Auto blogWed, 19 Nov 2014 10:00:00 EST
If you're like us, you fell in the deepest, darkest sort of love with Jaguar's F-Type the moment its voluptuous form first surfaced. The car's full-bodied engine specs only furthered our ardor, and the droptop Jag sealed the deal before we even turned a wheel - all it took was hearing its engine bark to life.
And yet, even after driving the original convertible and the subsequent coupe, we've never quite shaken the notion that Jaguar erred a bit too heavily on the Grand Touring side of the equation for a proper sports car. That's partially because even the base model comes with a boatload of weight-adding luxury features. But perhaps more importantly, it's because the F-Type has only been available with an automatic transmission. Admittedly, the gearbox in question is a damned good paddle-shifted eight-speed ZF unit, but it's always chafed a bit that Jaguar wasn't committed to offering purists a manual - even if such a model would never be a high-volume proposition.
Apparently we weren't the only ones bothered by three-pedal omission. According to Russ Varney, F-Type Vehicle Program Director,
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:00:00 EST
JustDrive will allegedly deliver on the long-promised idea of natural communication between driver and car.
Jaguar Land Rover's all-new InControl system is set to get a big bump as the British company will add a new service called JustDrive, which expands on the smartphone-focused infotainment system by adding a singular voice controller for a wide array of the system's currently available apps.
Green may have been a popular color choice for the classic Jaguar E-Type, but even in Lightweight form (pictured above), it was hardly what you'd call environmentally friendly. Not by today's standards, anyway, with six-, eight- and twelve-cylinder engines displacing between 3.8 and 5.3 liters. But Jaguar looks to be preparing to revive the nameplate - or at least one similar - with a new electric vehicle in the works.
According to the latest intel, Jaguar has applied both in the US and in Europe to trademark the name EV-Type. The implication that it's developing an electric vehicle is clear, as is the reference to its iconic sports car of yore. But more than that, we don't know. We could be looking at an electric version of the current F-Type, a project to convert original E-Types to electric power or a different model altogether.
It wouldn't be the first time, of course, that we'd see Jaguar toying with the idea of electric propulsion. A couple of years ago, the British automaker demonstrated a plug-in hybrid XJ_e prototype, and showcased both the C-X16 and C-X75 concepts with advanced hybrid powertrains. But it has yet to put any such system into production, relying instead on the small diesels it sells in Europe to keep its carbon footprint small.
One-make racing series have become all the rage for customers who want to actually race their exotic sports cars (or competition-spec versions of them, anyway). Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Aston Martin all offer such programs, and Porsche supports several. Now Jaguar is getting in on the action as well, but instead of turning one of its production models - we're looking at you, F-Type - into a spec racer, it's launching an historic racing series instead.
The 2015 Jaguar Heritage Challenge will be open to cars made by the Leaping Cat marque before 1966, including the C-Type, D-Type, E-Type and Mk I and MkII sedans. The series, which builds on the success of the previous Jaguar E-Type Challenge, will be administered by the Historic Sports Car Club (HSCC) based at Silverstone and will include four races in the UK and one in Europe, with the exact schedule still to be determined.
The program was announced at the launch of the Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience, where Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations director John Edwards was also named chairman of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, replacing former Jaguar managing director Mike O'Driscoll who chaired the organization for the past five years.
Jaguar's big splash at last year's Los Angeles Auto Show was showing off the slinky F-Type Coupe; perhaps one of the loveliest car shapes on the road today. This year the company won't have a show-stopping new design to offer, but the news that all-wheel drive is coming to the F-Type range is, nevertheless, pretty spectacular.
Mixed in with news about a technical partnership between Jaguar and the Bloodhound SSC World Land Speed Record program, the British brand announced this morning that it will show the first AWD F-Type Coupe at the 2014 LA show later this month.
Jaguar tells us that the sure-footed cat, in AWD F-Type R Coupe form, will run from 0-60 miles per hour in just 3.9 seconds, with a limited top speed of 186 mph.
The heads of Jaguar Land Rover are having a busy couple of weeks opening factories. Just days after inaugurating the company's first overseas plant in China, the automaker's new Engine Manufacturing Center in the UK is being inaugurated, as well. The plant near Wolverhampton, England, marks the first time in decades that JLR is building its own powerplants in-house. Further signaling the importance of this launch for the business, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were on hand and even tweeted about it.
The factory's first major project is to build JLR's latest Ingenium four-cylinders, starting with the 2.0-liter diesel version. "Our new Engine Manufacturing Centre is an important step in advancing the competitiveness and capability of the UK automotive sector. The production of in-house engines will support the expansion of the UK supply chain providing critical mass for inward investment," said Trevor Leeks, plant operations director in the automaker's announcement.
