Auto blogMon, 08 Sep 2014 08:45:00 EST
We only have a few hours to wait before Jaguar finally, and fully, unveils its oft-teased XE sedan. But the Internet is no respecter of secrets, as these very last-minute spy shots make clear.
Presumably being airlifted to its spectacular debut location near Earl's Court in London, the BMW 3-Series-fighting XE was captured mid-flight, and completely undisguised.
The images are understandably a bit blurry, but they do confirm that DNA from the current Jag lineup is transitioning nicely to the new small luxury sedan. The XE shows a stance typical of the brand, with a relatively short rear overhang, and big, boldly styled wheels. The bluff front end is reminiscent of if the XF and XJ, and, as we know from earlier teasers, will wear a "growler" logo over a black grille.
Outside of a major auto show, this might be one of the best times of the year for new car debuts, and we couldn't be more excited. Just this week, the low-slung face of the next-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata showed itself to the world, and Land Rover debuted its new Discovery Sport. Plus, there's a double-whammy of launches on the imminent horizon with the unveilings of the Jaguar XE on September 8 and the Mercedes-AMG GT on September 9.
Jag is teasing the launch of its latest midsize luxury sedan with a few glimpses on video. It's strangely secretive, given the fact that Jaguar showed the XE's face completely un-camouflaged a few weeks ago. Regardless, it's quite a looker up front with a sleeker take on the shape of the larger XF.
Because of the way Jaguar is slowly leaking details about the XE, there are a few other things we already know about this new cat, too. It rides on a monocoque chassis made from over 75 percent aluminum, and the automaker is promising 75 miles per gallon fuel economy on the more lenient European cycle for at least one engine in the lineup.
We were a more than a little jealous when designer Ian Callum revealed his Jaguar Mark 2 restomod that he commissioned from Classic Motor Cars. It turns out that we weren't the only ones that dug it - the reaction was so great that CMC got Callum's permission to create a limited run of them for customers. Although, with prices quoted between £350,000 and £375,000 ($572,000 - $613,000), we doubt Ian needs to worry about seeing a copy of his creation pass him too soon.
"Within hours we had received calls from people all over the globe asking if they could buy one," said Peter Neumark, Chairman of CMC in the latest announcement. The reaction came as a surprise to Callum, who said he designed the car entirely to his own specifications and actually wasn't sure if people would like it.
Among Callum's many changes are new bumpers, wider front fenders with functional louvers and less chrome trim. Under the hood is a 4.3-liter six-cylinder fitted with two SU carbs putting out around 260 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. It should be a much better driver too, with a completely re-engineered independent rear suspension, adjustable dampers at all four corners, improved brakes and a new rack and pinion steering system designed by CMC with electric assist.
My first, ill-fated job in the auto world was at an exotic car dealer in metro Detroit. The job itself sucked, but the cars, they were exceptional. Amidst a sea of Tiptronic Porsche Boxsters, first-gen Mercedes-Benz SLKs and abused second-generation Range Rovers, there were some real gems.
In particular, I have fond memories of a trio of undrivable Jaguar E-Types. Two Series II coupes as well as a Series III convertible (that featured a mostly broken roof) spent the entirety of my brief tenure at the dealership in the back of the musty service garage. I'd make side trips through there just to see the trio of E-Types, which rarely failed to put a big, ridiculous grin on my face.
Since that time in the summer of 2005, there hasn't been a single Jag that's been capable of eliciting the same goofy smile. Not the XFR-S, with its un-aristocratic wing, nor the XKR-S. At the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, though, Jaguar introduced this F-Type Coupe. Sure, the droptop model had been around for a bit, but I thought it was the new coupe that most captured the E-Type's classic aesthetic, with a swooping roofline, those gorgeous rear haunches and a long, powerful hood. I had to drive one.
As the man behind the styling of basically every Jaguar since the mid 2000s, two things should be known about Ian Callum - he's a big fan of the brand, and he can bloody well get whatever kind of Jag he wants.
His newest car, though, is not what you might expect. Rather than an F-Type or an XJ, Callum has gone old school, and commissioned a custom, resto-modded Jaguar Mark 2.
Designed by Callum and built by Classic Motor Cars in Shropshire, England, the Mark 2 was an 18-month project between the designer and the garage. The essentially new car draws its power from a 4.3-liter engine that's been pilfered and modified from an XK. It's mated to a five-speed manual transmission.
