Jaguar’s new C-XF concept car, making its debut at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is a precursor of the redesigned S-type, due to appear in production form at Frankfurt next September.

Jaguar announced last November that the S-type would be renamed ‘XF’ when redesigned.

The XF concept was designed by the same team that produced the XK coupe and convertible, headed by director of design Ian Callum and head of advanced design Julian Thomson.

“The C-XF concept is the most dynamic and modern four-door car that Jaguar has ever created, a design showcase heralding the next generations of our sports saloon models,” said Callum.

The concept sedan features single, slim-wedged headlamps that are thin and angular, producing an aggressive look for the car’s front profile. The stylists have also added side power vents, tapered tail and a deeply recessed front grille. Power comes from a 4.2-litre supercharged V8.

Inside are lightweight, sculpted bucket-style front seats and twin individual rear bucket seats trimmed in semi-aniline leather (a specially dyed hide which ensures even colouration yet retains its softness).

Running in between the seats is a tall, central transmission tunnel intended to give the occupants a sense of sitting deep within a futuristic cockpit. A brushed aluminium fascia wraps around the cabin.

Therein is JaguarSense, a prototype technology which employs motion detecting sensors to activate certain vehicle features, which reacts to the sweep of a hand.

Once activated, the inner door handles – previously hidden – motor outwards ready to be used. A fifth sensor, located in the facia, responds to the proximity of a hand to reveal an ‘infotainment’ screen that lies flush within the aluminium front panel. The sequence continues with the centre section of the dashboard rotating 90 degrees to display an advanced dual view screen which is capable of projecting two different images to the driver and passenger simultaneously. For example, the driver can view satellite-navigation instructions while the passenger watches a DVD-based movie.

The dual view system works by utilising a parallax barrier to divide light into individual viewing cones for the passenger and driver, allowing each front-seat occupant to view their own personalised display. It was developed for Jaguar by Alpine, and uses a 262,144 colour amorphous silicon TFT screen.

Also contained within the rotating panel are air vents that, like the screen, are hidden from view until required.

The C-XF also has a jewel-like ‘power’ button that ‘pulses’ like a heartbeat on the centre console and once pushed, aluminium rings lower from the centre console to reveal the gear shift knob. As the engine starts, a blue light sweeps around the cabin, the entire roofline illuminates with a muted blue light and a final blue light shines from the front grille, signifying the car’s ignition.

Interior materials including a unique carbon fibre-pattern leather and luxurious semi-aniline leather. Areas of the doors and transmission tunnel have been carved from poplar wood and then scorched to obtain a rich satin feel.

Noted Alister Whelan, one of the designers responsible for the C-XF’s interior: “Jaguar is recognised for tailoring cars in wood and leather, but we have turned that on its head by treating these traditional materials in an unusual and contemporary fashion, obtaining beautiful textures and grains.”

“By using non-grain leather on the seats, it looks like they are moulded from neoprene. It was a deliberate choice not to put any stitching on them – in fact, there is no visible stitching on the interior at all, it just appears to be entirely wrapped in leather.”

If the driver puts the transmission into sporting ‘dynamic’ mode, the rev counter motors outwards (in the way a long lens on an SLR camera operates), for increased prominence.

The C-XF is the first car to use Beru F1 System’s unique Wire in Composite (WIC) technology which encloses all wiring in a bespoke carbon-fibre sleeve, protecting it from damage and also improving durability, packaging, weight and aesthetics.