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Through the past five years I have been running a blog dedicated to car design with an experimental approach. I was eager to establish a bridge with the design community and to gain experience on the web.

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Jaguar is not committing to the launch of a Crossover developed from the C-X17 concept just unveiled to great acclaim at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The show-car developed in less than one year is primarily a vehicle for a multiple-directions journey into the near future. Which destinations will come first is still a well-kept secret, such as the related investments and projected production volume.

For the designers and engineers the C-X17 is a tool to test the limit the “Intelligent Aluminium Architecture” concept they have developed in the past years.

On the marketing front the concept will serve to test if the traditional Jaguar patrons will accept the idea that a Jaguar can go so far as being close to a SUV by a different name and if the introduction of a Jaguar Crossover might eventually impact the Range Rover rock-solid leadership in the field.

Talking about the projected expansion of Jaguar models, Mr. Kevin Stride, Vehicle Line Director, said that the company plan to grow “intelligently” … with the addition of the new C/D sedan but “we are going to take our time to make decision about new models. This is the case for the C-X17 Crossover development. We all know there is a big market there but we need to be sure there is a role for a Jaguar in that arena.

For the designers the C-X17 is a major test of their talent applied to a tall vehicle of totally new dimensions and check their creativity with the public acceptance. A Jaguar must be beautiful. Can a crossover be beautiful? This is really the question the C-X17 is here to answer.

The first reactions from the show-floor have been extremely good and it seems that the world can’t wait for a Jaguar Crossover, even if the show-concept may be a little too tall for an elegant, sporty and luxurious new Jaguar. Julian Thompson, director of Jaguar Advanced Design is candid about it: “yes we have considered and experimented the height of the car at all stages of development, we started with a lower configuration but eventually had to come to the decision that this is the right height”.

Jaguar displayed the C-X17 to keep momentum on its developments at this time but the “real thing” is the new sports Sedan, the an all-new C/D segment premium car to come off Jaguar’s production lines in less than two years time. It will be the first industrial application of Jaguar new” iQ [Al] Architecture” and it will be the first aluminium monocoque product in the segment.

Yet, “there is a lot more to the Architecture than the modern aluminium technology Jaguar has been mastering through the past 15 years in relatively high production volumes,” stressed Kevin Stride.

What we are aiming with the aluminium monocoque is for a very stiff structure that is not heavy rather than just minimizing weight. This is critical, but the aluminium platform is indeed just one of many “pillars” of the new Architecture, which Kevin Stride and Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design director, have investigated, researched and tested through the past years to align the established Jaguar values (of driving finesse, sport character, elegant style and dynamic look) to modern technologies. When time came to plan for a new modular and very flexible industrial platform for the Jaguars of the future, designers and engineers investigated all the factors that are relevant, long term, to the architecture of a wide range of model type, size and derivatives. “We needed to think of all possibilities for the future (even if we knew we would not do everything) and to do that we needed to choose a set of technologies rather than the best parts and components we have access to.”

Our belief was, and is, that every member of the new generation must drive and feel like a real Jaguar. We all knew this is a matter of body structure, sure; but also of suspension, steering and powertrain response. Of braking, handling and comfort. A matter of agility.

Consequently day after day we developed a sort of philosophy serving as the fundaments of a new approach to design and engineering.

The new architecture is indeed resulting from a two-ways and constant dialogue between designers and engineers working as a unique, holistic, team.

Where do we position the wheel? And how we set the distance between the front axle and the driver’s H point? Where very crucial and strategic questions we had to answers together. We researched again and again the answers to those question”.

Similarly “the designer’s sleek silhouettes, low and flowing lines at the front, call for low suspension domes and hence the sophisticated double wishbone suspension at the front, with enough room under the skin for high flexibility for engines, transmissions and integrated hybrids.”

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