Currently reading: Insight: Q&A with Ian Callum, Jaguar design director
We talk to the man responsible for penning the facelifted XE to find out what the new model means to the company
Steve Cropley Autocar
News
2 mins read
26 February 2019

With revamped styling, new interior materials and a technology upgrade, Jaguar's revived XE needs to recapture some ground lost to the model's German rivals. We talk to the man responsible for its design, Ian Callum, to find out exactly how it could succeed. 

What makes the new Jaguar XE special? 

“We believe it’s the total package: progressive design, innovative tech and great driving dynamics. My team and I have taken huge pleasure out of improving a car we already know very well. We’ve lived with it, we understand its character, and now we’ve made it better.” 

Why was it necessary to give an already good-looking car more presence? 

“We think the car looks great, but there’s no question that in this market you have to be seen to be heard. Proportionally, we reckon the XE is already the best car in its class, but feedback from customers, from our marketing guys and even our own impressions as we used the car made it clear we needed to dial up the assertiveness.” 

What do you rate as the biggest improvement? 

“I’d say it’s got to be the new interior design. We probably didn’t give the car the interior it deserved in the first model. There’s no doubt it was a bit short on materials quality. And better technology and materials have become available. These things always progress. So we spent a lot of our money on this, in relation to the size of the total programme, and we’re pretty pleased with the result.” 

The new car’s headlights are even thinner. How long can this keep happening?

“Yes, and they can be the new matrix type, too, that don’t need to be dipped. The gain this time was because we’ve moved completely to LEDs – and away from what we call B-U-L-B technology…” 

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Do you think it’s important that Jaguar continues to make saloons? 

“Absolutely. We all do. They deliver a kind of efficiency and a driving pleasure that you don’t find in SUVs, and they’re qualities that are very ‘Jaguar’.”

Read more

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Jaguar considers transformation to EV-only brand​

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rmcondo 27 February 2019

What this design says is

What this design says is “modern saloon”. it doesn’t scream at 100 metres, “Jaguar”! It should and based on his own car, he probably knows it. 

JazzBlueHemi 27 February 2019

Not again!!

I love Autocar and I have huge respect for Steve Cropley, but please, please, please can you stop doing these grovelling interviews with Ian Callum and Jaguar. They are just not objective and no tough questions ever seem to be asked. The XE has many good qualities and the new version looks better, at least from the front. But the generic design was a mistake from the start, not bold enough and too safe. And there's no getting away from the fact it's been a sales flop, and mid-life makeovers generally don't help much in that respect.

Next time you do a JLR interview, please send a journalist who isn't mates with everybody there, and is prepared to ask the hard questions.

JMax18 27 February 2019

Oh be quiet all you JLR

Oh be quiet all you JLR ranters and ravers

This car looks brilliant.

In answer to your question autocar, the headlights havent reached alfa thickness yet

BertoniBertone 28 February 2019

Leche-cul....

I couldn't agree more with the comments about Mr Cropley's lack of holding Ian Callum's feet to the fire.

There's seems to be no contrition on JLR's part that they released the XE when it was 'below par' (and I'm being polite here).  I had a look at one when 'new', opened the door and saw the welding marks on the body below the 'A' pillar, bonnet releases 'on the wrong side for RHD', plastics not up to Skoda level. Where else had they cut corners ?

I think the XE was sent out into the world naively conceived, conventionally styled, shamefully under-developed and, thus, poorly equipped to deal with 'School Bully' : ie. 3-series. I won't even attempt to gloat at the results.

If you don't start giving JLR a good kicking where it's due, Mr Cropley, then they won't improve as much as they need to. Simples.

abkq 27 February 2019

Time and again Ian Callum

Time and again Ian Callum likes to praise the proportions of the XE. But the long bonnet-short cabin approach makes no sense in a compact saloon where you want to release as much cabin space as possible on a small footprint. A cab-forward design is the only solution. But Jaguar doesn't care about packaging.

TheBritsAreComing 27 February 2019

Your Perfect Car

abkq wrote:

the long bonnet-short cabin approach makes no sense in a compact saloon where you want to release as much cabin space as possible on a small footprint. A cab-forward design is the only solution.

I found you a new car!

https://www.autocar.co.uk/sites/autocar.co.uk/files/styles/gallery_slide/public/vauxhall-zafira-tourer.jpg?itok=QtDFcDWY

TheBritsAreComing 27 February 2019

Your Perfect Car

abkq wrote:

the long bonnet-short cabin approach makes no sense in a compact saloon where you want to release as much cabin space as possible on a small footprint. A cab-forward design is the only solution.

I found you a new car!

https://www.autocar.co.uk/sites/autocar.co.uk/files/styles/gallery_slide/public/vauxhall-zafira-tourer.jpg?itok=QtDFcDWY