Auto blogTue, 11 Dec 2012 10:58:00 EST
"We feel we could make the car work, but looking at the global austerity measures in place now, it seems the wrong time to launch an 800,000-pound to 1 million-pound supercar."
Those words are from Jaguar Global Brand Director Adrian Hallmark, and as true as they may be, it still stings a little bit. After all, we've been looking forward to the Jaguar C-X75 ever since word came from Jolly Olde that it was green-lit for a short production run.
Some of the cool bits and pieces the world will now be without: a powerful but relatively miserly 1.6-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine, two electric motors driving all four wheels and a carbon fiber chassis developed by Williams F1. Sigh.
The 2014 Jaguar XFR-S might have only been good enough to take the runner-up spot in our Editor's Choice top five debuts at the LA Auto Show, but we'd be hard-pressed to find a car with a more exhilarating exhaust note. As proof of this, Jaguar released a video showing the XFR-S tearing up a windy, European mountain road in close to a minute of hardcore driving footage.
The big blue cat has the same great exhaust note of the XKR-S, and the driver puts all of the car's 550 horsepower to work demonstrating the handling - and drifting - abilities of the new XFR-S. If there's any disappointment to be had, it's the fact that you have to jump to the 30-second mark of the video for any of the action to start.
Scroll down to watch the video, and be sure your speakers are turned all the way up.
Jaguar is working up a short film to coincide with the US debut of the company's new F-Type. Desire will feature actor Damian Lewis in the lead role opposite Jordi Molla as the main villain in the story. The whole of the action will take place against the picturesque backdrop of the Chilean desert with filming starting early next month. According to Jaguar, the story will follow Lewis as he plays Clark, a man who delivers cars for living. Things get exciting when he crosses paths with a young woman played by Shannyn Sossamon.
With music by Lana Del Rey and some serious production value, Desire sounds keen to take its place among great automotive advertising short films like the BMW Driver series. Jaguar has released a quick teaser, which you can check out by heading over to the F-Type site. You may also take a peek at the full press release below for more information. Expect to see the film debut early next year.
While the debut of the XFR-S is likely fresh on everyone's minds and browser windows, the other big story of late at Jaguar is the F-Type coupe and convertible. Originally unveiled in Paris, the LA show was the first opportunity that the sub-XK performance machine will be seen Stateside. However, it was not just the same news that we first heard in Paris, as Jaguar used LA to showcase its newly available "Black" design pack.
This styling package includes gloss black finishes for the grill surround, side vents, a flat-bottomed sport steering wheel, gloss black interior touches, and instrument panel rings. This package is available with Ultimate Black, Polaris White, Italian Racing Red, Rhodium Silver, Grey and Firesand (seen above) body colors.
The Black pack can be had on either the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 model, or the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 version. Specific additional "Black" tweaks are available based on which derivative you select. Specifically, a gloss-black rear valence is a V6-only modification.
If there's something wrong about a sedan with a 550-horsepower supercharged V8, we don't want to hear about it. Instead, we want to marvel at the car in person, which is fortuitous because Jaguar has officially unveiled the 2014 XFR-S at the 2012 LA Auto Show. That blown 5.0-liter V8 dishes up a full 502 pound-feet of torque, which is good enough to shuttle the four-door to 60 mph in a scant 4.4 seconds. And, thanks to a start stop system and a few other fuel-saving tricks, the 2014 XFR-S gets away without being hit by the gas guzzler tax.
That's all good news, but we're just as excited about the fact that engineers managed to crank up the vehicle's chassis stiffness by a ludicrous 30 percent. Stiffer dampers and springs also give the car a little more poise, and a wide-open exhaust lets the whole world know you're kicking down their door. You know, in case the electric blue paint and wild body work didn't tip your hand. Check out the full gallery above for a closer look.
Jaguar and Land Rover are set to merge their sales facilities, according to Inside Line. Jaguar Land Rover North America President Andy Gross says 45 percent of Jaguar owners also have an SUV in their stable, so it makes sense to give customers as much exposure to the cat's high-riding cousins and possible. The number of overall outlets will remain the same, and the brands will reportedly remain separate on the showroom floor, however.
