Introducing the new Jaguar R-D06 concept car
Jaguar introduced a new concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show which is a follow-up to the succesful R-Coupe prototype.
Every day we make decisions. We choose the rational - following our head - or the emotional - following our heart. The real trick, though, is to balance the two and so get the best of both worlds. This is something that Jaguar understands in a way that few other car companies do.
"With R-D6 we set out to create a concept car which would build on the R-Coupe and further develop Jaguar's new design direction. We also wanted to showcase the latest technology in lightweight vehicle structures and our potent new bi-turbo, common-rail V6 diesel." Mike Wright Managing Director, Jaguar Cars
Jaguar Director of Design, Ian Callum, and Chief Designer, Advanced Design, Julian Thomson, marshalled the efforts of a small team of groundbreaking designers who seized the opportunity to realise their ideas for the future of the Jaguar marque well before they appear in production form.
"R-D6 represents the pure, sensuous and sporting design that will feature in all new Jaguars, but more than this it is a vision of the future of premium motoring: beautiful, fast, agile, efficient and fun. The fact that it is the most compact four-seater Jaguar ever and defies categorisation makes it even more intriguing and desirable." Ian Callum Director of Design, Jaguar Cars
Observers will point to 'classic' Jaguar design cues - such as the grille - on R-D6, but it is important to realise that such features are there not because they commemorate Jaguar's past, but because they are intrinsically 'right' for a thoroughly modern Jaguar.
R-D6 also takes advantage of Jaguar's lightweight structure strategy, as pioneered in the new XJ saloon. Using aluminium and composite materials for the chassis and body, R-D6 weighs just 1500kg. This allows it to capitalise on the power - and, more importantly, the torque - delivered by its V6 engine.
And it's the engine that will surprise many people - although, when you think about it, a high-performance 2.7-litre diesel engine makes perfect sense. Confirming Jaguar as a potent new force in the world of large-capacity diesels, the bi-turbo V6 is a tuned version of the engine that will make its debut in the S-TYPE in 2004. With horsepower in excess of 230bhp and a massive 500Nm of torque, the V6 diesel engine endows R-D6 with the pace to satisfy its looks and R-Performance rating. Acceleration from standstill to the benchmark 60mph takes less than six seconds. Top speed is an electronically limited 155mph.
Distinctive, confident and original, R-D6 has a beautiful, pure style that triggers a simple desire: I want one.
Its distinctive blend of attributes inherent in the Jaguar psyche - emotional engineering, stimulating performance, intelligent technology and downright sexy design - makes R-D6 instantly recognisable as a true Jaguar. But the styling of the car - its lines and shapes, its sheer presence - heralds a design direction that makes no apologies to past, present or future.
At 4,330mm long, R-D6 is 342mm shorter than Jaguar's smallest car, the X-TYPE saloon - and 760mm shorter than an XK8 coupé. The compact length of R-D6 is aided by short overhangs front and rear (800mm and 695mm respectively) and is achieved with a wheelbase of 2,840mm.
To ensure R-D6 is a true four-seater, the design team refused to compromise on width or height (2,150mm and 1,390mm) but succeeded nonetheless in crafting a beautifully compact coupé that has all the road presence - and more - that you expect of a Jaguar.
The aluminium chassis of R-D6 is similar to that of the new XJ and is constructed using many of the same advanced technologies - with all the accompanying advantages, including outstanding strength, robustness and durability in a true lightweight architecture.
Castings such as the front suspension turrets have also benefited from techniques used in the new XJ, while the body is of aluminium and composite materials.
R-D6 rides on 21-inch wheels, machined from solid aluminium specifically for this car. They are shod with unique, ultra-low-profile Pirelli tyres: 255/30 R21 on the front and a massive 275/30 R21 on the rear. Look through the spokes of the beautiful wheels and you'll see Jaguar R-Performance discs and calipers.
The all-new diesel engine that powers R-D6 encapsulates the spirit of Jaguar today and at the same time reinforces the promise of its future. Due to make its debut in a production Jaguar - the S-TYPE - in mid-2004, the 2.7-litre V6 features twin turbochargers and the latest, high-pressure, common-rail direct injection, making it among the most advanced high-performance diesel engines in the world.
Innovations such as a Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI) cylinder block - which provides outstanding strength and durability as well as weighing less than a traditional cast iron unit - allied to state-of-the-art electronic engine control systems have given Jaguar the engine that the marque, and many thousands of potential customers, have been waiting for.
To appreciate fully the interior of R-D6 takes a while, partly because you spend as much time touching as you do looking. The materials in the cabin are a blend of classic with a contemporary twist and modern bordering on the futuristic. And as you would expect from Jaguar, there are a couple of refreshingly idiosyncratic touches...
Aluminium features extensively in both milled and formed guise. Two types of leather - lightly grained, carbon-black aniline and 8mm thick black saddle leather - are used throughout the interior. Satin-finish Black American Walnut veneer complements the Piano Black gloss veneer that was introduced on the new XJ.
A broad, solid aluminium 'switch beam', topped by an aniline leather-trimmed lower instrument panel, runs across the facia. It is broken in the centre by a cover for the navigation and 'infotainment' display screen, revealed when the cover swivels backwards into the instrument panel. The touch-sensitive screen, developed by Alpine Electronics, features unique 'Shutter LCD' technology that allows passengers to watch a moving image - for example, a DVD - while the driver sees only the essential driving functions: navigation, climate-control etc.
The facia hood - which stretches back to a veneered wood surround at the base of the windscreen - is of black saddle leather, which is again designed to give the appearance of being a 'floating' structure.
Surrounded by such contemporary opulence and yet aware of the fact that this is actually a compact sports coupé, it is no surprise for a driver to find a three-spoke, tri-material (aluminium, leather and Piano Black wood) steering wheel and drilled aluminium foot pedals. Both are a natural choice.
The rear cabin of R-D6 is equal in style and comfort to the front. Two individual seats are accessed via rear-hinged doors, and passengers are treated not only to comfortable, moulded seats, but also to a surprising amount of room.
When the rear seats are unoccupied, the entire assembly can slide forward to almost interlock with the front seats. This doubles boot capacity, but here's the really clever bit: the boot floor is a two-layer design, with the upper layer - and, of course, any luggage placed on it - moving forward with the seats to save you having to reorganise the boot.
And what of those idiosyncratic Jaguar touches?
Interior lighting is usually provided by clear glass courtesy lights, but R-D6 is altogether more passionate, with ambient floor lighting activated when the door opens to provide a welcoming, deep red glow.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....