Jaguar Land Rover to bulid $700 million engine plant

September 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar Land Rover is to build a US$700 million new, state-of-the-art advanced engine facility at Staffordshire, near Wolverhampton in the English Midlands. It will manufacture a family of all-new advanced technology low emission 4-cylinder JLR petrol and diesel engines.

Following a successful Frankfurt International Motor Show and recent discussions between Jaguar Land Rover and UK Government ministers, JLR has confirmed a US$700 million investment in a new facility to manufacture all-new,low-emissions engines in the UK.

The new advanced engine facility will be built at i54 South Staffordshire, a business park near Wolverhampton in the UK’s Midlands.

“As part of our long-term strategy for the JLR business, we will design, engineer and manufacture a new family of advanced engines. This is a major commitment for our company and we will produce these advanced, highly-efficient engines for future Jaguar and Land Rover models at a new facility in the UK” said Dr Ralf Speth, the chief executive officer of JLR. Continue reading “Jaguar Land Rover to bulid $700 million engine plant” »

Jaguar unveils stunning C-X16 sports car concept (+video)

September 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar has revealed its latest concept car, the C-X16 before it makes an official debut at next week’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The concept is already touted as being a likely future production model that will sit below the XK in Jaguar’s current line up. The concept may eventually spawn Jag’s affordable two-seater sports car that will fight Porsche’s Cayman and 911.

Built to be a true driver’s sports car, the C-X16 is the smallest Jaguar in terms of length since the 1954 XK120. The concept rolls on a shortened platform of the next generation XK’s aluminium chassis structure and has a perfect 50:50 weight distribution between its axles.

Under its traditionally long bonnet the C-X16 packs a hybrid powertrain that includes a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine with 280kW of power and 450 Nm of torque. The conventional engine works in with an electric motor generator integrated into the eight-speed automatic gearbox that transfers power to the rear wheels. Continue reading “Jaguar unveils stunning C-X16 sports car concept (+video)” »

Updated 2012 Jaguar XJ sports sedan arrives in NZ

August 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar’s NZ distributor has just landed the updated 2012 version of its luxury flag ship – the XJ sports sedan. With new equipment and pricing for 2012 the XJ apparently allows for greater personalisation and flexibility of use, with the first models available in New Zealand now.

Prices for the 2012 model start from $155,000 and the new XJ now offers the Rear Seat Comfort pack. This feature allows the electric adjustment of the backrest recline angle, four-way lumbar support and a massage function. Increased comfort is also provided by new winged headrests and rear seat footrests. The Rear Seat Comfort pack is standard on the long wheel base Supersport model and an option on the others in the XJ range.

There are new interior colour combination for 2012, available with both the Premium Luxury and Portfolio trim levels. There’s a Jet/Ivory option that features ivory seating with contrast jet stitching, piping and upper surfaces while the headlining is available in either colour, according to customer preference.

“An XJ should be the ultimate in comfort, design and refinement. The bespoke interior changes  incorporated for the 2012 model make it an even more special car to drive or be driven in,” said Paul Ricketts, the brand manager for Jaguar New Zealand. Continue reading “Updated 2012 Jaguar XJ sports sedan arrives in NZ” »

The Cat Came Back

August 20th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

It’s strange how things never seem to work out entirely as you anticipate. After my last tirade about the social inadequacy of the proletariat I was expecting to be the recipient of at least a smattering of bile and vitriol from the bus dwelling community, but it seems that in general the world agrees with me. Or at least it doesn’t find my viewpoint objectionable enough to justify a major counter-strike.

Instead the response from the select few of my acquaintances who happen to peruse my weekly ramblings was focussed on one specific sentence. The bit where I casually proclaimed my least favourite car of all time to be the Jaguar X-Type.

It turns out that along with Olympic whinging abilities and an inability to play expansive rugby; most Kiwis’ believe that a passionate devotion to all things Jag is a deep seated trait of those of us from the motherland. And they are absolutely correct.

Throughout its history, Jaguar has been about making truly great cars that have been accessible to the common man. Not too accessible of course, but not in the airy realms of fantasy that seem to be the reserve of other motoring exotica. If you worked hard in life and didn’t fritter too much of your life savings away on other frivolous wastes such as children, then at some point you would accrue enough coinage to join the big cat club of motoring pleasure.

But with the X-Type they took a sharp and unpleasant diversion from this tried and trusted theory and instead decided to make a truly great badge accessible to the common man. Although at this point I must point out that the X-Type was in no way a bad car. At its core was the Ford CD132 platform which was also used to produce the Mondeo; a dynamically excellent vehicle and one of my all time favourite rep-movers. Continue reading “The Cat Came Back” »

Ex Tractor Fan

June 21st, 2011 by Tim Grimley

As a small boy, my weekends frequently had large swathes of play time cut out of them by the need to visit relatives in Coventry. For the uninitiated, Coventry is an industrial town in the Midlands of England which, thanks to a rapid and highly effective urban clearing programme implemented by the Luftwaffe in the early 1940s, isn’t very pretty. For a six year old, it’s right up there with visiting the dentist.

