Auto blogThu, 24 Jul 2014 12:59:00 EST
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:13:00 EST
The Gas Guzzler schedule, with mpg ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam.
I started thinking about the "Gas Guzzler Tax" - considerably less well known as The Energy Tax Act of 1978 - when I was driving Dodge's new Challenger SRT Hellcat last week. Unsurprisingly for a car that can burn 1.5 gallons of gas per minute at max tilt, theoretically able to empty a full tank of premium in about 13 minutes, the Hellcat will be subject to the Gas Guzzler Tax schedule when it goes on sale.
Since buying Jaguar Land Rover, Indian automaker Tata has generally left its luxury arm's platforms and technology alone. However, those days might be gone. The two of them are gradually growing closer with coordinated development and rumors of shared platforms. And it looks like all of that work and money is finally going to pay off with an actual vehicle in the near future.
According to Australian website Drive, Tata wants to make its cars more attractive to buyers outside of India, and to do that the company knows it must improve quality. The Indian company is being careful, though, because it doesn't want to dilute the Jaguar or Land Rover brands with cheap models. "You're going to see in the future a lot of sharing of technologies and platforms over time, but you won't see a JLR with a Tata badge on it," said Darren Bowler, managing director of Tata's Australian distributor, to Drive.
According to Bowler, these future vehicles are already on the way. Tata and JLR have a global platform in the works for 2017 that both companies could use for cars or crossovers. He also hinted that Jaguar's new Ingenium engines could be shared among the brands in the future, too.
The Tour de France is typically a two-wheeled affair, dominated by cyclists yearning to capture the prestigious yellow jersey. While the 2014 event winds its way through Europe, Stage 20 will see an altogether different conveyance wind along the route between Bergerac and Périgueux - the Jaguar F-Type Coupe.
As part of its partnership with the British cyclists of Team Sky, Jag has enlisted its new Special Operations division to build a one-off F-Type Coupe, based on the 550-horsepower, supercharged R model.
SpecOps has removed the rear glass and come up with a creative solution to mount a pair of Team Sky's racing cycles in the back. Aside from that upgrade, the cabin boasts new upholstery in the colors of Team Sky's traditional livery. A separate power supply has been established below the bikes in what's left of the trunk, which provides juice for a set of radios and microphones, so that the team's director can communicate with the riders.
For athletes, the cold is often a powerful ally in treating injures, with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) a popular means of treating muscle pulls, bruising and other common forms of discomfort. Did you know, though, that frosty temps are also popular tools for simply recovering from a rough training session?
Well, we're guessing Jaguar Land Rover knew that, as the British company was kind enough to loan out its climactic testing chamber to Jaco van Gass and Luke Darlington, a pair of veterans wounded in their service to Queen and Country. Van Gass, a former private in the Royal Army, and Darlington, a Royal Marine, are attempting to earn a spot on the British Armed Forces cycling team for the upcoming Invictus Games.
The Games, inspired by the Warrior Games held in the United States, are a sporting competition reserved for injured servicemen and women, either active duty or veterans, and is slated to take place from September 10 to 14 in London's former Olympic venues. Van Gass lost his left arm below the elbow after getting hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (he also suffered from a collapsed lung, punctured internal organs, severe shrapnel and blast wounds, a broken tibia and a fractured knee). Darlington, meanwhile, suffered a traumatic brain injury during action in Afghanistan, and he now suffers from weakness in his right side and cognitive issues.
For decades, Jaguar has been a company of two minds. On one hand, there are its luxurious, British saloon cars. They might be quick, even sporty, but when it comes down to it, they usually put a focus on comfort and accommodations above all. On the other hand, Jag has its sports cars to really get its buyers' blood pumping. Think about it: the XJ might look pretty sweet, but you know deep down that you would rather take the F-Type for a spirited drive, reveling in its snorty exhaust note. In its latest video, Xcar Films takes us on a very enjoyable history lesson covering some of the Brit brand's most exciting models ever.
Xcar hits all of the highlights, starting with the often-overlooked C-Type from early '50s with its somewhat bulbous shape. Things then progress to the drop-dead gorgeous D-Type. The one in this video is actually the first ever made and therefore worth a fortune. Because of that, the host isn't really able to get too aggressive, but it's fantastic to get an idea of what it's like to experience being behind the wheel of this icon. Finally, it ends with a Series 1 E-Type. This was when the classic model was still something of a sports car; instead of the grand tourer that the E-Type became in its later days.
All three of these cars are legends in their own right, and maybe one day the F-Type could be too. Scroll down for a history lesson on some of Jaguar's best sports cars.
Jaguar has a whole raft of new products in the pipeline, from the long-awaited replacement for the XF mid-size sedan and a likely XJ-based replacement for the XK coupe and convertible to the production version of its C-X17 crossover concept. But arguably the most important will be the all-new XE, a compact sports sedan pointed squarely at the BMW 3 Series - a market segment which Jaguar last nipped at with the regrettable X-Type, one which it is now committed to tackling head on.
