The Truth About Cars » Jaguar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 30 Oct 2014 03:55:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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 » Jaguar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Maserati Is Surging In The United States http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/maserati-surging-united-states/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/maserati-surging-united-states/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:26:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935506 How does one make it in America? Grow your product portfolio by 50%. Grow your North American dealership network by 29%. Make all-wheel-drive a part of your business’s best practices. Spend $11 million airing a commercial during the Super Bowl while only bothering to display your product at the tail end of the ad. Name […]

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Maserati GhibliHow does one make it in America? Grow your product portfolio by 50%. Grow your North American dealership network by 29%. Make all-wheel-drive a part of your business’s best practices. Spend $11 million airing a commercial during the Super Bowl while only bothering to display your product at the tail end of the ad. Name your products after a Mediterranean wind, the number of doors they possess, or a video game.

And continue to place one of the industry’s coolest logos on a highly visible portion of all your products.

Cue year-over-year Maserati sales growth in the United States of 307% through the first nine months of 2014, a gain of 6884 units.

Maserati’s U.S. volume has grown in 16 consecutive months. Already in 2014, with one-quarter of the year remaining, Maserati sold more cars than in any year in the company’s not terribly illustrious history; more cars in nine months than in the previous 32 combined.

Yes, Maserati remains a very low-volume brand. Only 1318 Maseratis were sold during the month of September, the brand’s best-ever month of selling cars in America.

But they’re not the lowest-volume brand, either, at least not lately. We’re not just talking about the obvious bit players like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, and Bentley, but Jaguar, too. Maserati outsold Jaguar by 49 units in August and by 176 units in September. Jaguar USA sold more than 61,000 new vehicles in 2002, a figure which tumbled in five consecutive years before rising slightly in 2008, falling to fewer than 12,000 units in 2009, and climbing back in 2013 to fewer than 17,000 sales.

Jaguar volume is down 5% through three-quarters of 2014 to 11,830 units, 2705 more sales than Maserati has managed. (Jaguar sells cars through 163 dealers in the United States, translating to eight sales per showroom per month.) We’ve already discussed the F-Type-centric nature of Jaguar’s current portfolio.

Naturally, Maserati’s goals are not Jaguar-based. Besides, Jaguar’s product lineup will expand in the near future with a far more affordable XE while the C-X17 Concept previewed a non-Land Rover crossover. Of course, Maserati plans to join the ess-you-vee game, too. In 2012, Maserati hoped to triple global sales between 2012 and 2015 to 50,000 units. The addition of the Ghibli makes this dream possible.

Maserati refused to provide model-specific sales data when asked last week, saying, “We are not able to disclose such granular information at this time.” If we use current Cars.com inventory levels as a general guide, the Ghibli would account for 59% of Maserati sales in the U.S., or around 5380 year-to-date sales. The Quattroporte would generate another 26% of the brand’s volume, or approximately 2370 year-to-date sales. Finally, the GranTurismo lineup would attract the remaining 15% of buyers, about 1370 sales so far this year.

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TTAC AMA: I Own A Catera And An X-Type http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ttac-ama-catera-x-type/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ttac-ama-catera-x-type/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 16:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930450 This week’s AMA is a double-header, courtesy of reader Mark, who might be the only person who will cop to owning both a Cadillac Catera and a Jaguar X-Type. Hello there!   Many among us would question a man’s motive for buying a 1997 Cadillac Catera.  Internet lore speaks of the horrors wrought upon aspirational Boomers […]

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This week’s AMA is a double-header, courtesy of reader Mark, who might be the only person who will cop to owning both a Cadillac Catera and a Jaguar X-Type.

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Hello there!
 
Many among us would question a man’s motive for buying a 1997 Cadillac Catera.  Internet lore speaks of the horrors wrought upon aspirational Boomers by the Catera’s forebear, the Cimarron.  Dancing cartoon ducks and Cindy Crawford couldn’t draw attention away from the lowly badge-engineered, Lumina doppelgänger, awful-in-a-dealer-install-Landau-top profile.  No amount of praise for road manners and “initial quality” could mask the Catera’s premature tensioner failures and long list of gremlins that no doubt put serious miles on tow trucks well into the early 2000s.  
 
What, then, do we think when this man doubles down and puts his hard-earned cash toward a 2004 Jaguar X-Type?  Surely he must be bereft of his faculties!  One Pokemon short of catching them all.  Maybe it was those sensual British curves wrapped over Ford Mondeo hard points that captivated him.  Perhaps he dismissed all those “ten worst” lists featuring both of his cars as so much haterade poured over all the near-luxury those low-information plebs would never attain in their lifetime.  Maybe he’s a cat person and couldn’t do without a Leaper on his hood.  
 
Be it a case of one flew over the Cuckoo’s nest, or one man’s quest to prove the Greater Fool theory has a terminal threshold, this is my story and it only ends when the cars stop moving under their own power.  Ask me anything.  

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And The Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/winner/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/winner/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 15:50:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=928185 Well, my Grandma has found a car! Despite looking at the Fit, Accent and other subcompacts, she’s decided to go with a 2014 Jaguar XK-RS convertible. Thanks for your help everyone! In unrelated news, I will no longer be getting my inheritance. Just kidding. The winner has been selected, and will be revealed when she takes delivery […]

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Well, my Grandma has found a car! Despite looking at the Fit, Accent and other subcompacts, she’s decided to go with a 2014 Jaguar XK-RS convertible. Thanks for your help everyone! In unrelated news, I will no longer be getting my inheritance.

