Jaguar keeps sprinting to the forefront of automotives
Since 1922, JAGUAR has had one element at the top of mind thru their decades of revolutionary models: HIGH PERFORMANCE.
Despite pioneering through cutting-edge technology advancements, Jaguar keeps the root of driving at the forefront of their vision. While autonomous driving features get more and more advanced in the industry, the brand seeks to innovate with the goal of making the driving process more efficient, more engaged, and higher performing ― rather than creating a ‘lounge on wheels’, they seek to create the ultimate vehicle that users will want to immediately take to the road.
Tech isn’t the only thing that Jaguar excels at. Their models represent the ultimate intersection of science and luxury, featuring the most up-to-date driving features packaged in premium materials ― like the smooth leather they exclusively source from one of the most environmentally-efficient leather manufacturers in the world.
Every new model from Jaguar shows the unparalleled talent of their diversely skilled design team. We interviewed two of the people with two of the masters who continue to push the brand forward. Swipe down to chat with Jaguar’s Interior Design Director Alister Whelan and Materials Chief Designer Siobhan Hughes on how the brand got where they are and where they’ll continue to go.
Jaguar is about provoking experiences & emotions. In what way does state-of-the-art tech + luxurious choice of materials help the brand perpetuate this philosophy?
Siobhan Hughes: Jaguar will continue to create beauty by redefining performance and luxury through technical material innovations and developments in our design and manufacturing processes. The automotive landscape is changing and with that, customer tastes. This is an incredibly exciting time for designers to explore and challenge existing methods of design and manufacturing techniques to create a new luxury aesthetic – one that will continue to enhance the look, touch and feel of our vehicles.
I-PACE, Jaguar’s first electric vehicle, introduced Kvadrat – a wool blend woven textile – as an option, as well as beautiful leather choices. Offering a range of beautiful, premium materials such as these will ensure that Jaguar continues to deliver designs that our customers love.
And, when it comes to new technologies, how does Jaguar leverage it to infuse speed & timeless design into its iconic sports cars?
Alister Whelan: Jaguar uses technology in a design enabling way. It must be relevant to our brand values, enhance the user’s vehicle experience and have a clear purpose – not just technology for technology’s sake.
Jaguar has always been about luxury, performance and innovation. With Jaguar sports cars it’s not just about the powertrain itself – it’s about the efficiency of the process, speed and intuition of control, lightweight agility, and the performance of the vehicle. When designing a sports car you want it to look as low and as wide as possible. With the original F-TYPE, we wanted it to have a much slimmer headlight but back then the technology just wasn’t available. When the time came to redesign the F-TYPE, technology had moved on, so the new super-slim pixel LED headlights enabled us to achieve our vision and – combined with the stronger, wider grille – so the new model has a much more assertive appearance.
Future technologies, autonomous driving features for example, would still have to be implemented in a way that reflects the Jaguar DNA – we wouldn’t just want a lounge on wheels. The autonomous software and hardware technologies can also be used to amplify the driving experience. For example, on a winding Italian road, it could enable you to take your F-TYPE on the perfect line through the corner and tell you when to safely brake so driving actually becomes more engaging.
Tell us a little bit more about the rich vision behind the Vision GT Coupé project, presented for Gran Turismo.
AW: The all-electric Jaguar Vision Gran Turismo Coupé was designed and developed from the ground up, taking inspiration from our incredible racing lineage. The iconic C-type and D-type influenced its fearless futuristic design, while Jaguar’s I-TYPE 4 Formula E and I-PACE eTROPHY electric racing cars provided the technical foundations for its uncompromising racing performance.
The project was completely led by our young designers and we gave them total creative freedom. Traditionally, in the automotive world, design studios have relied on physical concept cars to showcase their new design languages and experiment – they represent ultimate design freedom. The Jaguar Vision Gran Turismo Coupé went one step further because it was a digital concept car, which allowed us to dream even more.
Being all in a virtual, digital space you can push those engineering and physical boundaries even further. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a vehicle steeped in our incredible heritage, but that pushes the boundaries of futuristic design ― I think the result reflects that. The team was delighted by the response the car received from gamers around the world and it’s something we’re all incredibly proud of.
This kind of design is a great representation of Jaguar’s heritage, as well as the C-type & D-type racers that were recently reinvented.
What did it mean for the brand to return its attention to motorsport in time for Formula-E's third season?
AW: In the next few years we will see a huge amount of change within the automotive industry and it’s important that Jaguar is at the forefront of that change. Formula E plays a key role in our development of the next-generation electric vehicle technology, which started with the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE.
We were really proud to return to racing with Formula E. As a design team, we are more cognizant than most of where our rich heritage has come from, and that lineage is very much born from sports cars and racing. The fact that Jaguar is once again racing – this time in Formula E – really fits with our design mantra. That ultimate expression is now wrapped up in an electric, sustainable package and that is hugely exciting and engaging.
Speaking of Formula-E, in what ways do electric models like the I-PACE make a statement about Jaguar’s path towards a greener practice?
AW: From the very early stages the I-PACE was conceptualized in design. It was a fantastic opportunity to design a vehicle from the ground up – literally from a clean sheet of paper. We are hugely proud of its success, particularly the three World car of the Year trophies it received in 2019 – including World Car Design of the Year.
Creating the I-PACE was like bringing a futuristic concept car to reality. Designing an electric vehicle from scratch, with the amazing package and beautiful high-tech interior, then seeing that manifest itself first with the I-PACE Concept ― which was revealed at the LA Motor Show in 2016, and then the production vehicle on the road just a couple of years later in 2018. It is Jaguar’s blueprint for the future.
Sustainability will continue to play a key role, both in all-new manufacturing techniques and materials but also in making the most of our traditional materials in a modern and considerate way.
Our leather is sourced from Bridge of Weir, which is one of the most modern and environmentally-efficient leather manufacturers in the world. We also want to be able to give our customers more choice, and it was on the I-PACE where we first introduced the Kvadrat wool blend woven textile.
On the topic of sustainability, what are the connections between Jaguar’s environmentally-safe practices & use of luxurious materials, like Windsor leather?
SH: Jaguar is continuously working to innovate new, exciting, relevant, and sustainable design solutions to our vehicles. Leather is a part of our innovation strategy and we are working on some very exciting future developments.
The processes we use to responsibly source leathers and build trust through provenance means that leather has a very promising future at Jaguar. Windsor leather is a beautiful, natural material that enhances the feeling of being in a very special car.
And what efforts is Jaguar making to also direct its philosophy toward the building of a healthier, safer & more sustainable future for society?
SH: Our Destination Zero mission aims for a world of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion. Our ambition is to make our societies safer and healthier, and our environments cleaner through relentless innovation to adapt our products and services to the rapidly-changing world around us.
The new Jaguar I-PACE is a great example of this: with a focus on air quality, occupant well-being is prioritized, so the cabin air ionisation system now features PM2.5 filtration to capture ultrafine airborne particles and allergens. When charging, customers can also use the vehicle’s pre-conditioning system to also purge the cabin of allergens and ultrafine particles before their journey begins.
THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT AND COMIN' QUICK LIKE A JAGUAR.
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