In the two previous issues, we introduced our Jaguar XFR project and successfully tested it against the BMW M5. During its construction we worked closely with GSR Autosport on engine and chassis tuning, while styling experts Vorsteiner endowed it with its menacing aerodynamic body kit.
And while you've seen the stunning finished product in our studio shoot (EC 10/13), as well as in the California canyons (EC 12/13), this month we're going to look in more depth at the body kit design process.
We sat down with Vorsteiner's Business Development Manager, Andreas Hartmann, to gain some insight on the XFR's three-piece aero kit and its design.
The Jaguar XFR was apparently a rare case. "This car was actually pretty easy for us," Andreas admitted. "There was nothing unusually difficult about creating the kit because the shape of the front and rear bumpers almost dictated the design of the parts we were crafting. All we needed to do was add our own design language."
Vorsteiner's signature is to "create something that's beautiful yet simple, something that accentuates and enhances the existing lines, but nothing that will either remove or add so much that the car's character is drastically changed," he explained. "We prefer to be on the subtle side, although there are a few exceptions to this, but our add-on kits will always be this way. Whereas our BMW M3 widebody would obviously be a different case, for example."
From the factory, the stock Jaguar XFR is imposing in your rearview mirror. It's one of those cars you'd probably switch lanes for. It evokes an emotional response and yet Vorsteiner was able to find a way to subtly enhance this.
To begin, company president Peter Nam got together with his lead designer and stylist to formulate a build plan. Sketches and renderings were drafted and a final design was chosen. Andreas adds his two cents from a marketing position before the fabrication begins.
An add-on kit of this nature would often be generated digitally. In this process, the team uses a 3D scanner to create a three-dimensional image of the car, enabling the new aero parts to be designed on-screen. A 3D printer then creates the pieces that will be used for the molds, with only slight changes made for production.
Our Jaguar XFR+ project would be different, however. With extended access to the car, they chose to employ traditional clay modeling. It starts with a raw block of very expensive clay, and the modeler slowly shapes it, adding or removing material over the course of two or three weeks until they're happy with the outcome.
Diffuser taking shape in the stock bumper, balancing the trunk spoiler
This is how the top carmakers design products because it allows you to fine-tune the design and visually assess how it works on the car in different light and from various angles. It requires enormous skill and training to reach this proficiency and Vorsteiner contracts some of the best in the business to achieve these results.
The front spoiler was designed to extend naturally off the bumper, adding the right amount of drama to the front-end, bringing the body lower to the ground, but not so low it would be damaged in daily driving. It's not a regular lip, but was contoured in the center to allow a lower splitter to be added, giving it a motorsport look and adding more detail. It will be manufactured in two parts but the design ensures it can be fixed securely to the car.
At the rear, the factory diffuser was removed from the bumper and a more aggressive part designed. It nicely echoes the sportiness of the front-end and highlights the burbling exhaust tips. Again, Vorsteiner didn't go over the top but added visual weight to the lower portion that would be balanced from above...
As you can see in our photos, the original rendering called for a trunk spoiler that was a larger version of the stock part. But once it reached its final clay form, the team decided it was too similar to stock and rather unremarkable.
This is where the clay modeling really paid off because a 3D model might not have shown the error of their ways. So the team decided to give the trunk spoiler more shape, echoing the front spoiler by making it higher on the sides than in the center.
The new lines of the spoiler actually follow the angles of the diffuser and the tail lights, with everything converging and working perfectly with the original Jaguar design, tying it all together.
Following the final clay modeling stage, it takes approximately four weeks for molds to be created. These allow the carbon fiber parts to be made in sufficient quantities for sale, and to the quality that Vorsteiner customers demand.
You'll be able to purchase the parts from vorsteiner.com or their authorized dealers. These parts are the JSR-V front spoiler, trunk spoiler and rear diffuser. The trunk spoiler will fit all XF models and we suspect the other parts will also, but you will have to confirm that.
For the finishing touch, Vorsteiner added its own 21" VS-190 wheels in a gloss grey powdercoat. The large diameter and open design definitely contributed to the Jaguar's overall demeanor and allowed the feline's red calipers to be exposed. The grey color also played well against the black tones in the carbon fiber and the grey vinyl we used to wrap the acres of chrome trim. This was installed by Daley Visuals and we'll look at it in detail in a later issue.
With all parts to be released very soon, Vorsteiner will use them as a test case for market interest in Jaguar tuning parts. "The XFR is around in good numbers and not a niche vehicle," Andreas explained, "We're confident it will be pretty successful for us and hopefully lead to other Jaguar models being considered for the Vorsteiner treatment.