Just kidding. The winner has been selected, and will be revealed when she takes delivery at the end of the month*

*Unlike in America, ordering/waiting for your new car is common in Canada

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McCullough: Diesel Evoque Under Consideration For US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mccullough-diesel-evoque-consideration-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mccullough-diesel-evoque-consideration-us-market/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927682 Mrs. Beckham’s contribution to the automotive world, the Land Rover Evoque, may gain diesel power in the United States sometime soon. AutoGuide reports the plan to place a diesel engine under the bonnet of the crossover is “being considered,” according to Jaguar Land Rover North America marketing vice president Kim McCullough. At present, only the […]

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Mrs. Beckham’s contribution to the automotive world, the Land Rover Evoque, may gain diesel power in the United States sometime soon.

AutoGuide reports the plan to place a diesel engine under the bonnet of the crossover is “being considered,” according to Jaguar Land Rover North America marketing vice president Kim McCullough. At present, only the 2-liter EcoBoost powers the U.S. market model, as the 2.2-liter diesel sold elsewhere cannot meet emissions here.

JLR’s £500 million ($804 million USD) engine production plant will begin production early in 2015 of a 2-liter Ingenium diesel, which will first find a home in the U.S. under the bonnet of the new Jaguar XE. The Ingenium turbo-four gasoline engine will also likely replace the EcoBoost sometime in the future, though McCullough declined to confirm anything more.

As for the diesel Evoque, she believes greater acceptance of diesels overall in the U.S. market could help Land Rover navigate its way through increasing fuel-efficiency targets, with Ingenium diesels landing in U.S. market Jaguar and Land Rover models as the product cycle moves forward.

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U.S. Spec Jaguar XE Will Get Diesel Engine http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/u-s-spec-jaguar-xe-will-get-diesel-engine/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/u-s-spec-jaguar-xe-will-get-diesel-engine/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 21:33:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922721 Jaguar will launch its new XE sedan with a diesel engine in the United States, when it goes on sale in 2016 as a 2017 model. Because the new Jaguar 4-cylinder diesel engines have not yet met U.S. emissions regulations, Jaguar likely needs time to certify them, and according to Automotive News, wants to launch the […]

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Jaguar will launch its new XE sedan with a diesel engine in the United States, when it goes on sale in 2016 as a 2017 model.

Because the new Jaguar 4-cylinder diesel engines have not yet met U.S. emissions regulations, Jaguar likely needs time to certify them, and according to Automotive News, wants to launch the XE with the diesel engine, as well as all-wheel drive. Apparently, the now confirmed manual transmission will not be in the cars either.

 

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Jaguar’s New 4-Cylinder Engines Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/jaguars-new-4-cylinder-engines-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/jaguars-new-4-cylinder-engines-revealed/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:43:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921745   Before we get into the details of Jaguar’s new lineup of modular 4-cylinder engines, let us rejoice. There will be a manual transmission available. In addition to an 8-speed automatic, the new turbocharged 2.0L gasoline and diesel I4 engines will be available with a 6-speed manual gearbox, marking the first stick-shift Jag since the […]

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Before we get into the details of Jaguar’s new lineup of modular 4-cylinder engines, let us rejoice. There will be a manual transmission available.

In addition to an 8-speed automatic, the new turbocharged 2.0L gasoline and diesel I4 engines will be available with a 6-speed manual gearbox, marking the first stick-shift Jag since the X-Type.

The gasoline engines will come in two trims, producing 197 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque, or 236 horsepower and 250 lb-ft. The diesels will offer 161 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, or 177 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. The “lower end” diesel will also output under 100 grams of CO2 and return 75 mpg on the European cycle, which should help it be an attractive choice in the all-important company car market, while also dodging CO2-based taxes in certain world markets. Aside from the recently revealed Jaguar XE, these new engines will also appear in other Jaguar Land Rover products in the near future.

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Potential Second-Gen Jaguar XF Caught Testing In The Wild http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/potential-second-gen-jaguar-xf-caught-testing-wild/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/potential-second-gen-jaguar-xf-caught-testing-wild/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 10:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916794 Now that Jaguar bestowed the XE upon the world, the automaker’s engineers and designers are turning toward updating the XF as the first generation draws closer to the end. Autoblog reports the second-gen XF will likely be based upon the same iQ A1 platform used for the XE, along with losing a few pounds and […]

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Now that Jaguar bestowed the XE upon the world, the automaker’s engineers and designers are turning toward updating the XF as the first generation draws closer to the end.

Autoblog reports the second-gen XF will likely be based upon the same iQ A1 platform used for the XE, along with losing a few pounds and gaining some new tech.

Under the bonnet, firepower will mostly remain the same, from four-pot diesels to supercharged V8, as well as the introduction of a PHEV variant. Rear- and all-wheel drive should still be around, as well as the choice between sedan and wagon.

Whatever happens, the new XF has some stiff competition waiting outside the assembly line, including the Audi A6, Infiniti Q70 and Volvo S90. Until that day, however, a few spy photos shall suffice.

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Jaguar XE Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/jaguar-xe-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/jaguar-xe-revealed/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 19:15:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908777 Despite all the hype around the Jaguar XE and its new lineup of ultra-efficient 4-cylinder engines, Jaguar has chosen to reveal their new 3-Series fighter with only the most sporting trim level. Revealed today in London, the XE-S packs the base F-Type’s 340 horsepower supercharged 3.0L V6. 60 mph will come up in 4.9 seconds, and […]

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Despite all the hype around the Jaguar XE and its new lineup of ultra-efficient 4-cylinder engines, Jaguar has chosen to reveal their new 3-Series fighter with only the most sporting trim level.

Revealed today in London, the XE-S packs the base F-Type’s 340 horsepower supercharged 3.0L V6. 60 mph will come up in 4.9 seconds, and power is sent to the wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. Aside from that, details were scant.