The British automaker has been trickling out a steady stream of details on its upcoming XE, from the initial announcement in March to the reveal of the disguised prototype in May and most recently the details released just last week of the new Ingenium engine family that will provide its motivation. Now Jaguar has confirmed the XE reveal timeframe and some more salient details of its chassis.
Set to be unveiled in London on September 8, the XE will reach European showrooms in 2015 and our shores in 2016. That's when buyers will be able to get their hands on what Jaguar is already characterizing as "a true driver's car; one that redefines the concept of the sports sedan."
Jaguar Land Rover officially announced its Ingenium family of engines with the unveiling of the 2.0-liter version in the Jaguar XE concept at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, but it kept details very thin at the time. All we knew was that the new turbocharged mills could be configured to use gasoline or diesel, and be positioned longitudinally or transversely. Months later, JLR is finally letting some more info slip about its new baby, but there are still some big questions to be answered.
For the Ingenium project, Jaguar Land Rover gave its engineers a clean sheet of paper and told them not to worry about using any previous parts or machinery. In the end, the designers came up with a family of turbocharged, aluminum-block engines based around modular, 500cc cylinders to allow it to grow or shrink as the market demanded. The layout was also made adaptable enough to incorporate hybrid drivetrains, if needed. "Being configurable and flexible are the two key strands of Ingenium's DNA because we have future-proofed our new engines from the outset," said said Ron Lee, the company's director of Powertrain Engineering.
To maximize efficiency, Jaguar promises that all versions of the Ingenium engines come with computer-controlled, variable oil pumps and water pumps to use only as much energy as needed. They also get direct injection, roller bearings for the cams and stop/start. The diesel version alone has 17 percent less internal friction than the mill it replaces, the company claims. JLR is also promising class-leading figures for Ingenium's torque and horsepower too, but it's not giving away those specs just yet.
Land Rover makes some of the most capable SUVs on or off the road, and some of the most luxurious too. But the British automaker isn't about to rest on those laurels - not when every other automaker assaults its territory with sport-utes of their own. That's why Land Rover has been working so hard on nifty new technologies from a depth-sounder in the door mirror of the Range Rover Sport an augmented-reality head-up display that makes the whole front of the car virtually disappear.
JLR's newest tech may not be ground-breaking, but its integration promises to make driving around town that much easier. The system syncs with the driver's smartphone and uses all manner of parameters - including driver habits, weather and location as well as the presence of other passengers - to make the commute go as smoothly as possible. Get into the car and it'll set the seat and mirrors for you. No big deal, because lots of cars do that. But it'll also set up the nav system to take you to work and the sound system to play your favorite music. Okay, getting more interesting.
Get in with your kids and it'll know not only that you've got to drop them off at school first (or remind you to pack their gym bag if they've got soccer practice after school that day) but that they might not enjoy that Chumbawamba album you've been listening to since college and it'll play something it knows you'll all enjoy based on your listening history. Then it'll switch back to Tubthumping once the kids are out, remind you of your morning meeting and alert those you're scheduled to meet with if you get stuck in traffic while finding you a better route to get there, monitoring fuel levels all the while and telling you if you'll need to tank up before you reach your destination. It knows if you like calling your mother on the drive to work and will lower the air suspension to make it easier to hop out once you get there.
Jaguar Land Rover is on a bit of a tech bent today. It's announced its new family of four-cylinder engines and a "self-learning" vehicle Range Rover prototype, and now it's announced what it calls the Jaguar Virtual Windscreen.
The technology is similar to other head-up displays and telematics recorders already on the market, the Jaguar Virtual Windscreen concept takes things to the next level to turn real-life driving into a video game-like experience. It's being demonstrated with data like lap times, grid positions, virtual racing line and brake guidance... even "ghost" cars from previous laps and virtual cones for simulated autocrossing. Just like you'd find in the latest version of Forza or Gran Turismo, but you know... in an actual car - in this case a Jaguar F-Type. It's similar to the Transparent Bonnet system Land Rover revealed a couple of months ago, but instead of rock-crawling, it's for the race track.
The system also incorporates gesture controls and could be configured to display instrument data, a video feed from a rear-view camera to replace the mirror. Check out the details and the video below for a closer look at what JLR has got in store for the near future.
Every automaker has its own agenda when it comes to concept cars. Some roll them out just to showcase where it's heading. Others create them to gauge public opinion for a potential production model. Still others only showcase a concept car to preview a model that's already well underway. Jaguar is just such a company.
In the last several years, Coventry has only produced a handful of concept cars, and each of them - the C-X16 that foreshadowed the F-Type, the C-X17 that previews the upcoming crossover and Project 7 that is now entering limited production - has led straight to the introduction of a new, commercially available model. Except for one: the C-X75.
The extreme lightweight supercar was set to succeed the XJ220 with a number of advanced technologies, but unfortunately Jaguar ended up pulling the plug to watch from the sidelines as McLaren, Ferrari and Porsche got all the attention for their new hybrid hypercars. But that doesn't mean that some of the technologies initially developed for the C-X75 won't find their way into other Jaguar products.