The Truth About Cars » 5.0L http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 16:00:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 5.0L http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Review: 2012 Jaguar XKR-S http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/review-2012-jaguar-xkr-s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/review-2012-jaguar-xkr-s/#comments Thu, 15 Mar 2012 16:02:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=434160

At 7 years old, the XK isn’t a kitten anymore – but with a rumored 3 years until the next redesign, what’s a luxury marque to do? Make special editions, of course. On the surface, the XKR-S looks like a baby-boomer dressed like a teenager, or as the Brits put it: mutton dressed as lamb.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The XKR (reviewed last year) looks like sex, in a discrete, black-tie/coquettish sort of way. The XKR-S ditches subtle for brash; hood scoops, large hood vents, enlarged grille, carbon fiber splitter, carbon fiber spoiler, blacked-out trim (chrome is a $4,000 option), and bespoke 20-inch alloy wheels with 255-width Pirelli rubber up front and 295s out back are all part of this exclusive package (only 100 will be sent to America). There’s also a straked diffuser with dual exhausts, special badging and some crazy-looking vents at the leading edge of the front wheel well to improve brake cooling. Oh, and the front bumper seems to have been designed to look like a frown. Moderation is a Jaguar virtue and thankfully the R-S’s chassis is lowered by a scant 0.38 inches meaning we had no problems with steep driveways and speed bumps. So is it all-show-and-no-go? Far from it. All the aero tweaks put together reduce lift by 26%  and make the lift more even fore/aft than in the XKR.

Under the hood growls a lightly modified 5.0L supercharged V8 from the XKR. The quad-cam engine features direct injection, continuously variable valve timing, and a thoroughly modern twin-vortex Roots-type supercharger with twin air-to-water intercoolers tucked under the plastic vanity cover. Should you wish to accessorize your engine bay, Jaguar will swap that cover for one in carbon fiber for a cool $2,000. While the XKR, XFR and XJ Supersport have to make do with only 510HP/461lb-ft from this engine, the “-S” (and $34,000) buys an extra 40 ponies and 41lb-ft. You also get a revised exhaust, a tweaked 6-speed ZF automatic, sportier programming for the active suspension and electronic differential and a host of suspension changes, including fully machined steering knuckles (that increase caster and camber stiffness), increased steering effort, improved steering feedback, and 28% stiffer spring rates.

Back to those 550 horses. The only Porsche in this rarefied club is the Panamera Turbo S, while the only Aston is the One-77. BMW’s M5 and M6 put out 560, and from the bow-tie brand, only the Corvette ZR1 and Camaro ZL1 are more powerful.

The exterior and engine may have been reworked, but on the inside the “-S” boils down to some trim, some modified seats and a 190MPH speedo. In a strange twist, our tester was fitted with the “London Tan” interior, a standard color combo available on the lesser XKR. The XKR-S exclusive interiors are the better choice and feature “carbon fiber effect” leather trim, and bold-colored stitching and piping. The sport seats (optional on XKR) are designed to accommodate a 5-point harness, but aside from the fact they are standard and the “R-S” logos on the tiller and dash, you’d be hard pressed to tell the XKR-S and XKR apart inside. Speaking of not being able to tell the difference, the sport-grip-free steering wheel from the base XK and XF makes an encore in the XKR-S. While it’s not a bad tiller, it doesn’t feel as nice as new XJ’s wheel and the lack of ergonomic thumb grips keeps the XKR-S from feeling as sporty as the BMW and Mercedes competition.

While I’m complaining about the interior, let’s talk infotainment. 2012 has brought essentially no changes to the system shared with the Jaguar XF. The system is simple to use and well laid out but the lag between pressing a “button” and the system responding is long and screen changes are glacial. I appreciate minimalist design in theory, but in practice, putting controls like heated seats and a heated steering wheel in a sluggish system make them more aggravating than trying to stab the right button in a cluttered button bank. While some voice command systems have received harsh commentary from me in the past, I think even a lackluster system is better than none at all as we had to park the XKR-S to enter a navigation destination.

Like the XF, iPod and iPhone integration is well done, easy to use and allows essentially full access to your iDevices. While Mercedes’ COMAND is similarly ancient, Merc does allow voice entry of addresses. I’d like to compare the Jag system to BMW’s newest iDrive, but that’d be like comparing a Palm Pilot to an iPhone. Also on my complaint list is a sound system tuned so bright that even with the treble turned all the way down the Bowers & Wilkins system sounded unbalanced. I didn’t recall this problem in the XKR we drove last year with the same system, so it could be a problem unique to our tester.