_JAGUAR_XE_INT_08 JAGUAR_XE_S_01 JAGUAR_XE_S_02 JAGUAR_XE_S_03 JAGUAR_XE_S_05 JAGUAR_XE_S_06 JAGUAR_XE_S_07 JAGUAR_XE_S_DETAIL_01 JAGUAR_XE_S_DETAIL_02 JAGUAR_XE_S_DETAIL_03 JAGUAR_XE_S_DETAIL_04 JAGUAR_XE_S_DETAIL_05 JAGUAR_XE_S_DYNAMIC_01 JAGUAR_XE_S_DYNAMIC_02 JAGUAR_XE_S_DYNAMIC_03 JAGUAR_XE_S_INT_01 JAGUAR_XE_S_INT_02 JAGUAR_XE_S_INT_03 JAGUAR_XE_S_INT_04 JAGUAR_XE_S_INT_05 JAGUAR_XE_S_INT_06 JAGUAR_XE_S_INT_07 JAGUAR_XE_S_LONDON_01 JAGUAR_XE_S_LONDON_02 Jaguar XE World Premier Jaguar XE World Premier Jag_XE_Helicopter_Image_080914_04 Jag_XE_Landing_Craft_Image_080914_01 Jag_XE_Landing_Craft_Image_080914_02 Jag_XE_Landing_Craft_Image_080914_03 Jag_XE_Landing_Craft_Image_080914_04 Jag_XE_Landing_Craft_Image_080914_05

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US-Spec Jaguar F-Type Project 7 Unveiled At Pebble Beach http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-spec-jaguar-f-type-project-7-unveiled-pebble-beach/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-spec-jaguar-f-type-project-7-unveiled-pebble-beach/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=894002 Unveiled at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the U.S.-spec Jaguar F-Type Project 7 will make its home in a few garages beginning next spring. Autoblog reports the limited edition roadster — developed by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations — will leave showrooms in 2015 for a base price of $165,000. A tribute to […]

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Unveiled at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the U.S.-spec Jaguar F-Type Project 7 will make its home in a few garages beginning next spring.

Autoblog reports the limited edition roadster — developed by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations — will leave showrooms in 2015 for a base price of $165,000. A tribute to the D-Type, the Project 7 will have a 5-liter supercharged V8 delivering 575 horsepower to the back, pushing the cat to a limited peak of 186 mph with a nil-to-60 charge out of the gate in 3.8 seconds.

As for what color to paint your roadster, the Project 7 can be had in either Glacier White or Ultra Blue, with British Racing Green, Ultimate Black and Caldera Red as optional colors.

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Jaguar Lightweight E-Type Prototype To Bow At 2014 Pebble Beach Concours http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/jaguar-lightweight-e-type-prototype-bow-2014-pebble-beach-concours/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/jaguar-lightweight-e-type-prototype-bow-2014-pebble-beach-concours/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 10:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889217 Should you find yourself at Pebble Beach this weekend for the golf course’s famed Concours d’Elegance, you’ll be able to gaze upon the prototype for Jaguar’s newest skunk works project, the Lightweight E-Type. Autoblog reports the prototype, known as “Car Zero,” will join Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations’ Pebble Beach lineup, posing for all the photos […]

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Should you find yourself at Pebble Beach this weekend for the golf course’s famed Concours d’Elegance, you’ll be able to gaze upon the prototype for Jaguar’s newest skunk works project, the Lightweight E-Type.

Autoblog reports the prototype, known as “Car Zero,” will join Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations’ Pebble Beach lineup, posing for all the photos alongside the Range Rover Sport SVR and F-Type Project 7 during the Concours’ opening reception August 14. Once its promotional activities and testing are complete, the prototype will become a permanent part of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust’s collection.

As reported earlier, the final six Lightweight E-Types are picking up where the series left off in 1964, following the production of the 12th vehicle in the limited edition series. Each of the six will be built-to-order at JLR Special Operations’ Jaguar Heritage workshop, and all will be FIA-certified for historic racing.

The all-aluminum E-Type is driven to anger through a 3.8-liter I6 pushing 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque to the rear 15-inch wheels through a four-speed manual. Each owner will also be presented with a bespoke matching watch from the Bremont Watch Company, just so they can always know when tea (or tee) time is.

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Jaguar Is Selling F-Types, Not Much Else http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/jaguar-selling-f-types-much-else/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/jaguar-selling-f-types-much-else/#comments Sat, 09 Aug 2014 15:01:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884617 By sports car standards, Jaguar is selling a lot of F-Types. By Jaguar standards, Jaguar is selling a lot of F-Types. But Jaguar USA isn’t doing so much with the selling of its other cars. U.S. sales of the XJ, Jaguar’s S-Class rival, are down 16% through the first seven months of 2014 to just […]

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2014 Jaguar F-Type CoupeBy sports car standards, Jaguar is selling a lot of F-Types. By Jaguar standards, Jaguar is selling a lot of F-Types.

But Jaguar USA isn’t doing so much with the selling of its other cars.

U.S. sales of the XJ, Jaguar’s S-Class rival, are down 16% through the first seven months of 2014 to just 2627 units. We don’t expect S-Class-like numbers from the XJ, but these aren’t even XJ-like numbers from the XJ. True, large luxury SUV flagships have done a number on large luxury sedan flagships, but the XJ is a car that attracted more than 10,000 buyers in both 2003 and 2004. Jaguar USA might sell 5000 in 2014.

Context: Mercedes-Benz is selling nearly 1900 S-Class sedans per month in what should be a boom year for the S-Class. The Audi A8, on the other hand, is a perennial low-volume large luxury player, and year-to-date volume is down 12%, but Audi has reported an XJ-besting 3137 A8 sales.

Thankfully, there’s the XF, a car that’s been around since 2008. Its best year was its first full year on the market, 2009, when 8578 were sold. Remember, 2009 was a dreadful year for auto sales in America. Sales of just about everything have increased since then. But XF volume in 2014, now that the range has been hugely expanded, is down 17% compared with the first seven months of 2013, which ended as the XF’s second-best sales U.S. sales year, 8% off 2009’s pace.