From 1927 to 1957, the Mille Miglia was one of the great, romantic European road races of the golden era of motorsports. The cars were fast, beautiful and loud but also extremely dangerous and regularly claimed drivers' lives. After two fatal accidents in '57, the event finally had to reform and came back in 1977 as a historic rally held over the course of several days. That didn't make things boring, though, and Xcar found that out firsthand with a front-row seat to this year's race in a 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe.
Xcar was actually following the Jaguar team this year that included Ian Callum and Jay Leno in an XK120, which we previously got a glimpse of when it was covered on Jay Leno's Garage. Where Leno focuses on a more personal story of competing, this one takes a more macro view. You really get an idea of how crazy the Mille Miglia still is, and while the F-Type is way too new to actually compete in the rally, it can still wear an event sticker and drive with the vintage racers.
One amazing fact about today's Mille Miglia is that if you're competing in the event, there are basically no rules. The roads are technically still open to traffic, but the police shut down intersections and provide a rolling roadblock. Xcar's F-Type alternated between following on the course with the classics and snipping off chunks of the route to watch the participants arrive at each stop. Check out the video to experience fantastic historic rally.
Jaguar has been keeping busy lately, rolling out both the new Lightweight E-Type and F-Type Project 7 at Pebble Beach this past weekend. But the more important project for the British automaker is the upcoming new XE.
Coventry has been releasing a steady stream of information and teasers on its new 3 Series challenger, and has now revealed details of the new infotainment system that will debut in the XE. Called InControl, the system centers around an eight-inch touchscreen and integrates with smartphones (running both iOS and Android) through the InControl Remote and InControl Apps. The system will allow drivers to pre-set the climate control for each day of the week, lock and unlock the doors and start the engine remotely.
It'll also include an on-board wifi hotspot to connect multiple devices and a laser-based head-up display that you can scope out in the graphic above as well as the video and press release below in advance of the XE's upcoming debut in London on September 8.
It's only been a couple of months since Jaguar Land Rover announced the formation of its new Special Operations division, and we've already seen a number of vehicles to come out of it. But now the British automaker has announced a new facility that will house its elite skunkworks department.
Set to be built at Prologis Park in Ryton, England, on the outskirts of Coventry, the new Special Vehicle Operations Technical Centre will encompass dedicated production lines, F1-style flexible workshops, a dedicated paint studio and VIP suite for commissioning bespoke projects. JLR will spend some $33 million on the facility that will be home to 150 specialists - 100 of them being new hires.
The first project which the Special Operations division is working on is the F-Type Project 7, but we've already seen more projects in the pipeline - including the upcoming Range Rover Sport SVR - and you can bet there'll be more. The revival of the Lightweight E-Type also falls under Special Operations, but is undertaken by the Jaguar Heritage department located nearby at Browns Lane.
Sometimes procrastination has its benefits. Jaguar originally planned to build a run of 18 E-Type Lightweights for racing in the '60s. However, it was only ever to complete 12 of them. It has taken all of the intervening decades to finally get back to the project and build the final run of new Lightweights. While Jag announced the plan recently, the first continuation model was unveiled during the Pebble Beach weekend.
Coming from Jaguar Land Rover's Special Operations unit, these cars are identical to the way they left the factory in the '60s. Jag is even using the same grade of aluminum for the bodies, and the cars are fully compliant for FIA historic racing. Power comes from an aluminum, 3.8-liter inline-six with about 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque routed through a four-speed manual gearbox. Who could guess that in 2014 someone could buy a brand new vehicle from a major manufacturer that comes with Weber carbs? Though, Lucas mechanical fuel injection is an option.
While they look old, these new E-types are also a wonder of modern technology. To get things just right, the company laser scanned an original car to create the new bodies. Check out the gallery from the unveiling to see this old cat on the prowl again.
One of the many big name debuts during the 2014 Monterey car week is this, the Jaguar F-Type Project 7, a stunning roadster inspired by Jaguar's legendary, finned D-Type sports car.
The Project 7 expands on the already appealing F-Type Convertible formula, further boosting the Jaguar Land Rover 5.0-liter, supercharged V8 to its most potent form yet - 575 horsepower - making this the most powerful production Jag in history. So equipped, the Project 7 is more cheetah than jaguar, roaring to 60 miles per hour in a rapid 3.8 seconds before reaching its electronically limited peak speed of 186 miles per hour.
Prices for the F-Type Project 7 start at $165,000, with customer deliveries slated begin in spring of 2015.