Tech quibbles aside; the XKR-S’ raison d’être is not to Tweet or Facebook while commuting. The XKR-S was built for three things: going fast, screaming like a banshee and making passengers wet themselves. If I were a betting man, I’d say it was also designed with the recently announced 560HP M6 in its crosshairs. While the choice of an automatic may seem strange in a sports car, real-world drivability is greatly improved by having a torque converter. If you don’t believe me, just try to drive a Mercedes AMG with a “Speedshift” transmission in stop-and-go traffic up a steep hill. The XKR-S is a willing partner in the mountains, delivering rev-matched downshifts at the flick of a paddle accompanied by exhaust pops and a loud roar sure to spook any cyclists that may be in the middle of your lane. Should that startled tandem tumble, massive steel-and-aluminum monobloc calipers in your choice of red or black paired with upgraded pads and massive 15-inch vented front and 14.8 vented rear rotors stop the XKR-S in record time. Every time.

Jaguar tells us the XKR-S was tuned on the Nürburgring and runs a 7:50 lap in convertible form. Let’s put that in perspective. Over a 17.8 mile long course, an XKR-S will only run a few seconds behind a Ford GT, Lamborghini Gallardo, Lamborghini Murcielago, Ferrari 599 or a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. This shapely lump of hand-stitched leather posted a time faster than the previous generation M5, Ferrari F430, Panamera Turbo, Corvette Z06 and a wide variety of Aston Martins. With numbers like that it should come as no surprise that grip is excellent and limits are high. Aiding in your fun is a re-tuned stability nanny that has a track mode with higher limits than the XKR and a full-off mode should you dare. Yet, it’s not the grip that amused while flinging the XKR-S around the coastal mountains of Northern California, it was the acceleration which can only be described as savage. OK, maybe eye-popping. Possibly brutal. Definitely insane. Putting numbers to these adjectives, we clocked a 3.8 second run to 60 with massive wheel spin, smoke and severe intervention by the electronic differential and traction control software, but most importantly: no roll-out. Because that’s how we roll. Compared to the XKR we tested last year, this is a significant 0.7-0.8 second improvement.

While the XKR-S doesn’t claim to have launch control, we discovered the traction control systems and e-diff work best when you just nail the go-pedal from a stop rather than try to control wheel-spin on your own. Not worrying about lifting to maximize acceleration also allows you to enjoy the raucous noise bellowing out of the tailpipes. By the time the thrill of an automatic with DSG-like gear changes wore off and we did decide to lift, we were at 140 having blown well past the 12-second flat quarter-mile at 122MPH. Numbers like these are pointless without comparison. While the Panamera Turbo S may clock 3.6 second runs to 60 according to the auto-rags, those tests are often conducted with a roll-out. Besides, the XKR-S’s 122MPH 1/4 mile bests the 118 we clocked with a privately owned Panamera we were lent for a few hours.

While I hate to be speculative in any review, the XKR-S’s introduction just months before the new M6 begs at least an arm-chair comparison. A full M6 review will be posted when we can con one out of the Germans. For the rest of you, let’s start with the numbers. The new M6 may deliver 10 more horsepower than the XKR-S, but it is down 2lb-ft of torque compared with the Jag at peak. The curves indicate that BMW is putting some serious boost into their 4.4L V8 with peak power coming on a 6,000RPM and staying strong to 7,000 while peak torque happens at a very low 1,500RPM all the way to 5,750. Jag’s 5.0L engine created its maximum power from 6,000-6,500 RPM and peak torque from 2,500-5,500RPM. The XKR-S fights BMW’s broader bands with zero lag from its supercharger and a 260lb lower curb weight. Of course both Jaguar and BMW are known to quote conservative power figures, so this battle will continue on the track. The M6 will sport BMW’s 7-speed double clutch gearbox known for its fast changes, but I don’t expect it to be any smoother than the model used in the previous generation M5 making the XKR-s the better daily driver. Both the XKR-S and the M6 are similarly balanced in terms of weight, but the Jag wears skinnier rubber up front (255 vs the M6′s standard 265 width tires) and is slightly heavier in the nose, despite the lower curb weight. As a result I expect 0-60 runs will be very close with much of the variation down to the road surface and the final tire choice on the BMW.

 

Without a doubt, the XKR-S is a significant evolution of the standard car. Folksy Briticisms about mutton and lamb don’t apply here; the XKR-S is a predator, much like its feline namesake, and while the “space” part of William Lyons’ famous maxim may be missing, it makes up for it with “grace” and “pace” – lots and lots of it.

