How interesting to clock initial reactions to the shape of the new Jaguar XJR, which are now on our website.

I’m surprised to see that many of them are adverse — vehemently so — despite the fact that almost without exception the commentators haven’t seen the car in the flesh, or even viewed a wide selection of views of it yet.

See more pictures and read details of the new Jaguar XJ here - Jaguar XJ: full details and pics

The car is certainly different. Design boss Ian Callum has been promising us a rule-breaking XJ styling job for two years. But I believe there’s no case for criticising it just because it looks different.

One of the unbreakable rules about car styling is that you don’t truly know how you feel about it until a) you’ve seen it in the flesh and from all angles, and b) you’ve seen it in the traffic, against its peers.

Our art editor, Peter Charles, who knows about such things, refers to something he calls “Angel of the North” syndrome. When the idea of placing Anthony Gormley’s mighty sculpture beside the A1 was first mooted, many people were vehemently opposed to it and said so, very loudly. Now, says Peter, it’s a much-loved landmark and if anyone tried to take it down there’d be a riot.

When assessing the XJ, I reckon we should bear this in mind...

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