Recently retired design chief offers some extraordinary hints.
If there's ever been a single word that perfectly describes Jaguar design it's this: sexy. From the earliest Jaguars through the XK120 and E-Type, to today's F-Type, sexy design is essential, something just retired Jaguar design boss Ian Callum understands better than anyone. Now that he's turned the captain's chair over to Julian Thomson, who will no doubt continue Callum's game plan and preserve the UK carmaker's brilliant design heritage, what's in store for the next generation sports cars? What about the F-Type's eventual successor? More specifically, is there already design inspiration from a fairly recent concept? Turns out there is.
Speaking to Autocar, Callum acknowledged Jaguar still has yet to make key decisions regarding not only the F-Type's successor but also whether it should be accompanied by a 2+2 XK replacement as well.
"A sports car is an indulgence of performance and beauty," he said. "It's about two people and a powerful drivetrain wrapped as tightly as possible in a beautiful style. That's exactly what an F-Type is and exactly what an E-Type was. He continued: "For a Jaguar sports car, presence and stance is all-important. It must have such fantastic presence and stance that even a five-year-old who's not interested in cars can't help but turn around and notice it. And they do. They notice that its proportions, stance and presence are different from anything else."
And then Callum began sketching something interesting for his interviewers: a future Jaguar sports cars that closely resembles the C-X75 concept, which regrettably never made production. And yes, the C-X75 was mid-engined and his updated sketch clearly reflects that.
Is this a clue about the F-Type's successor? Perhaps, but here's the kicker: Jaguar is still considering whether or not this model should be an electric, front-engined hybrid or a mid-engined hybrid.
"If you were to do an electric car, you would naturally end up with that (C-X75) style," Callum said. "It's a shape a designer would do given no constraints. It was the ultimate design indulgence. We even created a powerplant that would give us that shape. Function followed form in its case." How close could the F-Type successor get to the C-X75? "We could get quite close; it depends on what we do. With a front-engined car, clearly we can't. There's still a following within Jaguar for a front mid-engined car; that it's still the correct formula. I have a preference for mid-engined cars. It's certainly something I would like to see."
We'll have to wait and see what Callum's successor has planned.