JAGUAR AND THE FUTURE OF FAST CARS
Design boss Ian Callum and Martin Brundle talk racing, Jaguar and how fast cars can still be relevant
Callum and Brundle were speaking at the Dunhill shop just off Berkeley Square in Mayfair, the swanky surroundings very much in keeping with Jag's traditionalist image. But the talk was of how Jaguar can stay relevant in the age of hybrids, downsizing and economic downturns.
Both Callum and Brundle apparently owe their careers to precocious bits of letter writing as youngsters, Callum approaching Bill Heynes and a teenage Brundle penning a "I want to be a racing driver" note to Tom Walkinshaw. Brundle was more immediately successful, Heynes responding to Callum's assertion that he wanted to design Jaguars with "well, that's Sir William Lyons' job!" As Callum says, "it took four decades but I finally made it!"
With the turbine-hybrid C-X75 and gorgeous C-X16 coupe it's clear Callum is on a bit of a roll at the moment. But the dilemma of how to make fast cars viable - justifiable even - in the current climate is one he's clearly aware of. Making the point that his XKR-S has more power than his first F1 car, Brundle asked Callum how to "keep speed relevant and credible before they legislate and smash it to bits?"
The C-X16, already spotted out testing at the 'Ring, is exactly the car to carry that mantra forward. But is it, in Brundle's view (and that of many others), the new E-type? A roll of eyes from Callum as the response and a groaned "the E-type is a cloud over my head!" might have caused a few bristling moustaches among traditional Jag fans present but he's clearly affectionate about the car.
And what about engines? Callum clearly sees plenty of life in the petrol engine yet, pointing to the fact batteries add weight and cost to cars while 1.5-litre petrol engines with 300hp are within sight. If not quite as charismatic-sounding as the V8s we know and love in the spicier Jaguars like the XKR-S.
Until then enjoy those V8s while you can. And we shall be very soon. Watch this space...