Tag Archive | "Jaguar F-Type"

Shanghai Surprises

Back on the 12th April we mentioned that Ford were planning a surprise concept that would be revealed at the Shanghai show. Well, as good as their word they have revealed – an Escort! Bet you didn’t see that one coming; and you won’t either because it is not for the likes of us but rather for the burgeoning Chinese market. This is presumably because the Chinese have no understanding of the connotations behind the word ‘escort’. There it is in the image and very nice it looks too. Nothing remains to remind us of that late, unlamented car.

Other releases include the Maserati Ghibli, the Panamera Hybrid, the VW CrossBlue concept and a couple of others that we have already covered, including the bizarrely code-named Nissan Friend-ME. Other cars revealed include a couple of slightly odd – and some believe rather pointless – German cars.

First up is the BMW X4 concept. They call it a concept but it is believed to be pretty much what the production version will look like. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but to some observers it’s not really a looker – more Zellweger than Klum, if you see what we mean. More interestingly, some commentators are wondering, what is it for? Certainly the BMW X range of SUV’s has been a huge success but there is already four of them. Why this? Despite reservations it is sure to be a success – it is a BMW after all and that means great driving characteristics and all the attributes of the brand. No doubt it will find its niche.

Basically, the same thing goes for the Mercedes GLA concept. Essentially, it is a hiked-up crossover version of the A-Class. It is expected in the showrooms in 2015. The concept is loaded with some of that pointless showing off by the technology department at Mercedes – including laser beam projectors in the headlights – but who knows what will be acceptable in a couple of years time? Expect some engine advances though. This car should go up against the Audi Q3 and will cost around £40k in today’s money.

No show would be complete without another electric car. This time it is the limited edition SP-01 from Detroit Electric. It’s a sports car reputed to be the fastest yet and it is certainly eye-catching; but what’s the point? Sorry to be a killjoy but wouldn’t it be a good idea to spend the research money on a car that will actually work and sell in the real world? Plenty of drivers would like an EV that had good range provided it was within their budget which this patently is not. Nevertheless you can buy an SP-01 now.

With first deliveries of the spectacular F-Type currently in hand, It’s good to see Jaguar Land Rover flying the flag at Shanghai. China is a growing market for the JLR brand and they had their most successful month in March, selling nearly 8500 units. There is also hope for the MG name. They’ve previewed the MG3 supermini prior to it’s European release later this year. It would be great if this venerable name can truly be resurrected in the UK.

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The Fall And Rise Of The Super Car

Over the past couple of years motoring writers have been hinting at the demise of the hypercar and indeed high powered sports cars generally. They have been saying that we must all look forward to a brave new world of economy, twin-air engines and the noiseless advance of alternative technologies. Endless streams of bureaucracy seem to support this.

Well, it turns out that car makers haven’t been listening and it appears that rumours of the death of the supercar have been greatly exaggerated. Following the Geneva Motor Show it is clear that many manufacturers see an on-going market for these great and powerful machines for those who can afford it.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black is a case in point. It has gull-wing doors, gulps fuel and causes cracks in the time-space continuum under acceleration and is, on the face of it, completely daft. So why do M-B insist on making it and why do we really, really want one – even if it means paying a quarter of a million pounds?

Porsche’s eminently useable 911 is fine but the company believes that what drivers truly want is a racing car for the road, which is why the 911 GT3 continues to be available in all its awesome awesomeness. In the same vein, Jaguar have been content – until now – to rest its sports car history on the E-Type from years ago so why, in these times of financial woe, would they even consider building and selling the new F-Type V8 S (pictured)? For around a reasonable £80k enthusiasts can buy this future classic which in its way is as good looking as the ancestor.

The Italians of course do not concern themselves with trivialities like global warming and the like; they much prefer to ogle the girls on the Via Veneto and drive cars from Lamborghini. There’s the new Veneno – a snip at £3.1 million – or for those less flush with Euros, the Aventador. It is also why Ferrari’s idea of a family hatchback is the FF and for a million quid will sell you LaFerrari, the replacement for the legendary Enzo.

The list goes on. Rolls Royce have raised the bar with the truly magnificent Wraith and Bentley are producing the GT Speed. If you don’t like two doors then the Bentley Flying Spur is the answer which has the same W12 engine and offers similar performance.

