Jaguar’s new baby saloon will have to be special to beat its BMW rival - so we asked RCA students to design just such a car
Steve Cropley Autocar
2 June 2013

Jaguar has met and cleared some mighty hurdles these past few years. Finding an all-new design style and applying it successfully to the new XK, XF and XJ saloons is a huge achievement. So is launching the F-type roadster, surely the most eagerly awaited sports car for some time.

Yet the removal of these hurdles serves only to reveal the toughest of all: Jaguar’s plan to produce a BMW 3-series rival, a car whose sales success could at last make Jaguar a reliable profit earner like its super-successful Land Rover stablemate. Although the new baby Jag is only a couple of years away, the company has so far proved remarkably adept at keeping its all-important shape away from prying eyes, especially our own.

Yet Autocar’s readers must not be denied. We can’t yet see into Jaguar’s inner design sanctum, so instead we put the task of creating an all-new D-segment Jaguar saloon for 2015 to some of the UK’s best car design students – the latest final-year postgraduate crop at London’s respected Royal College of Art – on the rationale that they’ll be the people creating such cars in a few years’ time. The RCA has trained many of the world’s most accomplished designers over five decades and annually recruits about 30 students from varied backgrounds at this time of the year.

All second-year students took part in our baby Jaguar competition. It was labelled ‘Project No Tech’ because the idea was to convey a plausible ‘look’ for the car entirely through sketches. The idea was to show as much knowledge of Jaguar’s past and present as possible. The ten best were pre-selected by RCA staff, including visiting professor Peter Stevens (forever famous as the designer of the McLaren F1) and Matt Humphries, former head of design at Morgan, now with his own consultancy.

The ten were reviewed by me, and with more help from RCA staff we first selected three standout entries and then – after much energetic discussion – a winner.

A narrow but unanimous winner, Korean-born Vera’s Jaguar took the decision on three important grounds: for “glamour”, for which a car entering this tough segment so late will undoubtedly need to be noticed; for the way judges felt that it acknowledged past and contemporary Jaguar design cues; and for an interesting use of light to define the whole of the car’s frontal features, greatly enhancing its identity in traffic and at night. The car had fine but believable proportions, plus “a classic feel”, the judges felt, and while indisputably modern, it avoided one of the key pitfalls of young designers’ work, which is to be too advanced for the chosen production date. 

One key factor, if you’re going to give a small premium car the impact it needs, is to get the stance exactly right, says Yalim Erkaya, who hails from Turkey. For this exercise, he focused on the car’s silhouette — and stance. And because the proposed date for the design is only two years away, he worked hard to get the car’s volumes and door sizes looking believable, using long, straight lines to make the car look larger than it is and a fastback tail with a short overhang to combine practicality with sportiness. Judges admired the sculptural body sides, which helped to make a particular highlight of the rear shoulders and wheel arches.

Given that its deadly rival, the BMW 3-series, is one of the UK’s best-selling cars, this new Jaguar will pitch its maker right into the mainstream, says Ji-Won Yun, from South Korea. That’s why the new small saloon needs “one nice, big theme” about its design that accentuates the innate grace of the car, he believes, rather than lots of lovingly crafted details. Which is what his car’s shapely body sides are about. His research included a study of the many historic variations to the Jaguar grille and ‘face’, together with the suggestion that the bottom part of the grille needs extra emphasis.

Jaguar's rich history informed all the competition entries, but none better than Hoe Young Hwang’s proposals, commended by the judges. “I’m frustrated by the angry face of today’s cars,” he told us. “So I’ve tried to give my designs a hint of the E-type’s friendlier look.”

His proposal for a five-door liftback takes a prominent line from the centre of the front wheel, right across the roofline, to join up with a flying buttress at the rear, influenced by the XJS, which no other entrant attempted. It was experimental rather than practical, the judges decided.  

Hwang’s more conservative four-door proposal is distinguished by a sporty stance and tight-fitting wheel arches. The car is nicely developed below the waist, but the upper body and rear window are less resolved. It’s clearly a Jaguar, with modern lines but classical connections.