So far, just one dealer has made the move to combine under the roof of one 68,000 square-foot facility in Paramus, New Jersey (above), though a further 20 are ready to make the shift and become Jaguar Land Rover outlets. Gross believes the shift is necessary so that his company's dealer network will accurately reflect the company's products. We'll see how cozy the brands are when Jaguar starts rolling out its own SUVs in a few years.
The 2014 Jaguar XFR-S was considered last year, teased last week and now has been totally let loose. The most powerful sedan the company has ever made and the newest addition to its line of R-S performance cars - following the XKR-S - and we'll be getting even fewer of them than we thought. 200 had been the rumored allotment for the US, but the official word now is that we'll see just 100.
Each XFR-S will use the same 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that powers the XKR-S, meaning a 40-horsepower and 41-pound-foot bump over the XFR for 550 hp and 502 lb-ft in total. Shifting through the adaptive, eight-speed ZF transmission gets it from standstill to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, but for all that, it gets the same gas mileage as the XFR, aided by its stop/start system, and so doesn't get hit with a gas guzzler tax.
Other XKR-S bits have made the jump, including an upgraded suspension front and rear, the near-straight pipes for the cracking exhaust note we drank up like ambrosia and twenty-inch, six-spoke lightweight wheels that are an inch wider than on the XFR. Lateral stiffness is up 30 percent, the electronic systems have been recalibrated to handle the extra oomph, throttle response has been sharpened and can be made even sharper by going into Dynamic Mode.
Jaguar's future product plans keep on slipping, slipping, slipping onto the internet, and the latest on it's entry-level luxury challenger is a 2015 due date. According to Automobile magazine, "most significant game-changer from Coventry" will be arriving on the same PLA platform that supports the Jaguar XJ and 2013 Range Rover. Kacher says the small sedan has already got the green light as codename X760, and will bow first as a four-door sedan, then as a crossover a year later.
This puts a date to a recent Autocar report that a small sedan and crossover were in the works. We've been getting reports of and concepts for a successor to the X-Type ever since Tata bought Jaguar - like the Bertone B99 concept last year, and this enthusiast concept more recently - since everyone knows it's what has to happen for "a new Jaguar" to succeed. We're looking forward to seeing what the English maker comes up with; if it remains true to form, it could be one of the few luxury competitors whose distinct model each look, well, truly distinct.
While the European auto market for Jaguar and Land Rover is waning, Chinese car buyers can't get enough of the British marques. To meet that demand, Tata Motors, parent company of Jag and Land Rover, is partnering with Chinese automaker Chery Automobile Co.
The two announced plans to invest $1.75 billion to build a new plant and create a new, China-focused brand. 2014 is the target for completion of the factory. Jaguars and Land Rovers built at the facility will be the first ever produced outside the UK according to the Associated Press. The JV will be called Chery Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Company Ltd.
The announcement comes less than a month after JLR announced it would open a design studio in China. It's not clear from the reports whether the two announcements are part of the same JV or two separate plans.
It's hard to think back now, but the same man overseeing the design of the 2013 Ford Fusion also presided over a rather lackluster period in Ford design, highlighted by vehicles like the Five Hundred and Freestyle. With the redesigned Fusion receiving high praise, J Mays tells Automotive News that he feels vindicated from criticisms suggesting he's not a daring enough designer.
When Mays took over as lead of design in 1997, he admits to having quite an ego ("My head would barely fit through the door some days. I've long since gotten over myself") and the workload to match. With the Blue Oval's portfolio full of premium brands like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo at that point, along with the bread-and-butter Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models, Mays certainly had quite the challenge.
It was in the mid-2000s that Mays took over just the premium brands, and took on the new title of Chief Creative Officer. At the time, Mays endured some criticism for looking backwards to retro styling, rather than setting a new standard for American car design - criticism that Mays says he is free from with the all-new Fusion.