Jaguar has stripped off the heavy cladding that has disguised its new XJ for the final testing of the car ahead of its launch in July.
The new car borrows nothing from the styling of the current XJ, which has remained true to the original model launched in 1968. The clean sheet design introduces a completely new look for the flagship Jaguar, although it does use styling cues and detailing from the XF saloon.
At the front is a huge grille, bigger than the XF’s – Jaguar has attempted to make the car look like a BMW with a false divider – that’s deeply inset behind the frame. The headlights, almost entirely taped up on this car, are from the C-XF concept car; they’re much narrower and more striking than the production XF’s.
The ridge in the front doors is a fake, designed to distract attention from the location of the wing-mounted air vents, which are said to be a different shape from the XF’s vertical vents. The door mirrors are lifted from the XF.
With the cladding lifted, the XJ’s low roofline and shallowly raked rear screen are clearly visible for the first time. At the rear the car’s coupé-look styling is clearly visible, making it unique in a market dominated by three box saloons such as the S-class and Audi A8.
The full-length glass roof has been obscured, but the effect will be of a single piece of glass that runs from the base of the windscreen to the base of the rear window. The C-pillars will be blacked out to create the impression of a floating roof, but will have a curved trim strip behind the rear doors to provide a visual stop to the rear window.
The rear lights are also fully taped up, but they actually wrap over the top of the rear wings.
Although it owes nothing to the traditional look of the XJ, the new car does share a chassis and plenty of engineering with it. The all-aluminium frame remains – at a very basic level this is a very thorough reskin – although it will have been altered for new engines.
That means the XJ will be the lightest car in its class, which should also provide it with a performance and handling advantage.