Opening the doors to the Engine Manufacturing Center has been years in the making for JLR. The plant was first announced in September 2011 and broke ground in June 2012. Building it cost the company 500 million pounds ($800 million) and created 1,400 new jobs. Of course, being a state-of-the-art factory, considerations were made to make the place as energy efficient as possible. That meant installing the UK's largest solar array with 21,000 panels to produce about 30 percent of the site's electricity needs.
Anyone who's a car fan knows that Jaguar and Land Rover cars and trucks all come from the UK. And while we don't doubt that will remain true for the most part, it won't be an absolute truth for long, as the British automaker has just opened its first factory overseas.
Its new plant in Changshu, China, is the result of a $1.8-billion joint venture between JLR and local automaker Chery. It covers some 4.3-million square feet and will, once at peak capacity, produce 130,000 units specifically for the Chinese market, where JLR sells over 100,000 vehicles each year to make it the company's single largest market worldwide.
Production at what's officially known as the Chery Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Company will start with the Evoque, of which one in five globally are currently sold in China. Production will eventually encompass three models. We already know that the Discovery Sport will be next, but the third model line has yet to be announced. JLR has confirmed, however, that the Changshu plant will produce unique models and derivatives specifically for the Chinese market, so we wouldn't be surprised to see a long-wheelbase version of the forthcoming XE or next-generation XF assembled there to satisfy local tastes.
Jaguar Land Rover is getting serious about global expansion, and that means it can't only build its vehicles in the UK anymore. The British automaker is cutting the ribbon at its new plant in China tomorrow, marking the opening of its first factory outside the UK. In 2016, it will open another factory in Brazil. But the latest intel has it that JLR is looking into a US factory, as well.
The report, which comes to us from the Sunday Times by way of Automotive News Europe, indicates that the company is evaluating locations for a North American factory, with options centering around Southern right-to-work states like South Carolina, where BMW operates its plant in Spartanburg and a wide array of other automotive operations are based as well. The JLR plant would reportedly ramp up to a capacity of 200,000 units per year.
In related news, while that new plant JLR is inaugurating in Changshu, China, is initially slated to produce the Range Rover Evoque, it is also expected to start building the new Discovery Sport as well - just like the Halewood plant in the UK that has handled Evoque assembly from the start and which just built its first Discovery Sport, as well.
As automotive journalists, we get to drive a lot of really cool, high-performance vehicles. It really is the single best thing about this job. However, our access to vehicles is generally limited to the newest offerings on the market. That means, much like the general public, we don't really get access to vintage iron.
Jaguar is trying to rectify that issue for journalist and enthusiast alike, with a new program called the Heritage Driving Experience. It allows British enthusiasts to pop into the brand's Warwickshire testing site, drop anywhere from 100 to 300 pounds ($160 to $480) and go for a spin in some of the brand's most legendary offerings. That includes the more typical classics, like the Mark 2 saloon and the E-Type sports car, but you can also pay for access to stunners like the XK150, XKSS and the race-spec D-Type. In addition to the classics, most of the tests include time in their modern successors. So an hour with the Mark II can be split with time in an XFR-S, while the E-Type is complemented by its spiritual successor, the F-Type.
Most of the events are limited to 30 or 60-minute sessions, although the brand does offer a half-day and full-day event. The former, the Jaguar Le Mans Experience, includes time in the C-Type, D-Type, XKSS and F-Type R. The full-day Grace and Pace Pack, meanwhile, gives you access to nine vehicles, covering a huge gamut. That means time in the C-, D- and E-Type, XK150, Mark II, XKR-S GT and F-Type R, among others. Not surprisingly, prices aren't listed for the half- and full-day pack. Much like Jag's finest cars, if you have to ask, you probably can't afford them.
Horsepower may steal a lot of headlines, but the always-more-complex torque figure is often a critical one for both the workingman and the motoring playboy. The measure of rotational force represents the twist that can liquefy one's tires or haul one's horse trailer. Good stuff.
It follows then, that as with the horsepower-to-weight list that we assembled for you a few months ago, a list of cars that offer the most pound-feet with the fewest pounds to carry, is an interesting one to break down. Sure, there's a big difference in how the torque is applied from a turbocharged six-cylinder in a Swedish luxury sedan and a massive heavy-duty truck's turbo-diesel. But being the car/stat geeks that we are, we think it's kinda neat that those two vehicles rank near each other where torque and weight intersect.
As with the horsepower list, we've given you figures as pounds per every one pound-foot. Again broken down into broad price categories, we've got a mixed bag of 2014 and 2015 models here, too. Every effort has been made to select the most up-to-date prices and specs, and we've also to omitted some '14 cars that won't be re-upped after the ongoing yearly changeover.