Aluminum bodies for all future Jaguars and Land Rovers

August 6th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar aluminium body s

Jaguar has become known for its extensive use of aluminum in the construction of its vehicles, and the weight and dynamics advantages that are achieved when compared to traditional steel-bodied cars. Now, it has been revealed by Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata that all future Jaguar and Land Rover models will make even greater use of aluminum in their bodies – a move that will help Jaguar and Land Rover models reduce weight and improve mileage and efficiency figures into the future.

Tata Motors, owner of Jaguar and Land Rover, revealed the information through Ratan Tata’s comments in his company’s annual report. The news comes after massive losses were recorded for Jaguar and Land Rover during 2008, with numbers around the negative £673.4 million mark.

These losses were in part blamed on high development costs for new models, as well as the declining luxury car market, but vehicle production costs were also a factor. Using aluminum in the construction of cars is no doubt more expensive than using steel, but Jaguar and Land Rover are gambling on the efficiency gains that the material affords to attract environmentally-conscious buyers n the future.

Jaguar/Land Rover posts crushing $1.6B loss

July 28th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar XJ sedan fq1

The sharp downturn of the world’s luxury automotive markets has taken a major toll on Jaguar/Land Rover, with the company’s bottom line taking a huge hit. According to a Financial Times report the once British luxury marques lost 673.4 million pounds ($1.6 billion NZ) in 2008. That’s a massive swing from the 641.5 million pound profit the British brands earned in 2007. Tata Motors stated last month that Jaguar/Land Rover lost 306 million pounds for the financial year ending March 2009.

The Financial Times report comes as Tata Motors is working on a deal with the British government to provide short-term financing for the iconic brands. The report goes on to say that the U.K. government is willing to provide a 175 million pound commercial bridging loan to keep operations running. There is a potential stalemate with Tata Motors wanting a 12-month loan, while the British government would prefer a six-month term, along with representation on the board.

Five litre V8 added to Jaguar XF range

July 27th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar XFR fq

Two new five litre direct injection V8 engines have been added to the 2010 model Jaguar XF range for the NZ market. These engines in the 5.0V8 and XFR models produce more performance with the same economy and two percent less emissions than the 4.2 litre V8 they replace.

The 5.0V8 model produces 283 kWs and 515 Nm of torque, while the supercharged XFR has 375 kWs and 625 Nm. They will sell for $159,990 and $209,990 respectively.

The new XFR is the first XF to carry the R badge, which defines Jaguar’s most performance focused cars. The XFR has had a 23 percent power hike, while torque is up 12 percent and with a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 4.9 seconds. The naturally aspirated 5.0V8 has gained 29 percent more power and 25 percent more torque. Both V8s meet Euro5 emission regulations which are not mandatory until 2011.

The XFR has a sixth generation twin vortex supercharger, while the central spray direct fuel injection increases efficiency and torque. Variable camshaft timing improves throttle response and efficiency and a variable geometry inlet manifold on the naturally aspirated engine increases low and high end torque.

The new XFR has the active differential control and adaptive dynamics suspension previously only available in the top models of the XK and XJ range. The active differential is electronically controlled to vary its locking torque to each wheel depending on surface conditions and the amount of power applied to optimise traction. The adaptive dynamics suspension automatically adjusts the damper settings to suit road conditions and the way the car is driven, optimising the balance between ride comfort and handling and road holding. Both V8s have variable ratio speed sensitive power steering.

The six speed automatic has been given additional clutch plates and an uprated torque converter to handle the XFR’s added zest. The 2010 XFR is distinguished by 20 inch alloy wheels, revised bumpers and lower front air intakes, sill extensions, bonnet louvres and grille, four tailpipes and a boot lid spoiler.

The XFR’s front brakes at 380 mm diameter are the largest ever fitted to a Jaguar and come with ABS, EBD, EBA and cornering brake control.

Inside there are more unique details with soft grain leather and a dark oak veneer in the wood trimmed areas to complement the XFR specific dark aluminium mesh finish. Fourteen way adjustable sports seats include adjustable squab bolsters.