Jaguar USA July 2014 sales chartThe XK is dead. We want to be sad that a conservatively handsome British grand tourer has disappeared, but buyers of this type of car won’t miss it, because they weren’t buying XKs to begin with. Only 5674 have been sold in the last 43 months. Porsche has sold 6017 911s in America in the last seven months. No, Jaguar isn’t Porsche. But to suggest that it’s alright for Jaguar to sell the XK in ridiculously small numbers is to forget that the XK has, at points, been half of Jaguar’s lineup. Or a third of the lineup. Or now, a forgotten quarter of Jaguar’s lineup.

The F-Type, on the other hand, especially now that it’s available in both coupe and convertible form, is a popular car by SLK, Z4, TT, Boxster, and Cayman standards, if not the ever-popular 911. Jaguar has sold 2238 F-Types this year. Year-over-year volume during the last three months, the only three months for which we have year-over-year numbers, has risen 48%. The F-Type was Jaguar’s best-selling car in May, when it generated 33% of the brand’s volume. It was Jaguar’s best-selling car in the U.S. in June, when it generated 34% of the brand’s volume. The F-Type was also Jaguar’s best-selling car in the U.S. in July, with 42% of the brand’s volume.

In July, the F-Type’s 501 sales placed it ahead of the Audi TT (101), BMW Z4 (120), and Mercedes-Benz SLK (416). The Boxster and Cayman combined to sell 559 units. Porsche also sold 849 911s.

At 501 units, the F-Type’s best month since it arrived in May of last year, the F-Type easily outsold the Mazda MX-5 and trailed the Nissan 370Z (636 July sales) with surprising closeness. The F-Type isn’t a high-volume car, but among cars of this type, it’s far from being a low-volume car.

The allure of its design, its symphonic engines, and its ability to stretch far upmarket cause enthusiasts to hope against reason that the upcoming entry-level XE – a name which sounds terribly Toyota trim level-like – could be equally gorgeous, equally pleasing to drive, and equally successful.

Non-F-Type Jags are selling very poorly in the United States right now. Combined, the XF, XJ, and XK are down 14.5% this year; they were down 46% in July. The same fate cannot strike the XE a couple or even a few years into its first model cycle.

Or else Tata will be forced to rely on Land Rover for its premium content. Yes, that Land Rover, the brand that currently accounts for 76% of U.S. JLR sales, up from 44% a decade ago.

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Jaguar Reveals Face Of 2016 XE-S Ahead Of September Official Unveiling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/jaguar-reveals-face-2016-xe-s-ahead-september-official-unveiling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/jaguar-reveals-face-2016-xe-s-ahead-september-official-unveiling/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876897 Behold the face of the 2016 Jaguar XE-S. Also: Scottish recording artist Emeli Sandé. Autoblog reports the sports sedan will be launched in early September through a sound + vision extravaganza called FEEL XE. Sandé will be kicking off the festivities in a secret location near the Thames, with influence from social media from now […]

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Behold the face of the 2016 Jaguar XE-S. Also: Scottish recording artist Emeli Sandé.

Autoblog reports the sports sedan will be launched in early September through a sound + vision extravaganza called FEEL XE. Sandé will be kicking off the festivities in a secret location near the Thames, with influence from social media from now until September 8 deciding the direction of the extravaganza. Fashion designer Stella McCartney and actor Idris Elba will also be a part of the promotion through separate projects.

As for the XE-S itself, it may possess under the bonnet either a turbocharged variant of the new Ingenium 2-liter four-cylinder engines, or the 3-liter supercharged V6 from the F-Type S. The XE range as a whole will feature aluminum throughout 75 percent of its architecture, and may be the most fuel-efficient Jaguar ever built to date once official numbers are revealed.

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Jaguar F-Type Project 7 To Debut At Goodwood Festival Of Speed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/jaguar-f-type-project-7-to-debut-at-goodwood-festival-of-speed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/jaguar-f-type-project-7-to-debut-at-goodwood-festival-of-speed/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 20:45:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=851145 The maddest, baddest Jaguar F-Type will debut at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Focus ST Diesel, consider your thunder stolen. Technical details haven’t been announced, but expect the 5.0L V8 in 550 horsepower trim to be under the hood. As if 495 wasn’t enough…

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The maddest, baddest Jaguar F-Type will debut at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Focus ST Diesel, consider your thunder stolen.

Technical details haven’t been announced, but expect the 5.0L V8 in 550 horsepower trim to be under the hood. As if 495 wasn’t enough…

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TTAC Salutes: The Jaguar XK http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/ttac-saultes-the-jaguar-xk/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/ttac-saultes-the-jaguar-xk/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 13:58:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=848050   After nearly a decade of production, Jaguar will finally put down the XK, as budgetary resources and the introduction of the F-Type Coupe make the big cat redundant. Although sales of the XK are up slightly, the big coupe and convertible have been on a general downward trend over the years. According to Automotive News, […]

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After nearly a decade of production, Jaguar will finally put down the XK, as budgetary resources and the introduction of the F-Type Coupe make the big cat redundant.

Although sales of the XK are up slightly, the big coupe and convertible have been on a general downward trend over the years. According to Automotive News, Jaguar wants to focus their resources on the new XE compact luxury sedan, as well as other projects – most likely the long rumored crossover.

Jaguar was adamant that the F-Type is not replacing the XK, which leaves room for a possible replacement down the road. The XK is a larger, more comfortable grand tourer, while the F-Type is positioned as a sports car. But don’t expect to see a new XK for a long time.

