Flashback Friday | Jaguar XJ X358

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Flashback Friday | Jaguar XJ X358

Commercials are an integral part of the brand experience. In Flashback Friday we take a look at video material made by car manufacturers.

We kick off with the so called Gorgeous campaign, made by Jaguar. The series of short films and videos are all modern, upbeat and braking away from the classical and retrospective image Jaguar found itself in, in the early 2000’s. The issue with that image: your grandpa would drive an XJ. You, as a modern bloke, would not. The Jaguar XJ featuring in this example of the Gorgeous collection is the X358 series, the facelifted X350, which was one of Jaguars first cars bearing the heavy task to break away from that image.

The X350 series was the very last of many interpretations based on the classical 3-box XJ shape, refering to the initial ’68 XJ by William Lyons.  The car was facelifted for the 2008 model year. This last iteration featured a new, more modern front grille which would always be boasting a mesh grill, before solely found on the supercharged XJR. Stronger pronounced and less fussy bumper assemblies on both front and back improved the stance, making the XJ visually heavier on the lower half of its initially slightly top-heavy body and making it look less curvy and retro, more modern and fresh. On the rear we find a subtly different chrome strip over the full with of the boot. The later not in particular the most successful change, it feels rather flat and even weak, depending on perspective.

The front wings on all XJ models were remodeled to feature side vents and crisp, confident and big alloy wheels made this last iteration of the classical XJ shape a more fresh interpretation. The style linked to the great work done on the 2003 concept car R-D6 and the lovely 2001 R-Coupe.

The car was also available with aluminum instead of wood panels on the interior, which remained largely unchanged apart from that new option.

It could be argued the XJ lost its Jaguarness by completely braking away from the four headlight nose, the classical 3-box body and the typical triangular taillights with the 2009 model. Sales of that model have proven that clientele was in need of a fresh interpretation of the Jaguar DNA though. And despite the fact the quality of that 2009 interpretation can and should be discussed, it is definitely a better design strategy to look forward for a brand that was once known for their forward thinking, than copying the past.

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