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.
Features and Design
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.
The Jaguar R-D6 Concept 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.
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.
Whether it is the grille that draws your eye, or the vents integrated into the bonnet and flanks of the car, or the aluminium finisher swooping over the entire side glass area, there is some instant attraction for everyone in the design of R-D6. The headlights reveal a fresh interpretation of the twin-lamp style featured by Jaguars so successfully - and naturally - for many years. Both front and rear lights use LED technology to deliver the best possible function while maintaining beautiful form.
For many, though, it will be the details that make R-D6 so irresistibly attractive. Details such as the flush-mounted door handles, which pivot on the front edge to activate an electrical actuator that opens the door; the centrally mounted twin-pipe exhausts; the aluminium boot finisher engraved with the Jaguar script; or even the Leaper on the back of the car.
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.
For R-D6, the 24-valve engine is tuned beyond road-going levels, but central to its design is the need to deliver all the power, refinement and spirited performance that Jaguar drivers demand. The V6 diesel engine that today brings a concept car fully to life will, in less than a year, be putting a smile on the face of Jaguar customers.
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.
But the ‘hidden’ feature you will touch every time you get in the car is secreted in the top of the gearshift, below a swivelling top piece. Much like the safety-catch on a gun - or the top of a fighter aircraft joystick - this covers a silver button with a very important duty. Press it and the V6 engine - and the R-D6 - springs into life. Just the kind of dramatic touch you’d expect of a Jaguar.