All this hot metal suggests that the furore surrounding climate issues and the need for eco-cars is settling down as manufacturers choose to give their customers cars that they want as well as cars that they should have. Great strides have been made in engine technology, so much so that the above mentioned SLS only produces 321g/km of the nasty stuff. Obviously that’s quite a lot but is way superior to what it would have been just a few short years ago.

If you still believe in alternative power sources but want an SLS they can do you a fully electric version for only one hundred thousand pounds more. It has a battery the size of a house coupled to four electric motors but thanks to something called the ‘SLS eSound’, makes noises like a proper car. The trouble is, most of us like meat with our potatoes. Which is why the true supercar will live on for a while yet.

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Jaguar F-Type almost here for its spring 2013 launch

Jaguar have a released a new model of car that is set to excite fans of the brand and motoring world alike. The hard top coupe announced by Jaguar in 2011 is due for release in 2013 and early on has already draw comparisons similar to the legendary E-Type Jaguar. Enthusiasts will notice a similar look and feel to the F-Type of its predecessor that has only lead to anticipation growing. But will it live up to the already daunting expectation?

The Jaguar F-Type is entering a market dominated by the Porsche Boxster, but with looks that can only be described to turn heads a competition may be on hand. Fanatics may be dissatisfied a hard-top coupe version won’t be available until possibly another year. The modern body and eagle eyed head lights give the Jaguar a lean and aggressive look that will suit its sporting performances.

The performance is meant to rival the Porsche Boxster with two engine sizes available. The options of a 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol unit and a 5.0-litre V8 both are stating an impressive 0-60mph in less than 5 seconds. Jaguar claimed to have focused on the weight distribution which increases the acceleration as a result of. The lighter body also leads to the F-Type performing well on the economic front, the V6 model boasting a return of 30mpg plus, with the V6 Porsche Boxster proclaiming only 20-29 mpg.

Jaguar allows customers to add extras to the convertible with the possibility of the price escalating to £92,000. When this is due for launch both a standard and ‘S’ specification will be available. Jaguar’s standard multimedia system is included along with sporting leather seats and a luxury interior that is the very least expected with the franchise.

A quote from Jaguars Vehicle Line Director, Ian Hoban stated: “The engineering development of the F-Type has focused on delivering a heightened level of dynamic driving reward. We are excited about our progress to date and are looking forward to soon being able to demonstrate what we have achieved.” A statement that will be backed up by the Jaguar F-Type when it is released in spring 2013 at selected dealerships.

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Manual Man

Many cars are described as having an automatic or semi-automatic gearbox. Most will have an option to manually change gear using flappy paddles behind the steering wheel – the invention, incidentally, of a mysterious and secretive German engineer known only by his initials, DSG. It is the era of the techno car and everybody seems very happy about it.

But wait. In the UK at least – leaving aside the emotive issues of emissions and fuel economy for once – why do we need seven and eight speed gearboxes when the speed limit is just 70mph? Purists will wonder what was so wrong with four speeds and an overdrive switch which reduced engine revs when cruising in the highest gear.

The truth is that you’ve all gone soft and wimpy, frankly. Have you forgotten what driving is all about? Have you forgotten the feel of a well sprung clutch beneath your left foot (the only correct appendage for the job); the joy of seamlessly shifting a lever? Don’t you miss the cry of “sort ‘em out!” when you miss your gear selection or the terminal sound of stripping synchromesh? How quickly you forget.

Well, Jaguar haven’t forgotten that particular sporting need because in about a year or so they plan to offer fully manual gearboxes as an option on some of their cars. They understand that sports cars need a manual ‘box for that pure experience. It is likely to be offered first on the forthcoming F Type and subsequently on the prestige XF. The company has seen that as well as added driving fun there are also cost benefits too.

It’s obviously not for everybody though because the company are also considering a new nine-speed (!) ZF auto gearbox, not just in Jaguars but also some Land Rover models.

There is as yet no confirmation that they plan to offer some new accessories to those discerning drivers who choose the manual option. These may or may not include some delightfully retro string-back driving gloves, Hermes scarves for lady passengers, a nostalgic but branded wicker picnic hamper and possibly an amusing stick-on handlebar moustache.

Jaguar aren’t wrong though. There is something hugely enjoyable about driving a manual sports car that can’t be replicated through paddles. A feeling of being completely in control. It’s a welcome addition.

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Paris Motor Show

Ahh, Paris. City of dreams; and never more so when the prestigious motor show comes to town and reveals our Autumn automotive surprises.