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Comments
21

2 June 2013

But design won't be enough to win sales. This is such a fleet driven market that unless Jaguar can come up with good lease rates and ultra low emission diesels, which so far they lack even in the XF when compared with the ubiquitous 520d, the car will struggle in the long run even if it's met with fanfare. Roll out some decent diesels and a few low emissions petrols (Ford's 1.6 ecoboost 180ps would be good) and provide a practical estate and then we might have something interesting to look forward to. Oh and Autocar, have we got to put up with spoilers for this new Jaguar saloon for the next 2 years?

2 June 2013

Vera has certainly picked up on many of the Jaguar design queues and advanced them just enough.   It's an interesting design, and not too unrealistic as so many of these concept drawings are.

 

One of the flaws I see in many of these such drawing is, for example, a four door car drawing like a coupe without any rear access.

 

I agree with Will86.   The engineering on the X-Type has to be superb.   The previous one was murdered by the journalists who dismissed it for being based upon one of the class leading chassis from the Mondeo.   Even the fact that the X-Type was also 4x4 and the Mondeo never was, was ignored by ignorant journalists!   The BMW 3 Series is a very well developed product and is a tough car to match let alone beat.

2 June 2013

While I agree the engineering is very important, Jag's trump card will be design. Even the remaining two german makes struggle to match up to Bmw's engineering prowess let alone Jag.

Emissions, lease rates etc..etc... are important from the European context but if it has to be noticed and succeed everywhere else the Jag has to stand out.

The Evoque did not succeed because of its engineering, its design that made it a hit.

2 June 2013

The design is graceful but boldy different, and would position Jaguar as the renegade in a deeply conservative segment. The Evoque is selling well on that basis.

Well done Autocar for organising this initiative.

2 June 2013

They are a talented bunch, those students.

Just adding to the previous comments, in addition to the design and engineering elements, both undoubtedly critical, the new Jag also has to be good value, which has not been the case with recent models as they have got a lot more costly, comparatively speaking.

2 June 2013

Sorry Steve but F-type most eagerly awaited sports car for some time!  Not at all!.. there is nothing so great about it! it look nice, a little bland form the front for me! The headlien perfomance figures are nothing spectacular.. and to be honest apart froma Martin Brundle Jaguar sponsored road test ..no one has  really sent any  amazing reports on the car, nothing bad but nothing wow!

The other probelem with Jags styling is that for every model range as  Aston have the same problem also- is that they have the same exact styling no matter what model..there has to heritage yet diffrentiation.

The last problem I see, is that in the luxury/premium market.. the likes or Mercedes, Audi and BMW appear to be launching next gen technology in there new models. Jaguar(apart from gear selector that hides itself away and pops up when the engine starts) really hasnt had too much innovation and really has to deliver here, but I don't feel they can.

 

2 June 2013

Bobstardeluxe wrote:

Sorry Steve but F-type most eagerly awaited sports car for some time!  Not at all!.. there is nothing so great about it! it look nice, a little bland form the front for me! The headlien perfomance figures are nothing spectacular.. and to be honest apart froma Martin Brundle Jaguar sponsored road test ..no one has  really sent any  amazing reports on the car, nothing bad but nothing wow!

The other probelem with Jags styling is that for every model range as  Aston have the same problem also- is that they have the same exact styling no matter what model..there has to heritage yet diffrentiation.

The last problem I see, is that in the luxury/premium market.. the likes or Mercedes, Audi and BMW appear to be launching next gen technology in there new models. Jaguar(apart from gear selector that hides itself away and pops up when the engine starts) really hasnt had too much innovation and really has to deliver here, but I don't feel they can.

 

The F type has been praised in the motoring press. Have you read them? The V8S is a bargain compared to a base 911 and we still have the coupe and R versions to come.

 

Technology? So, being an expert in the art of using Aluminium is not good? You'd rather google maps than a light weight chassis? The new Range Rover Sport is full of tech such as head-up display and torque vectoring. What examples do you have of the Germans having tech that JLR does not?