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Capsule Review: Jaguar F-Type – Base Is Best http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/capsule-review-jaguar-f-type-base-is-best/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/capsule-review-jaguar-f-type-base-is-best/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 15:30:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=834465 How much power is enough? 300 horsepower? 400? 500? Let’s put it another way? How much is enough to impress people you don’t even like? The vehicle above is identical to the Jaguar F-Type V8S I drove: Sandfire Metallic, Dynamic Mode, cheesy gold-painted plastic paddles (ugh) and an exhaust note that sounds like a 1200cc […]

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How much power is enough? 300 horsepower? 400? 500? Let’s put it another way? How much is enough to impress people you don’t even like?

The vehicle above is identical to the Jaguar F-Type V8S I drove: Sandfire Metallic, Dynamic Mode, cheesy gold-painted plastic paddles (ugh) and an exhaust note that sounds like a 1200cc Harley with the mufflers cut off – with some added popping-and-farting noises programmed in for good measure.

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This is a car that impresses other people. It looks like a sports car, or even a junior exotic. It certainly sounds like one. As I recounted in my last review of the F-Type V6S, it is one automobile that really does make you more attractive to the opposite sex. It’s also the worst F-Type variant on the market.

Ok, the soundtrack is intoxicating – to a point. The only way you can enjoy that mechanical orchestra is to accelerate really quickly and then let off the gas, to decelerate to the point where you might get a hefty speeding ticket, but not a roadside impound. Forget flying under the radar (literally) –  it’s so bloody loud that every highway patrolman or concerned citizen within a 25 mile radius can hear what you’re doing. The Group B rally-car noises plumbed in to the V8 exhaust note is like spiking Chateauneuf-du-Pape with Grape Kool-Aid.

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While you’re doing busy making a scene, you are probably negotiating some bends, and the V8S, with its extra two-cylinders, supercharger and associated plumbing and massive wheels, feels substantially heavier than the other models. The difference coming out of the two cars is drastic, like you’ve just removed a rucksack full of dumbbells from its back…err, front.

The best comparison that can be made is between the various last-gen Mustangs. As you go from a Shelby GT500 to a V8 to a V6, you feel the nose get lighter and lighter progressively. Which shouldn’t matter on a less track-focused car that’s all about excitement and getting attention to make up for a lack of parental love. But it does, especially when you’re getting an indicated 11 mpg, while trying to use the F-Type’s quad pipes to recreate the sounds of the Battle of Britain.

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When it was time to return the V8S, I felt satisfied that I had been sufficiently validated by anonymous motorists and pedestrians. It was time for the V6S – or so I thought. Horror of horrors, it turned out that I was incorrect. It was a V6. The base V6. Oh, the indignity of having to drive a base model F-Type, with just 340 horsepower (rather than the 380 ponies of the V6S), a (slightly) quieter exhaust, and smaller wheels without faux-Brembo red calipers.

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Well, it turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. As good as the V6S I raved about last fall? No. But there would be no shame in driving one of these every day, because if nothing else, it’s more exciting than a base Boxster. For starters, the aforementioned front-end liposuction works wonders in everyday situations. The base F-Type actually feels nimble and easy to toss around, to say nothing of maneuvering through traffic. There’s still Dynamic Mode, the active exhaust and a Sport Mode for the transmission, which makes things a fair bit louder and a bit more raw, without sacrificing everyday comfort or drawing the ire of your neighbors when coming home late at night.

Despite being down 40 horsepower compared to the V6S, the base car is still reasonably quick, but adds another level of engagement to the experience. You have to work the car a bit harder to access the still-plentiful power reserves, and in the real word, that’s often more rewarding – meanwhile, fuel economy was an observed 23 mpg, or about double what I recorded during the V8S’ totally unscientific acceleration/efficiency testing. At a base price of $69,000, it’s also about $23,000 less than the V8S.

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Ask yourself, can you live with an extra $23,000, while also having to tell people that yes, the V6 models are actually the superior choice? I tried, and my explanations about less weight over the nose, a more exotic soundtrack (the V8 sounds like a cross between a Spitfire aircraft and a Pontiac GTO – the V6 sounds like a cross between a Lancia Stratos and Hendrix’s version of Voodoo Chile ) and, worst of all, less horsepower

Personally, I gave up, exasperated, but I didn’t care. A lot of people do. They have to be able to tell people that they bought the best, the most powerful, the most expensive, even if its capabilities are so beyond them, it would be like giving a .500 S&W Magnum to somebody who doesn’t know how to fire a .38. It’s all that most F-Type buyers really need, but when does logic ever pop into the sports car purchase decision?

I know this because I’m the kind of person that felt exactly the same way about the V6 Mustang – it’s more nimble and agile, it’s got plenty of power and it’s the better choice for most daily driving situations. But I’m vain, and I’d never buy a V6 Mustang because then, you won’t be impressing strangers and people you don’t actually like. But I’m human, and prone to inconsistencies bordering on the hypocritical. And with the F-Type, I’m making a deviation from my usual logic.

I wish I could close out the article by saying that my girlfriend agrees that the V6 is her choice too, but she just dumped me.  All I can think about is how even though the Porsche Boxster is a sharper machine, I’d really like to go for a drive in the F-Type right now. Given the chance, I would take the V6, not the V8, to help me clear my head and get over the fact that my passenger seat is going to be empty for the next little while.

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Jaguar Will Finish Lightweight E-Type Project 50 Years After It Began http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/jaguar-will-finish-lightweight-e-type-project-50-years-after-it-began/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/jaguar-will-finish-lightweight-e-type-project-50-years-after-it-began/#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 11:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=821330 Those with enough money their pockets and desire a new Jaguar E-Type could opt for the restomod offerings from Eagle, and would likely be happy with what they receive. However, an exclusive few may manage to snag a new E-Type directly from Jaguar as soon as this summer, when the automaker finishes the final six […]

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Those with enough money their pockets and desire a new Jaguar E-Type could opt for the restomod offerings from Eagle, and would likely be happy with what they receive. However, an exclusive few may manage to snag a new E-Type directly from Jaguar as soon as this summer, when the automaker finishes the final six of 18 Lightweight E-Types after a five-decade pause in production.