There is a keyless entry with the smart key system, automatic climate control, trip computer and split folding rear seats. The V8 has a 320 watts, eight speaker sound system, while the XFR comes with a 440 watts Bowers & Wilkins 13 speaker system.

The same new five litre V8 engine options are also fitted to the 2010 XK and XKR coupe and convertible models.

The XK has similar comprehensive specification and equipment to the V8 engined XFs. The XK pricing starts from $229,990 for the V8 Coupe, with the flagship XKR convertible tagged at $274,990.

The XFR and all the XK models will only be available to customer factory forward order. The XF 5.0 V8 and other XF models will be available as Jaguar dealer stock items.

Click here to read a road test of the Jaguar XF.

Jaguar X-Type to cease production

July 16th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar X-Type rq

The X-Type Jaguar compact luxury sedan has finally met its maker. Production will end in December and that means the end of Ford’s experimental involvement with the Jaguar brand.

Back in 2002 when Ford added a reworked Mondeo to the Jaguar lineup hopes were high. With all-wheel drive, modern but familiar styling and a fancy interior, the Jaguar X-Type won positive reviews for its handling but little else. At a time when Lexus, BMW and Mercedes were just doing a better job with smaller sedans, Jaguar’s gamble damaged its reputation.

The X-Type slowly declined on sales charts globally and now used versions are sold relatively cheaply despite its virtues like good handling, a more roomy wagon version, and all-wheel drive.

Jaguar did build more than 350,000 X-Types in eight years, which makes it the highest-volume Jaguar ever which is impressive in its own right. However, since the sale of Jaguar by Ford to Tata, the new direction of fewer customers, fewer cars and a more exclusive image has been aided by the introduction of the 2010 Jaguar XJ sedan. Whether it permanently fixes Jaguar’s problem of making great cars but selling too few of them remains to be seen.

Jaguar officially unveils the 2010 XJ Sedan

July 10th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar XJ sedan fq1

The current Jaguar XJ is around 7 years old which is a fairly typical vehicle lifespan but the body styling is the same basic shape that’s been around since the 1970s. This shouldn’t be an issue but it had caused many to think the car lacked technical sophistication despite its impressive spec sheet. Yesterday, Jaguar released official images and information for its all-new, redesigned 2010 Jaguar XJ.

Liberally taking styling cues from the new Jaguar XF sedan, the 2010 XJ is definitely not stuck in the past. Using long lines and a staunch profile the XJ is unique and handsome.

Using a low, sloping roofline to give the XJ a four-door coupe look, the black D-pillars create a ‘floating roof’ effect from the rear, and a panoramic glass sunroof lets abundant light into the cabin improving the sense of space. The rear is sure to polarise opinion with its vertical tail lights and tall deck.

Inside, their is a much more modern cockpit featuring a pop-up transmission control interface, laser-inlaid wood trim, a leather headliner and a new instrument panel that discards traditional dials in favor of a high-definition screen displaying driver information.

Under the bonnet, the new V8 found in the XF will provide motivation with the European market also getting a 3.0L V6 turbodiesel. The 5.0L V8 engine will be available in a naturally-aspirated base form rated at 385hp, while a supercharged variant will put out 470hp and an even higher-performance 510hp version for the Supersport edition will also be available.

Only one transmission is available at launch – a paddle-shifted six-speed auto this will take the standard XJ to 100kph in 5.4 seconds, and the Supersport version to 100kph in a brief 4.7 seconds. Suspension dynamics are controlled via air springs, with computer-controlled settings of Normal, Dynamic and Winter.

Like the outgoing model, the new XJ makes extensive use of aluminum, weighing in at a mere 1,723kg in its lightest trim. The combination of light weight and a powerful engine will make for a solid performer but also for potentailly very good fuel economy.

Global sales for the new XJ will begin in December for early 2010 delivery. American prices have been announced at $72,500 ($114,800 NZD) for the base 5.0L V8, $87,500 ($138,600) for the XJ Supercharged and from $112,000 ($177,300) for the XJ Supersport.