Jaguar provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-10: 0.65 Seconds

0-20: 1.14 Seconds

0-30: 1.18 Seconds

0-40: 2.61 Seconds

0-50: 3.24 Seconds

0-60: 3.83 Seconds

0-70: 4.98 Seconds

0-80: 6.06 Seconds

0-90: 7.12 Seconds

0-100: 8.42 Seconds

0-110: 10.17 Seconds

0-120: 11.84 Seconds

1/4 mile: 12.0 @ 122 MPH

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Review: 2012 Ford F-150 Platinum 5.0L V8 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/review-2012-ford-f-150-titanium-5-0l-v8/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/review-2012-ford-f-150-titanium-5-0l-v8/#comments Fri, 06 Jan 2012 17:15:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=424371 I live in the country, well outside city limits in the septic tank/well/propane tank kind of area. Like many that live out where the blacktop ends, we have some farm animals, over a mile of fencing and a pasture in need of TLC. Since I’m a DINK and have a day job that has nothing to do with my animal husbandry, I’m apparently the perfect demographic for a luxury pickup. True to form, the last 5 times I shopped, I wanted a pickup truck. Badly. Every time it came time to put money down however, I ended up with a sedan, station wagon or SUV. Still, I’m not ashamed to admit my loins burn for a “cowboy Cadillac”, and now that my GMC Envoy has 140,000 miles on the clock it’s time for a 6,000lb tow-capable replacement. Since the HD pickup trucks are honestly overkill for the majority of us, I hit Ford up for an F-150 Platinum to see if I should take the plunge.


The F-150 has been Ford’s best-selling nameplate and the best-selling vehicle for 30 years and the best-selling truck for 35 years. If you wonder how the F-150 manages to be all things to so many buyers, you have to look at the F-150 as if it were several different vehicles that share the same name. With 10 different models ranging from the $22,990 no-frills XL to a nearly $56,000 Platinum model, few other vehicles have a price spread like the F-150. Adding to your shopping dilemma is a line-up with four different engines, three cab sizes, four bed sizes and more axle options than you can shake a stick at. For our review we were given the high end F-150 Platinum 4×4 with the 5.0L V8.

In 2009 Ford released the 12th generation F-150 which was bigger in almost every way compared to the 2008 model, adding a taller hood, bigger cabs and a nifty tailgate spoiler. In typical Ford fashion, the powertrains were largely carried over and we had to wait until 2011 to get the full picture of the “completely new” F-150. Let’s shake up the typical review format by talking engines first: the 2009 and 2010 F-150s were V8-only trucks, with the old 4.6L or 5.4L V8 under the hood. 2011 brought not one but four new engines to the F-150; two V6 options and two hefty V8s. All engines for 2011, including the base V6, are mated to Ford’s six-speed automatic transmission and optional 4WD.

Platinum F-150s come with a standard “Coyote” 5.0L V8 (as our model was equipped) which delivers a healthy 360HP and 380lb-ft at 5500 and 4250 RPM. Our 4×4 equipped tester delivered a 6.75-second sprint to 60. If you have displacement envy, you can jump up to the 411HP and 434lb-ft 6.2L V8 for an extra $2755, but the ringer in the group is the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 model which delivers 365HP at 5000RPM and a whopping 420lb-ft of twist at a diesel like 2500RPM for only $895 more than the base 5.0L V8. If the bang-for-the-buck doesn’t pique your interest, the EPA numbers on the 4×4 models might: 14/19 for the 5.0, 12/16 for the 6.2 and 15/21 for the Ecoboost (eco is a relative term apparently). While the 6.2L V8 sounds incredible, a short towing demo I had in an Ecoboost V6 (and the larger payload capacity of the Ecoboost model) made me doubt whether anyone would be better off with the big-daddy V8. The only downside we noticed: slight turbo lag at the stoplights.


On the outside, Platinum models are distinguished with a revised grille that attempts to soften the bold lines worn by its blue-collar brethren with perforated bars. Unique wheels and an enormous brushed-aluminum panel on the tailgate tagged with “PLATINUM” complete the “I run the company” image. While the badging is more subtle than an Escalade, it still lets other F-150 drivers know how you roll.