 

Style? Have you seen the Audis? They all look the same. Have a look at the new BMW X5. It's design and style is truly awful.

8 June 2013

pychris wrote:

Bobstardeluxe wrote:

Sorry Steve but F-type most eagerly awaited sports car for some time!  Not at all!.. there is nothing so great about it! it look nice, a little bland form the front for me! The headlien perfomance figures are nothing spectacular.. and to be honest apart froma Martin Brundle Jaguar sponsored road test ..no one has  really sent any  amazing reports on the car, nothing bad but nothing wow!

The other probelem with Jags styling is that for every model range as  Aston have the same problem also- is that they have the same exact styling no matter what model..there has to heritage yet diffrentiation.

The last problem I see, is that in the luxury/premium market.. the likes or Mercedes, Audi and BMW appear to be launching next gen technology in there new models. Jaguar(apart from gear selector that hides itself away and pops up when the engine starts) really hasnt had too much innovation and really has to deliver here, but I don't feel they can.

 

The F type has been praised in the motoring press. Have you read them? The V8S is a bargain compared to a base 911 and we still have the coupe and R versions to come.

 

Technology? So, being an expert in the art of using Aluminium is not good? You'd rather google maps than a light weight chassis? The new Range Rover Sport is full of tech such as head-up display and torque vectoring. What examples do you have of the Germans having tech that JLR does not?

 

Style? Have you seen the Audis? They all look the same. Have a look at the new BMW X5. It's design and style is truly awful.

 

ok just to clarify I rate RR completely ! Without exception the best off road SUV's bar none, new RR is a masterpiece. buy we are talking jags here.. Also I am very well versed in motoring reviews too .. So I don't know which reviews you are reading , not one has slated it for being bad in any sense , in fact very good. Jag just doesn't know where it fits on the market 911 or boxster.. So it is confusingly priced. also it doesn't triumph over either. Infact please see Top Gears recent review. And comment below comparing to Porsche on a full test- It comes close but doesn't beat.. Other reviews say the same- 

"If all you want to do is barrel around the many corners of Scotland's beautifully deserted Highlands, the Boxster S - the £45,000 Boxster S - remains untouchable. No shame on Jaguar for failing to land the killer punch here, though it gets mighty close: at least until the Cayman lands in the UK (not long, folks!), the Boxster is the best sub-£60k sports car you can buy. In fact, scrap that. This might just be the best sports car you can buy, full stop.

"Jaguar benchmarked the 911 for performance," noted the sage-like Paul Horrell at the end of our day testing the F-Type against the two Porsches. "And I'd say it's succeeded in that. Problem is, it benchmarked the wrong Porsche..."

lastly jag uses a lot of tech true, but the Germans are way in advance in all aspects problem is JLR only advanced in chassis and aluminium structures  but even Merc uses advanced chassis structures , bonding techniques etc.. As new s-class,SLS, SLS electric for example etc..but torque vectoring and head up displays is nothing new , multiple manufactures use this, to be in the premium luxury market and compete a manufacture needs to constantly come up with innovative useful tech which eventually filters down to the main stream market not gimmicky gear selector knobs that pop up out of of consoles..when was last time that was introduced to VW Golf? 

I hope Jag makes great cars, for me personally..Jag have lost what I remeber jags were known for as a kid and why as a kid you wanted one .. That was elegant sporty look, deep grumbling engines and cool timeless interiors.. The current ones and particularly the saloons to my eyes are just miserable looking face, awarkward rear styling and gimmicky slightly dated interiors..

I too applaud autocar for always supporting up and coming generation of car designers, I studied at Coventry University  myself on the transport design course many years ago and Autocar always supported the field then too.. 

 

2 June 2013

Fantastic designs here and evidence of much talent.

It must have been hard deciding on a winner.

 

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

2 June 2013

This is the biggest load of PR drivel I've read in a while. The days of quality Autocar journalism appear to be either numbered or completely over.

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