There has been talk for some time of a long-awaited replacement for the iconic E-Type Jaguar. Well, finally, it’s here. That’s it in the picture and boy, does it look good. To be honest there’s not much there to remind us of the legendary predecessor but it most certainly is a Jaguar. If the performance matches the looks then we’re in for a treat. The company are competing well on price too as this will cost from under £60k up to just shy of the £80k mark. For this market and against the known competition this appears to be good value.

The Paris Motor Show isn’t just a chance for car makers to unveil their super cars; it is also a market place for the more run-of-the-mill cars that most of us buy and there’s plenty of exciting new developments in this sector too.

Hyundai have really pushed the boat out with not one but three launches. There’s a three-door i30, a rally ready i20 – which heralds the brand’s return to the World Rally Championship in 2013 – and also a really exciting eco-car which successfully counters the range anxiety problem with EVs. It’s called the ix35 Fuel Cell. Powered by a lithium-polymer battery and a 100kW hydrogen fuel stack, this car should be good for 365 miles according to the company blurb. It is due to commence production late this year and initially will be available to fleet operators.

As ever, Ford are pitching some great new cars including a new version of the well received Kuga, a hybrid Mondeo and the B-Max. FIAT, SEAT and those new dynamos of automotive industry Dacia are all previewing new vehicles. Dacia, in particular, are showing the Sandero – so beloved by James May – the Logan (a family sized car) and the slightly odd Sandero Stepway which is described as a ‘charismatic adventurer’. Rugged.

There is much to appeal to all budgets at this years show. Manufacturers are pulling out all the stops to revive the ailing car industry by building cars that are featuring all the latest technology and safety devices as well as stunningly good design.

For those that like to dream though; as well as the Jag, there is also the Maserati Grancabrio MC, a car so beautiful it will make you fall in love with anyone standing near it, and another version of the Porsche Panamera – a car we are growing to like despite it’s unusual looks.

So, something for everyone then. If you can afford to buy a new car this year then you are definitely spoilt for choice.

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New Roadster from Jaguar

We’ve had the C-Type, the D-Type and we’ve had the E-Type so, for a change, Jaguar are really pushing the envelope with their new sports car – introducing the F-Type! I bet you didn’t see that coming. Fortunately, the car appears to be more inspiring than the name. That’s it, on the right, in camouflaged form. If you remember the C-X16, last year’s concept hybrid coupé , the new model, according to Jaguar’s design director Ian Callum “…is 95 per cent of the C-X16: you won’t be disappointed”. So that’s all good, then.

The car will appear next year, unusually, as a roadster first with the coupé to follow. Callum goes on: “There’s a nod to the E-Type’s heritage in the way the car looks. The reference to the E-Type is strong and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a pathway to understanding the car. But the F-Type will be as significant as the E-Type in the future because of it’s capability and performance”. The car is considered to be Jag’s first true sports car since it’s venerable predecessor with the XK presumably being considered a GT.

This rear wheel drive flyer will be all aluminium, utilising a cut down version of the XK’s chassis. This will make it lightweight and to further keep off the kilos it will have a fabric roof. The company haven’t yet revealed the engine range but it seems likely to get the new 3.0-litre V6, essentially Jaguar’s V8 motor with a couple of cylinders loped off. The standard vehicle is rumoured to offer 250bhp with the later, harder, ‘R’ version producing around 375 brake horses. In both cases the drive will come through a six-speed auto ‘box. A starting price of around £55,000 makes it very competitive in this market.

Jaguar anticipate that the F-Type will be bought in the main by drivers who otherwise would have considered a Porsche 911, a Mercedes SL or a Lotus Evora. Quite a lot for the new car to live up to. The company do not expect the car will be a volume seller but will be enormously important in the way it is perceived. In short, Jag without a proper sports car would be like Porsche without the 911.

The company aren’t resting on their laurels either. Over the next four years or so several new models will enter production, all being well. An XFR-S to compete with BMW’s M5 is on the cards for later this year and an even madder version of the XKR-S – the Extreme – is slated for next year. There’ll be a couple of new versions from the saloon range including a new X-Type to challenge the 3 Series from BMW, an SUV in 2016 allegedly and to cap it all off, hopefully in 2014 the C-X75 hybrid will appear, possibly with the turbines that were first shown at the Paris Show in 2010!

In difficult economic times the Jaguar / Land Rover brand is a true success story.

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