Autoblog reports the program — begun in 1963 — will pick up where it left off in 1964, when the last of the first 12 of the all-aluminium cars rolled out of the factory. At the time, the remaining sextet of E-Types had chassis numbers ready to go, only for life to take Jaguar elsewhere.

With the numbers found, however, the automaker will at last build the missing cars. The work will occur in-house, with its craftsman hand-building each one to the exact specs as the original 12, all of them powered by an aluminium 3.8-liter I6. The cars will weigh 250 pounds less than the standard E-Type.

As for when and where the first Lightweight will roll off the line, Jaguar says the car could arrive sometime this summer, though “established Jaguar collectors, expecially those with historic race car interests,” will have first dibs on the six vehicles. No price has been stated thus far.

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Drive Slow, Homie http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/drive-slow-homie/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/drive-slow-homie/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 11:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=789233   A good friend of mine has a bit of wisdom that I try to follow whenever possible: “Say yes to everything.” It’s easy to misconstrue this as encouragement to engage in promiscuous behavior, ingestion of narcotics and other activities that are indicative of poor future-time orientation. Instead, it’s an exhortation to open oneself up […]

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A good friend of mine has a bit of wisdom that I try to follow whenever possible: “Say yes to everything.” It’s easy to misconstrue this as encouragement to engage in promiscuous behavior, ingestion of narcotics and other activities that are indicative of poor future-time orientation. Instead, it’s an exhortation to open oneself up to experiences and opportunities, without regard for the kind of details that the more neurotic among us might obsess over.

I kept this in mind when I got a call from a local fleet manager not long ago. His offer was simple: drive a brand new Jaguar XKR for a week. As always, there were conditions attached.

1) This was, literally, a brand new car. When I picked up the keys, it had roughly 50 miles on it.

2) I had to help with the “break-in”, which meant driving it fairly long distances, and with extra care in mind. Gentle acceleration was fine. Mashing the throttle and lighting up the rears in an effort to recreate the audible signature of a Spitfire (aircraft, not roadster) was not.

3) The last of the winter weather had yet to recede. Temperatures were still in the mid to high thirties, sporadic flurries had not yet given way to spring showers, and the car was wearing a set of fat Pirelli P Zeros.

Did I mention the 510 horsepower supercharged 5.0L V8?

Challenge accepted.

The XK has been out since the 2006 model year, and it’s only just starting to look dated right now – especially inside. As Alex Dykes noted in prior reviews, the steering wheel looks like something you would have found in a Hertz Prestige Collection car a decade ago. The most bit of evidence in our exercise in dendrochronology is the in-dash touch screen. Even though it dates back to 2006, it looks and feels more like Windows 95, though it works well enough.

To jaded enthusiasts already charmed by the Sloan Ranger flash of the F-Type, the XK might look a little stale. To everyone else, you’re driving the only supercar that doesn’t cause a reflexive feeling of hostility. Pedestrians stop and stare, little children point and, crucially, other motorists will let you in when attempting to change lanes or make left turns. You will frequently get this car confused for an Aston Martin, at which point, you have to inform them of one major difference: this thing is actually good to drive.

My lone experience with Aston Martin proved to be a real letdown. The V8 Vantage was a victim of an immense, Clarkson-driven jingoistic hype machine. Well, that’s not entirely true. The V8 Vantage was fairly well-reviewed, mostly by journalists who were angling to get back on another Aston Martin junket. Since I drove a privately owned car and my self-worth isn’t based on what junkets I get invited to, I can let you in on a secret.

The V8 Vantage was barely quicker than a 4.6L Mustang from the same era, and arguably less satisfying to drive. Not a whole lot has changed in the interim. Save yourself the $20,000 (likely more, once options are added) and buy this. It’s a bit quieter, a bit less impressive to the bystanders that you imagine are staring at you admiringly, but it’s better in the real world.

At typical speeds, this is an extremely comfortable car. Even with the comically large 20″ wheels and 20-Series tires, the ride over Toronto’s pothole-and-frost-ridden roads is superb. Somehow, the ride remains composed without ever feeling soft. Impacts are absorbed, but don’t seem to unsettle the car or make their way through the cowl like some oversprung sporty cars do. At all speeds, the car is quiet – too quiet even. With the windows up, the muted burble of the blown eight is no louder than say, the Hyundai Genesis V8 I recently tested. That’s not a good thing, even for a car that is rightfully considered a Grand Tourer.

Pick up the pace a little, and the XKR responds in a far more athletic manner than any GT has a right to do. With it’s all-aluminum structure, the car feels far lighter on its feet than a BMW M6, though in reality, it’s still just a hair under 4000 lbs, and 250 lbs lighter than the Bimmer. The steering is still hydraulic, but doesn’t have an abundance of feel or feedback. Any confidence inspired by the car is thanks to its composed chassis, which is largely absent of body roll or unwanted motions and the enormous, sticky Pirellis. It might not be the most communicative car on the road, but the XKR is very capable at making its way through turns at far higher velocities than what’s considered socially or legally acceptable.

Where the Jaguar really excels is as a high-speed, long-distance cruiser. By nature of its design, the rearward visibility makes rapidly changing lanes a bit of a challenger, with a rather small aperture that can be viewed by the rear-view mirror. On the plus side, the cushy seats, utter absence of NVH and the superb stereo make the XKR as comfortable as sitting in your favorite armchair, with a subdued NASCAR soundtrack looping in the background – not that you’d ever do something so declasse.

Being forced to drive this car at an artificially gentle pace made me appreciate that the exalted sports cars in our hobby – the Elises, Miatas the E30 M3s and Toyobarus – are fantastic cars when the conditions are perfect and the roads are properly paved and there’s not much else going on in your life to prevent you from unplugging your life and driving for a couple hundred miles to your favorite road.

