1997 Jaguar Xk8 Base Coupe 2-door 4.0l on 2040-cars
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Auto blogThu, 30 Oct 2014
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.
From our best guess, the Jaguar test mule shown in these spy shots could very well be our first glimpse at the next-generation Jaguar XF, due out around the 2016 model year. The current XF has been around for five years already (launched in 2008), and this mule is likely testing powertrain or chassis components for a new version of the midsize Jaguar sedan.
With what seems to be a stretched wheelbase and wider track, this is almost certainly not a mule for the 3 Series-fighting Jaguar XS. That being said, though, there is also the outside chance that this could be a mule for other future Jaguar Land Rover products including a production version of the Jaguar C-X17 crossover or the Jaguar-based Range Rover Grand Evoque. Only time will tell what these images truly foretell, but if nothing else, it proves that Jaguar is definitely staying busy these days.
With tighter emissions and fuel economy regulations looming, Jaguar may have to do more than make a small, fuel-efficient hatchback to lower its model range's consumption figures - it also might give up its venerable V8 power, Drive reports. But not anytime soon, says Steven de Ploey, Jaguar's product and marketing director, who recognizes that the V8 can be replaced only by something that offers the same, or better, performance. But he has a word of caution: "We are not wedded to V8s."
In the meantime, de Ploey says there are other ways to reduce emissions. One of the first steps Jaguar could take is to shift away from the use of superchargers, which aren't as good as turbochargers at maintaining efficiency and making power. But he adds that supercharging still is "at the heart of Jaguar's performance proposition," and that the company has addressed the current downsizing trend by "replacing our naturally aspirated V8 with a 3.0-liter supercharged V6."
Consider one of de Ploey's comments on the cancelled C-X75 supercar (pictured) for some clue about Jaguar's future: "Some of the stuff we have already exploited to the extreme in the C-X75 is the kind of thinking for us and is an essential test bed to see how we could evolve from today to something that is sustainable in the future."