World’s fastest man drives World’s fastest Jaguar

July 7th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar XFR LSC fq

Wing Commander Andy Green OBE – the fastest man on earth and the World Land Speed Record Holder — drove up Goodwood’s famous hill on the weekend in Jaguar’s fastest car ever, the XFR Prototype* that recorded 225.675mph (363 kph) on the Bonneville Salt Flats towards the end of last year.

Andy Green was the first person to break the sound barrier on land when he recorded 763.035mph (1,228 kph) in the Thrust SSC in 1997. He said: “It is always a thrill to drive at the Festival of Speed and all the more so in a ‘proper’ race car.  I hugely enjoyed the Bonneville Jaguar, and the crowd loved it too — this is the sort of car that they come to watch.  Now I want to go and drive it at Bonneville!”

Rocketsports Racing owner, Paul Gentilozzi, was behind the wheel when the car made its record-breaking run in Utah, so it was fitting when he attended Goodwood over the weekend to drive the car up the hill in the First Glance run throughout Friday and Saturday.

Paul Gentilozzi said: “During my career, I’ve raced worldwide from the southern tip of New Zealand to Le Mans. Along the way, I have been privileged to drive and own so many exciting cars but I’ve never driven one that was as exciting to drive fast as this Jaguar.”

Jaguar also showcased a unique XKR in the supercar run at Goodwood, driven by Mike Cross, Jaguar’s Chief Engineer of Vehicle Integrity. Developed to explore the harder side of the XKR’s character and unfettered by the requirements of a road car, the engine torque and power were both significantly increased to continue the Jaguar tradition of special cars for Goodwood.

The standard XKR features a new 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine which has significantly enhanced the sporting character of the car. This special Goodwood XKR’s engine torque was increased from 625Nm to 700Nm and with power up from 503hp to 522hp, it will accelerate from 0-100kph in around 4.2 seconds.

Fitted with 21-inch wheels and a lowered ride-height, the XKR had an ‘interesting’ one-off lime green paint scheme with satin graphite detailing to the front grilles, headlights, door mirrors, side window surrounds, rear signature blade and bonnet louvers. The car also featured a unique graphic on the side and bonnet of the car proudly stating that it is an XKR.

*Running with minor aerodynamic and safety modifications to meet the requirements for a Bonneville run, the 225mph top speed was achieved with additional horsepower liberated by a remapped ECU, a modified air intake and exhaust system and revised supercharger settings. No internal engine components were changed and the six-speed automatic transmission was standard, including the gear ratios.

Jaguar/Land Rover costs Tata Motors billions

June 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Land Rover Discovery4 fq

India’s Tata Motors has recently reported a net loss of $520 million USD (25.05 billion rupees) for the fiscal year ending in March of 2009. Over the same period one year earlier, Tata managed to earn 21.68 billion rupees in profit. Why the big change? Naturally, the global economic crisis has struck the automaker, but the main problem is the relatively poor performance of Jaguar and Land Rover, purchased from Ford last year with the help of a $3 billion USD bridge loan.

The fact that Jaguar Land Rover was responsible for $504 million of that $520 million total loss means that more job cuts and plant shutdowns are in store for the struggling British pair. Tata’s Vice Chairman Ravi Kant said, “We have sent people on sabbatical, gone for cheaper low-cost country sourcing and tight control in cash flows, and are assisting JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) for a major belt tightening.”

Earlier this month, reports suggested that Tata was in search of some $1.5 billion USD in cash and underwriting to pump straight into its JLR operations.

Jaguar launches new Police package for XF

May 28th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar XF police

The long arm of the law has never been looking so sharp over in the UK thanks to Jaguar’s creation of a high performance police pursuit vehicle. It hasn’t been commissioned by the fuzz just yet, but is apparently under evaluation by UK authorities across the country. The model in question is the new twin-turbo XF Diesel S, a 3.0-litre unit that pumps out 275 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque.

The police version XF gets a “police pack” electronics package to power radio equipment, and plenty of lights including a roof-mounted light bar with 3600 light elements, side alley lights, blue and white strobing LEDs in the grille and blue flashing LEDs along the side of the car, along with blue and red flashing LED lights in the rear light clusters. Just drive it into any hall and turn it on for an instant blue-light disco, or just use it to chase baddies.