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Auto blogWed, 09 Jul 2014 07:59:00 EST
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.
In addition to the XJR, XFR-S and XKR-S GT models Jaguar is bringing to the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend, the manufacturer announced that the F-Type-based, D-Type-inspired Project 7 design study will make its "dynamic" debut at the festival, with driving duties assigned to Mike Cross, Jaguar's chief engineer of vehicle integrity. Here's the cool part: With Jaguar's Director of Design, Ian Callum, leading the team responsible for Project 7, it went from the drawing board to track testing in only four months, Jaguar states, with a claimed 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds and top speed of 186 miles per hour.
Project 7, which was named in honor of Jaguar's seven wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will be making runs up the hill at Goodwood over all three days of the festival, which starts at the Goodwood House in West Sussex, England, this Friday.
Far from a fragile concept car, Jaguar says, the single-seat Project 7 is a fully functional sports car. It uses the all-aluminum chassis and body of the F-Type, retains that car's 550-horsepower, supercharged 5.0-liter V8 and eight-speed automatic transmission but features lots of bespoke carbon fiber aerodynamic bits, some of which were inspired by the Le Mans-winning D-Type of the 1950s. The most obvious nod to that classic is the rear fairing with integrated rollover hoop - the F-Type's convertible top is gone. The windshield was also lowered, giving the roadster a more rakish silhouette as it sits on 20-inch forged-alloy wheels with carbon fiber inserts.
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.