Frankfurt Auto ShowFRANKFURT – In addition to an aluminum body and numerous performance features, the new Jaguar XK boasts what it says is the world’s first hood that pops up to minimize injuries during a pedestrian impact.

Called a pyrotechnic pedestrian deployable bonnet (hood) system, it uses a device similar to a small airbag to lift the hood several inches to create space under the hood in order to cushion impact and help isolate a pedestrian’s head and body from hard points in the engine compartment.

The hood pops up in 30 milliseconds, about one-tenth the time it takes to blink an eye.

The technology enables Jaguar to meet phase one of new European safety legislation that is designed to protect pedestrians in case of an accident.

However, this specific pop-up feature also enabled designers to maintain a very low, sleek profile for the car, saving 2-2.5 ins. (5.0-6.5 cm) in the height of the hood surface and a similar amount in the roofline. (See related story: Jaguar Unveils New XK)

The active hood works in conjunction with a passive bumper system that uses crushable foam covered with plastic to mitigate pedestrian leg injuries.

An advanced electronic sensor mounted in the front bumper discriminates between pedestrians and soft inanimate objects that might come in contact with the bumper, such as traffic cones.