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Callum: How Jag made its XF back-seat-friendly

Jaguar design chief Ian Callum: The XF has the illusion of less interior space than there actually is.
SAN DIEGO — Jaguar chief designer Ian Callum describes the new XF sedan as "something you can enjoy without me having to explain it." Then he proceeds to explain, in some detail, why the XF will transform the way people think about Jaguar.

"We wanted a coupe, not a generic five-seater," Callum while following the car's descending roofline with his hand. "We did 60 computer iterations to get the C-pillar to the wheel arch and shoulder just right."

Coupe-styled sedans, such as the Mercedes-Benz CLS series, have wowed consumers with their appearance. But the lack of headroom put back-seat passengers at a disadvantage.

To avoid that problem, Callum's team pulled the roofline farther back. The rake of the windshield and rear window is identical to that of the Jaguar XK coupe. In addition, by having a high beltline and narrow greenhouse, the XF has the illusion of less interior space than there actually is.

At the XF's media introduction here, Callum said he wanted the interior to have a sense of humor — like the ignition button that pulses red like a heartbeat and vents that rotate open when the car is started.

Callum designed the instrument panel's face from aluminum rather than an expanse of wood, to give it a more modern feel. Yet Callum says the XF has more wood than any Jaguar since the Mk II of the 1960s.

The idea was to simplify the layout of the instrument panel, where Jaguars were once famous for their clutter.

Says Callum: "The simpler the forms, the more you can enjoy the materials." 

You can reach Mark Rechtin at mrechtin@crain.com

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