That scenario is like a first date that stretches into the next morning: often discussed, rarely realized and necessitating unplanned food and bathroom visits, the latter of which can be rather awkward. For every other situation, cars like this are underappreciated. They let you crawl in traffic, take calls via Bluetooth and get you where you need to go without turning you into a sweaty, oily mess with rumpled clothes and a well-worn AAA card. There’s a reason why our EIC is so enthusiastic about his Honda Accord V6 6MT. The drive wheels might be swapped and the cylinder count might be down, but both cars fulfill the same purpose.

By the end of my time with the XKR, I had racked up nearly 1000 miles, and felt confident that I had treated the car with sufficient care that something that pushed the limits of my instructions could be done without causing excess mechanical harm. I knew from driving XKRs in the past that engaging Dynamic Mode and stepping on the accelerator from a dead stop would produce a launch like a pre-facelift Shelby GT500, with a bucking back end, a flickering traction control light and a demonic wail from the supercharged V8.

I found myself on an abandoned road in an industrial park. I was glad I said “yes”.
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Jaguar’s Mark Your Territory Sales Event http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/jaguars-mark-your-territory-sales-event/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/jaguars-mark-your-territory-sales-event/#comments Sun, 06 Apr 2014 01:11:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=788025 I must have missed it when this XFR-S commercial first appeared last fall, but apparently “Mark Your Territory” is one of Jaguar’s current tag lines. It’s also what regional dealer groups are using for their spring “sales event”, which is how I found out about it when I caught an ad on tv. I’m a […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

I must have missed it when this XFR-S commercial first appeared last fall, but apparently “Mark Your Territory” is one of Jaguar’s current tag lines. It’s also what regional dealer groups are using for their spring “sales event”, which is how I found out about it when I caught an ad on tv. I’m a former Jaguar owner and I’ve reviewed their cars favorably so I think I understand what their brand is about. I also get what their marketers are doing with their “It’s good to be bad” ad campaign featuring actors notable for playing villains, though it’s not what I’d do if I was in charge of their advertising. On the other hand, concerning how big felines mark their territory…I don’t understand at all how a British luxury car brand associated with the look of burled walnut and the smell of fine leather wants to be associated with cat urine. Also, “Grace, Space, Micturition” just doesn’t have the same poetic ring as the original.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Jaguar XE Will Get F-Type Powertrain http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/jaguar-xe-will-get-f-type-powertrain/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/jaguar-xe-will-get-f-type-powertrain/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 01:56:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=786841   Although the upcoming Jaguar XE was previously announced with just a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, it was hard to believe that Jaguar wasn’t going to put something spicier under the hood of their first proper 3-Series competitor. AutoGuide reports that Jaguar leaked (intentionally, or otherwise…who knows, these days?) that a supercharged V6 will be available on […]

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Although the upcoming Jaguar XE was previously announced with just a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, it was hard to believe that Jaguar wasn’t going to put something spicier under the hood of their first proper 3-Series competitor.

AutoGuide reports that Jaguar leaked (intentionally, or otherwise…who knows, these days?) that a supercharged V6 will be available on the XE. In the F-Type (as well as the Jaguar XF, XJ and various Land Rover products), the base engine puts out 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, more than enough to compete with the Audi S4 and BMW 335i. In the F-Type V6S, that figure rises to 380 horsepower and 339 lb-ft.

The aluminum construction of the F-Type and the 8-speed gearbox help the two V6 cars to hit 20/28/23 mpg (city/highway/combined) in the base car and 19/27/22 mpg in the V6S. The XE might even be able to surpass that figure.

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Geneva 2014: Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-jaguar-xfr-s-sportbrake/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-jaguar-xfr-s-sportbrake/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 16:22:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=765393   550 horsepower supercharged V8 in a British wrapper coated in French Blue paint. A bit confusing? Not really – it’s a CTS-V Wagon for those under the jurisdiction of the EU Parliament.

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550 horsepower supercharged V8 in a British wrapper coated in French Blue paint. A bit confusing? Not really – it’s a CTS-V Wagon for those under the jurisdiction of the EU Parliament.

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Geneva 2014: Jaguar XE Fights The Three http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-jaguar-xe-fights-the-three/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-jaguar-xe-fights-the-three/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 14:55:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=763017   Jaguar released this teaser of their new 3-Series competitor, the XE. All we know is that it has an all-new 2.0L 4-cylinder with a turbocharger and is based on an scalable aluminum architecture. Expect a full debut at September’s Paris Auto Show.

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Jaguar released this teaser of their new 3-Series competitor, the XE. All we know is that it has an all-new 2.0L 4-cylinder with a turbocharger and is based on an scalable aluminum architecture. Expect a full debut at September’s Paris Auto Show.

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I Don’t Care About The Mercedes-Benz E63 Wagon Anymore http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/i-dont-care-about-the-mercedes-benz-e63-wagon-anymore/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/i-dont-care-about-the-mercedes-benz-e63-wagon-anymore/#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2014 22:15:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=757857   I’m known for dumping on wagons constantly, but I think it’s important to understand the difference between what I report on, and my own tastes. Take, for example, this car, the Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake. This car is basically irrelevant. We’re not going to get it in North America. It will be sold in limited […]

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I’m known for dumping on wagons constantly, but I think it’s important to understand the difference between what I report on, and my own tastes. Take, for example, this car, the Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake.

This car is basically irrelevant. We’re not going to get it in North America. It will be sold in limited quantities in Europe, and nobody would actually buy it in any meaningful numbers here. From a business standpoint for North America, it’s a non-starter.

And I love it. Now that the E63 AMG is all-wheel drive, where else can you get a blown V8 putting down 550 horsepower in a station wagon body?

