made popular by what it already is and was. I do think that in order to compete though, Jaguar must make vehicles that are synonymous with it’s heritage in terms of style however it must also make them more affordable to the younger age groups who are in the well to do. BMW and Mercedes have cars that are priced in the $30 000 range whilst Jaguars starts n the mid to high $40 000s this is well out of reach of the new luxury car buyers who are aged between 25 and 40. The idea that one must be an old man nearing retirement age in order to own a Jag is one that will keep potential buyers from ever considering it an option. I am sure there a many BMW 3 series, Audi A4 and Mercedes Benz C class drivers out there who wish they could put a Jaguar on the list of options when they go out for a test drive but why bother if the thing is at least $20 000 out of your league. Make them smaller but also within reach of that demographic and you won’t have to remove what has built the brand to make it successful. Still love you Jaguar.

  8. EdsXJ says:

    Interesting article. I own the latest XJ and love it to bits. Next to the BMWs, Mercs and Audis it looks stunning and not bland and was an emotional purchase.

    The fact it is stuffed full of technology that aids driving and is built from aluminium are just added pleasures. I still find it hard to believe that it can ride so well on potholed roads but be thrown around like a car half its size…..

    However, I will give the new car a chance. I will want to drive it and see if it is as cossetting as the current model and see if it has that emotional hook still. We can’t live in the past but I hope Jaguar keep all the good bits that makes me buy a car of beauty and capability.

  9. Loquence says:

    I disagree with your apparent lack of affection for the current 4-door Bentley Continental, which has a relatively generous passenger-space to gross vehicle volume ratio, sporting the courage of both its visual and functional convictions and, not least, performance to burn.

    Better, or rather, worse visual analogies you might have been looking for might include the hideous, overstated “new” Rolls Royce, if one were to add totally nasty-looking headlamp arrays and utter absence of rear-end awareness. I mean, these vulgar head- and tail-lamps… what on earth were they thinking? Why even build a vehicular thing that commits less than a third of its volume to passenger seating? And how about some windows, so people can actually look outside? For no reason apparent to this writer, these are dark times indeed for car designers if even the luxury class doesn’t seem to know where it’s going.

    To its credit, this new Jaguar doesn’t have as many of the redundant passé signature crinkly bits along its body sideline as current Mercedes, BMW or even Lexus offerings, which have disposability written all over them. All in all, however, this generation of Jaguar XJ is only marginally less ugly than it could possibly have been.

    The worst part in design terms is, it’s a real let-down to the rest of the Jaguar series which – but for this model – actually seemed to be getting better.

  10. Jag Lover says:

    The rear looks like crap compared to the old one and i even think the XF looks better . The car looks ok untill you get to the c pillar where it starts to look like a Audi A6 and the rear looks like a Lancia . I love Jaguars so much but sadly this model is to much for me , i will look at it as it comes out but i won`t but it i think . Just imagine if Status Quo should start play rap music all over sudden ? None of their fans would have liked that and i am afriad Jaguar has done the same mistake whit this new so called XJ . It´s probably lovlely to drive and ride in but as whit the Porsche Cayenne it looks like crap sadly , becuase i think it`s a great car otherwise . Just sad they missed out on the rear end . And the Roof line too

  11. ash says:

    The rear is the ugliest I have ever seen. There is one picture – not on this site – that really shows it in all it’s square hideousness with, seemingly, two lights stuck on the corners of a brick. Go in a new direction, by all means, but retain grace and proportion – can no-one at Jaguar design tell when something is ugly? I was looking forward to the new model, believing it would be a modern interpretation of the flowing, pouncing feline shape. Oh dear. I will not be buying one.

  12. Allen says:

    This new Jaguar is exceptional the rear reminds me of the Bently which show class and the nose is the most exciting look I’ve seen yet on a new make and design. Please, oh please produce the vehicle I promise you that you guys hit this one out the park. I own an S-Type and she my dream. After seeing this new Xj Im in love al over again

  13. murfie says:

    I’ve owned nothing but XJ’s or XJR’s up to year 2000. The reason in simple: elegant simplicity that challenged clonish Japanese or Teutonic notions of automotive design. Whoever gave Ian McCallum the notion he could design his way out of a paper sack? The new Jaguar is an embarrassment, a hermaphrodite design that will sink the Mark forever and consign the rest of us to a slobbering, boozing commiseration.

  14. Snarf says:

    The last decent looking Jaguars were the X300/X305 and the X100 (XK8). These models hearkened back to classic designs, while bringing modern performangce and reliability t the table. Their subsequent offerings have quickly descended into bland, chunky, wedge-shaped abominations, reaching an all time peak of unsightliness with this new ‘XJ’. Why keep using the Jaguar name when there is no longer a trace of Jaguar design left?

  15. S. Thetix says:

    I could see the stylists at Jaguar were losing it when the XK was unveiled. But with the XF and XJ they’ve completely abandoned any and all design elements which even suggest “Jaguar.” If you can’t draw something which is bold and modern while still exhibiting some continuity with Jaguar’s most classic styling cues, then go back to school. The newest Aston Martins, for example, are bold and modern but they still look like Astons. I bought my XK8 because, styling-wise, it was a bold and modern reinterpretation of E-Type themes. I will NOT be buying another Jaguar unless or until the stylists realize what has made almost all Jaguars (OK, maybe not the XJS) both distinctive and beautiful.

  16. Pete Carter says:

    It’s poor form to make comments about the likes of Sir William Lyons when you evidently know nothing of the history of Jaguar. If he were alive today – a little difficult as he would be 109 admittedly – Billy Lyons would have most likely conjured up something incredibly different, faintly Italian and a little more overtly American in style (he knew how important his main market was), but most importantly something that owed virtually nothing to the wasted chances of the XJ40, X300 and X358 iterations.

    On a Jaguar, the leaping cat points forward to the future, not back into the past. Sir Ian Callum realised this and drew the new XJ, whilst retaining several obvious brand cues, such as the large, agressive grille, strong flanks and tight wrapping around the wheels to give the style a very real and seductive movement. This article only highlights your low ability as a know-nothing webhack, and the blinkered ramblings of backward old farts like certain posters on this board illustrates the very problem Jaguar has had to contend with for the last 42 years; to shake off the malaise brought on by timid management and customers afraid of change. The former has thankfully now been thrown out. The latter will soon be in their Honda Civics buying soft foods and surgical stockings. And that day will not come too soon.