Jaguar has finally lifted the embargo on the new C-XF concept, the four-door sedan that paves the way for the S-type replacement due in 2008. The new concept is almost a clean-sheet design for Jaguar, a company criticized for making cars that are styled too conservatively. Headed by Jaguar Director of Design Ian Callum and Head of Advanced Design Julian Thomson, the concept was designed by the same team that produced the 2007 Jaguar XK.

“The Jaguar C-XF concept is the most dynamic and modern four-door car that Jaguar has ever created, a design showcase heralding the next generations of our sports saloon models,” says Ian Callum. “It signals a future for Jaguar that is as exciting as the C-XF itself.”

Under the hood, the C-XF gets a 4.2L supercharged V8 engine developing 420hp and 500Nm.

The concept sedan features single, slim-wedged headlamps which have evolved from the twin-lamp motif seen on past Jaguars. The lights are thin and angular, producing an aggressive look for the car’s front profile. Then there’s the muscular bonnet, side power vents, tapered tail and deeply recessed front grille, all designed to give the C-XF a sporty look.

Inside, there’s JaguarSense, a prototype technology which employs motion detecting sensors to activate certain vehicle features, reacts to the sweep of a hand. Audiophiles will also be salivating at the sight of Bowers and Wilkins speakers in the concept car. This could be an early sign that the production XF will get B&W speakers as an option. The C-XF is fitted with an entertainment system developed by Alpine that allows the front passenger and driver to view two different screens on the same display. We've previously covered this display here.

Now that Jaguar has got our attention, we hope they don't water this concept down too much as it enters production. It needs to retain most of the styling cues to avoid looking strange. Reports have stated that the production car will be similar in length and width, but will be taller. The wheels will also be smaller, but the distinctive front grille and lights will remain largely untouched. Ditto for the rear styling. That should result in a car that looks markedly better than the overly-conservative E-class and poorly styled 5-series.

Click ahead for a full gallery.