Crouched on muscular haunches at the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, California, Jaguar's XJ75 Platinum Concept helped the British marque celebrate "75 Years of Looking Forward." Jaguar plans to celebrate its 75th birthday all year long and this XJ – the most visually striking version to date – is just one ingredient.
Built on a long-wheelbase 2011 XJL Supercharged, Jaguar ratchets up the difference between light and dark elements of the well-received XJ (a fresh design for 2010). The Platinum plays matte white paint against black chrome trim and bespoke black 22-inch wheels finish the sporting look. Rounding out the exterior changes are a lowered stance, plus front, rear and side sill extensions.
The interior's dark leather goes nicely with the pearlescent white vents and veneers and the diamond-stitched suede inserts on the seats and in the headliner.
There is speculation that this concept hints at the direction for an XJR model (the "R" suffix denoting Jaguar's most powerful, most agile models). The U.K.'s Autocar magazine claims that while Jaguar doesn't admit to plans for an XJR, "such a model is almost certain to appear in the XJ's lifetime given the badge's history."
XJR history includes some vehicles with upgraded trim, wheels and suspensions, plus others that also packed more powerful engines. Jaguar currently offers the 385-horsepower XJ and XJL, the 470-hp XJ and XJL Supercharged, and the 510-hp special-order XJ and XJL Supersports. Whether Jaguar will go beyond this or keep XJR tweaks to suspension and styling remains to be seen.
Jaguar also used the Pebble Beach venue as a springboard for the North American introduction of its limited-edition 2011 Jaguar XKR175 Coupe. Just 160 will be produced for the States, with another 15 headed for Canada. This model sports a host of aerodynamic and cosmetic revisions compared with the usual XKR. Red brake calipers peek out from new 20-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels, while Jaguar's 510-hp, direct-injected and supercharged V8 turns the rear wheels to a 174-mph top speed. MSRP is $104,500 including destination.
Jaguar has seen plenty of mixed fortunes over its 75 years, from breathtaking designs to build quality issues, ill-conceived entry-level cars and masters who didn't quite know how to position the marque in the modern auto world. Now in the hands of India's Tata Motors, Jaguar once again has the wherewithal to make fast, beautiful cars.