But despite eating into my precious school-free weekends, the journey did have two highlights; first, the Brown’s Lane  Jaguar plant – locally known as simply “The Jag” – where I would gawp at the magnificent cars on display and daydream of the wonderment that went on inside the huge factories. Secondly – usually on the way home due to the strange, apparently genetic condition that prevents both me and my dad from deciding what is the quickest route for any particular journey – the Massey Ferguson factory at Banner Lane.

In its day, Banner Lane was the largest tractor factory in the world and the row upon row of bright red Masseys outside used to hypnotise me. Once home, I’d dig out the large cardboard box of model cars from under my bed and drive around the floor ploughing imaginary furrows in the carpet with the closest thing I had to a tractor. If memory serves me right it was a Volvo 240 station wagon with the boot lid missing.

Since then things have moved on – both Brown’s Lane and Banner Lane have ceased production and I have got bigger, uglier and fallen out of love with agricultural vehicles.

Moving farming - but not moving me

With their big tyres and chunky looks, tractors naturally appealed to me as a boy, but as a man whose interaction with them is now limited to the time I’m stuck behind one on a country road, cursing its sloth like top speed and the fact that it’s throwing semi–decomposed cow faeces onto my bonnet, the magic has gone.

Well, maybe not quite. Thanks to the current Mrs Grimley’s insistence that North Shore City presents limited opportunities for patting cows, we spent last weekend at Fieldays in Hamilton. And the only way I was able to get a break from leaning into various pens of flatulent livestock was to feign a strong desire to poke around the mechanical stuff.

And in many ways my interest was genuine – the engineering is absolutely fascinating and the respect I have for the work tractors do is unparalleled. Farming accounts for around 7% of employment in the country, 4.5% of the GDP – over 3 times that with associated industry taken into consideration – and without the humble tractor, this would not be possible. It was even a Massey that took Sir Edmund Hillary to the Pole. Continue reading “Ex Tractor Fan” »

Jaguar to expand high-power R-S model range

June 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Good news for Jaguar fans with new reports indicating that the 2012 XKR-S is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of new high performance offerings. The XKR-S is doing the rounds of auto shows and is expected to reach showrooms later this year but other “R-S” badged Jags will follow.

Next in line is a convertible version of the XKR-S to join its coupe sibling. This high-power drop top will use the same 405kW/680Nm supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 engine. Apparently the XK was designed from the start to support a convertible body shape and its rigid aluminum structure won’t require extra reinforcement. Expect a heavier pricetag than the coupe version and all the XKR-S trimmings like wider wheelarches, carbon fibre splitters and enlarged air intakes.

Following development of the XKR-S convertible it’s expected that the powerhouse V8 engine will find its way into the new Jaguar XFR and create a top-spec XFR-S version of the four-door sedan. This will help the XF sedan compete with the next-generation BMW M5 and Audi RS6, both of which are expected to come packing 410kW or more power outputs. Continue reading “Jaguar to expand high-power R-S model range” »

Jaguar sending C-X75 hybrid supercar into production

May 9th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar has officially confirmed that its striking and environmentally friendly C-X75 supercar prototype will be taken into production.

The hybrid model first debuted as a concept at the Paris Motor Show last year and many thought that’s as far as it would go, but Jaguar have other ideas. The C-X75 is a hybrid supercar that produces less than 99g/km of CO2 emissions but for performance can rival the best supercars in the world and boasts a top speed of over 322 km/h (200mph).

The C-X75 will be an all-wheel drive machine with a “downsized, highly-boosted petrol engine coupled with two powerful electric motors,” says Jaguar, although the automaker is staying tight-lipped with any more details than that.

Jaguar will team up with the Williams F1 team to build the C-X75 and with Formula 1 preparing to switch to four-cylinder engines by 2013, it is possible that the C-X75′s powertrain will use similar or the same technology being developed for the Williams F1 team.

As a concept car the C-X75 used four 145-kW electric motors (one at each wheel) with two small turbine engines to create electrical current. But the production C-X75 will likely opt for a more conventional setup. Continue reading “Jaguar sending C-X75 hybrid supercar into production” »

Updated 2012 Jaguar range and XKR-S coming to NZ

April 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar has introduced upgrades across its range of 2012 models at the recent New York Motor Show and the updated machines will be available in NZ by the end of the year.

The XF sports sedan has received powertrain updates to improve performance and economy. There is also a new interior look and exterior design. The XJ luxury sedan now has a Rear Seat Comfort package offering a limousine experience. The new 300km/h XKR-S now tops the XK range.

“Substantial changes and improvements have been made across the XF, XJ and XK ranges bringing performance, refinement and economy to new levels” says Paul Ricketts, Brand Manager of Jaguar New Zealand “While fresh design enhancements strengthen the appeal of Jaguar’s latest line-up.” said Mr Ricketts.

The XF, now receives new front and rear revisions to its appearance that bring it in line with the flagship XJ. The supercharged XFR features further unique design enhancements that signal the performance available in this range-topper. Continue reading “Updated 2012 Jaguar range and XKR-S coming to NZ” »