GM’s pickups feature your choice of a “work-truck” interior, or a car-like dashboard borrowed from GM’s full-size SUVs while Dodge’s mantra seems to just be “cheap plastic”. Instead of taking either approach, Ford uses one interior theme for all models but as you climb the price-ladder, bits and pieces are swapped out for swankier duds. The base XL gets a rubbery steering wheel, mono-tone dashboard and a durable black plastic center console while top-end F-150s can be had with two-tone dashes, a stitched pleather gauge hood, and faux-wood trim or acres of brushed aluminum. Unlike some of GM’s attempts at “tarting-up” their work trucks, the F-150 feels comfortable all-dressed up.


Joining the new engines for 2011 is a tweaked instrument cluster which now sports a 4.2-inch LCD between the speedo and tach (not offered on the F-150 XL, optional on XLT and standard on other F-150s). The screen is used for the usual trip computer and vehicles settings as well as displaying off-road information like vehicle pitch and yaw. Joining the snazzy in-dash LCD on the Platinum model is a revised steering wheel, standard backup camera, ambient lighting, power-lowering running boards, integrated trailer brake controller, remote start, 110V power outlet, power folding mirrors, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, backup sensors, heated and cooled seats, and dual-zone climate control. If you don’t plan on adding a lumber rack, an optional sunroof is available, as is Ford’s SYNC navigation. MyTouch critics will be pleased to note that the updates SYNC system hasn’t made its way to the F-150 just yet. The up-side is improved reliability and a snappier interface, the downside is the loss of WiFi connectivity and the second USB port, a small price to pay in my mind. While the build quality isn’t up to Audi levels, entry level luxury shoppers will find just about every creature comfort they could ask for.

The Platinum can only be had with the four-door “SuperCrew” cab and as a result, the payload suffers somewhat starting at 1,800lbs with the 5.0L V8 and 2WD, jumping to 2,000 with the Ecoboost V6, dropping sharply to 1,680lbs due to the added weight of the 6.2L V8. These are some serious hauling numbers that required a ¾ ton pickup truck to achieve not too long ago. Thisare a hair shy of the 3100lb payload capacity mentioned in some F-150 ads, possible in only two of the 57 axle/cab/engine combinations.  Compared to the Ram and Chevy, the Ford offers consistently higher payload capacities but more configuration options to wade through, so be sure to check the configuration and the door labels on your truck before you add a pallet of concrete to your weekend.

For the trailer-loving truck-buyer, the endless battle between the big-three for top-dog towing numbers has resulted in some impressive figures. Depending on your axle ratio and drive (2WD or 4WD) choice, towing tops out at a whopping 11,300lbs for the Ecoboost, 11,200 for the 6.2L V8 and a notably lower but still substantial 9,500lbs with the base 5.0L V8. Making towing easier, Ford includes an integrated trailer brake controller standard on the Platinum and a few other F-150 models. If you tow regularly and care about maintenance on your rig, there’s now an app for that. While Ford obviously ripped Apple with their “Truck App” name, it does provide some handy features like keeping track of the mileage on 10 different trailers and remembering the brake gain for each trailer. In order to keep your “distance to empty” figures more accurate, it also recalculates the averages when you have a trailer connected.

If you’re looking at the Platinum, you’d better have deep pockets Then again, if you’re the weekend warrior type, it’s cheaper than your comparable BMW X5. Our tester started with a sticker of $44,325 on top of which was added a $470 electronic locking axle, 6-1/2-foot bed, $325 folding side-steps and a $2,465 option package which included a sunroof and navigation system taking our tester to the nose-bleed section at $52,405. If that price frightens you, $27,670 buys you my personal favorite: the F-150 XL with the Ecoboost V6, 8-foot bed, 3.55:1 locking rear axle, cloth seats, power accessories, CD player and cruise control. Configured in this way the F-150 delivers 3060lbs of payload capacity and 9,800lbs of towing ability.

At the end of the week I found myself more in love with trucks than when I started. There was just one problem. The F-150 is huge. As with most vehicles these days the F-150 has been growing like the Stay Pufft Marshmallow Man. While I used to feel like a man when I was in college out muddin’ in my buddy’s F-150, the 2011 Ford makes me feel small, and adult-Alex has at least 40lbs on his former college self. With the CUV craze killing off SUV towing capacity, the day for me to finally take the truck plunge is rapidly approaching. The four-door luxury pickup truck may be the right truck for an Austin professional with a ranchette in the burbs, but I can’t shake the feeling that I would be best served lusting for the new Ford Ranger from afar and buying a diesel Touareg. I’d still dream pickup dreams in my sleep however.

 

Ford provided the vehicle for our review, insurance and one tank of gas.

Statistics as tested

0-30: 2.514 Seconds

0-60: 6.75 Seconds

Fuel Economy: over 555 miles, 17.0MPG

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