Tag Archive | "Jaguar XKR"

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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Sports Car Shoot-out

Do Aston Martin make the most desirable, useable, sports cars in the world? The answer, inevitably, is – yes and no. Certainly, their design is unquestionably beautiful but that ’s not really the be all and end all.

AM have just updated the smallest car in the range – the V8 Vantage. Most drivers would probably settle for an old one; it’s only hardened motoring journalists who nitpick about issues that ordinary folk wouldn’t notice but first reviews show that the car has definitely benefited from the changes, notably to its handling. The old car seemed to have a mind of its own on a winding, twisting road but now, thanks to faster steering, better tyres and improved pedal feel, the new car actually lets the driver be in control. The Sportshift transmission has been changed from 6 to 7 speed or there’s still a manual for the purist. So far so good, but there’s still issues regarding the interior layout and the overall driving experience, which is where Porsche come in.

The 911 has been with us for years with only the occasional updating and is a familiar sight on our roads. Because of its ‘yuppie’ history from the 1980s from which it has had a hard time escaping, the 911 hasn’t really had the exclusivity of the Aston, although prices are roughly the same. The Carrera has now been updated and is, as always, the same but different.

It still looks like the old car but this time the curves are more pronounced. It is at last a good looking motor. First reports say that it drives better than any of its predecessors. This may be because the engine has moved from right at the very back and crept inboard a bit to ensure the handling is top notch. Purists have decried the new electric steering as being without feel but, in truth, you’d have to be a serious grouch to really notice any difference and, in any event, if you’ve never previously owned a 911 then it won’t matter anyway. There’s even some concession to green politics with ‘stop-start’ and lower emissions.

Then there’s a third option – the Jaguar XKR. Like the Vantage, this sports car has a V8 engine, great looks and awesome performance. It is very refined on the road but has a small boot and rather poor rear visibility – but these are minor issues for what is a great car with an historic name.

These three cars all offer something special. They are all in the same ball park on price (around 80k or so!), have similar performance and beautiful design so the choice is down to individual preference and a fat wallet. The important thing is that they all make a great noise – the bark of the V8s and the howl of the flat six in the Porsche – and if this isn’t music to your ears then you can’t be a true petrol head and therefore wouldn’t be allowed one anyway.

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