For Sale By:Dealer
Number of Cylinders: 6
Warranty: Vehicle does NOT have an existing warranty
Sub Model: FHC
Exterior Color: White
Interior Color: Red
Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States
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.
Oh look, another super-hot wagon that won't be making its way to the US. Awesome.
Actually, in all honesty, it really is awesome. Meet the Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake, a red-hot (or blue-hot?) version of the rakish XF wagon that originally bowed at the Geneva Motor Show back in 2012. The formula here is pretty much plug-and-play: take the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 from the XFR-S and shove it in the wagon body, and add all of the necessary visual flair fitting of a properly powerful Jag. The end result is an estate that packs 542 horsepower, 502 pound-feet of torque, and the ability to sprint to 60 miles per hour in a scant 4.6 seconds. Meow.
This Jaguar joins a growing segment of ultra-hot wagons in Europe, rounded out by offerings like the Audi RS6 Avant and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG longroof - the latter of which you can actually buy in North America. Sounds like the sort of comparison test we'd love to facilitate. Guess we'll have to leave that to our friends at Autocar, though.
As we noted in our recent first drive, Jaguar's luscious new F-Type roadster is a bit of a tweener in both size and cost, lining up in between rival Porsche's Boxster and 911. That one-for-two-segment strategy is showing early signs of paying off, with Automotive News reporting that half of the car's 2014 production allotment is already sold. We're not talking huge numbers - sports cars in this segment only "have a global annual volume of about 75,000 units and a market share of 0.1 percent," notes Jaguar brand director Adrian Hallmark. Yet the company figures the F-Type will work out to about 15 to 20 percent of its total volume of around 60,000 units.
From where we sit, this is all very encouraging news, but it's way too early to call the F-Type a smash hit. The sports car segment is known for its fickleness and its front-loaded sales curve, so the real measure of success will be how it fares over the next few years after early adopters get their cars. Jaguar will have to work to keep the F-Type fresh with new variants, and we hear it's prepared to do just that. The British luxury marque hasn't confirmed a hardtop coupe variant yet, but patent images and spy shots suggest one is on the way shortly, and it ought to extend the model's appeal greatly. A four-cylinder option and a manual transmission have also been rumored, and presumably Jaguar will eventually launch higher-performance R and R-S variants as it has done with various model lines, including its other sporty two door, the XK grand tourer.