 

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True Confessions: Revealing My Secret Crush http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/true-confessions-revealing-my-secret-crush/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/true-confessions-revealing-my-secret-crush/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 13:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=734625 I was about eight years old when I fell in love the first time. She was a long, lanky and curvaceous piece of work, sexy and sophisticated, and I knew the moment that I first laid eyes upon her, her and her sister for there were two parked alongside one another in the driveway, that […]

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Photo courtesy of wikipedia

Photo courtesy of wikipedia

I was about eight years old when I fell in love the first time. She was a long, lanky and curvaceous piece of work, sexy and sophisticated, and I knew the moment that I first laid eyes upon her, her and her sister for there were two parked alongside one another in the driveway, that one day I must possess her. Looking back I can tell your she was a big girl, but compared to the my father’s Oldsmobile Delta 88 she seemed impossibly lithe and trim. Her chrome nameplate told me she was called “Jaguar” and once I spied her no other car would ever be quite good enough.

It’s funny how you can use a car every day for years and years and, when it is finally gone, be unable to recall a single detail. You know the make and model, of course, and probably have a general image in your mind, but when it comes to specifics you have only the vaguest of recollections, more an emotional impression of how the car made you feel than a single, hard and fast memory you can point to. But to this day, and despite the fact that I probably only spent about ten minutes next to them, in the driveway I still can recall enough of the details of the two cars I saw that just now I was able to get on line and identify them as Mark IIs. That says something.

The Jaguar Mark II is, of course a sedan – saloons as the British call them – and because of them I have always had a thing for the manufacturer’s larger offerings. To be honest, I wouldn’t turn down on of their sports cars if it were given to me, but the only one I have ever actually imagined owning is the most sedan-like XJS. I can’t tell you what it is about the big cats, but they have always had a special appeal to me. They ooze sophistication, and the thought of finding myself ensconced on a hand stitched leather seat, surrounded by old world craftsmanship as I survey the world across a long bonnet and monitor my progress via a set of clock like gauges mounted in burled walnut makes me a giddy as an English schoolgirl.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Of course, the brand’s reputation for unreliability, especially among the older models, means I will probably never actually own one but in my mind they are still the perfect combination of power, good looks and luxury and I still find myself pausing to look whenever I find one for sale. I’m not sure why that is. Logically I know it’s a relationship that could never work, but I still I have that hope that owning a Jag could turn out to be the craziest, wildest, greatest thing that ever happened to me and so I have to pause to consider that whenever the chance presents itself.

I’m not nuts, am I? Please tell me you feel the same way about some brand or another. Tell me that there is one car that you have always admired but, for whatever reason, have never indulged in. One of those cars that you could not resist if only they sold on this side of the ocean or that specific model you would buy if you had that extra spot in the driveway. That car you swear you will get when your children get out of their car seats, or that other one you are looking forward to owning when they finally get out of the house altogether so you don’t need to worry about rear seat legroom. You cannot be a lover of all things automotive if you do not have at least one secret crush. What is it? We must know.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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Review: 2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/review-2014-cadillac-cts-2-0t-with-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/review-2014-cadillac-cts-2-0t-with-video/#comments Fri, 27 Dec 2013 14:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=686066 It’s been decades since Cadillac produced the “Cadillac” of anything. However, when car buffs dismiss the only American luxury brand left, they fail to see Cadillac’s march forward. 2002 brought the first RWD Cadillac since the Fleetwoood. A year later the XLR roadster hit, followed in 2004 by Cadillac’s first 5-Series fighter, the STS. Not […]

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2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Exterior-001

It’s been decades since Cadillac produced the “Cadillac” of anything. However, when car buffs dismiss the only American luxury brand left, they fail to see Cadillac’s march forward. 2002 brought the first RWD Cadillac since the Fleetwoood. A year later the XLR roadster hit, followed in 2004 by Cadillac’s first 5-Series fighter, the STS. Not everything was rosy. The original CTS drove like a BMW but lacked charm and luxury fittings. The XLR was based on a Corvette, which made for excellent road manners, but the Northstar engine didn’t have the oomph. The STS sounded like a good idea, but the half-step CTS wasn’t much smaller and ultimately shoppers weren’t interested in a bargain option. That brings us to the new ATS and CTS. Ditching the “more car for less money” mantra, the ATS has been created to fight the C/3/IS leaving the CTS free to battle the E/5/GS head-on. Can Caddy’s sensible new strategy deliver the one-two punch fans have hoped for? I snagged a CTS 2.0T for a week to find out.

 

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

I found the outgoing CTS a little discordant, but 2014 brings an elegant more aggressive refresh. GM’s Art and Science theme has matured from “cubism gone wrong” to shapes that flow and jibe with a larger grille and softer creases. The 5-Series continues to go for elegant and restrained, I find the XF and A6’s design a mixture of plain-Jane and snazzy headlamps while the Infiniti Q5o and Lexus GS are going for flowing elegance.

The demur side profile continues with a simple character line to draw your eye from front to rear. One thing you’ll notice during that eye-movement is the distinct RWD proportions that separate the CTS, E, 5, GS, XF and Q50 from the long-nosed Audi A6 and near-luxury FWD options. Out back the CTS’ rump is a bit less exciting but employs all the latest luxury cues from hidden exhaust tops to light piped tail lamps. I was hoping Caddy’s fins would be further resurrected,  but the “proto fins” on the XTS are absent. Pity. Obvious from every angle is an attention to build quality absent from earlier generations with perfect panel gaps and seams.

Structurally, the CTS has jumped ship to a stretched version of the Alpha platform the smaller ATS rides on. Thanks to the automotive taffy-pull, the CTS is now 2.3 inches longer than a BMW 5-series. However, because of the Alpha roots, the CTS has actually shrunk for 2014 by 3 inches in length while getting 2 inches wider and a 2 inch roof height reduction.

2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Interior-006

Interior

GM has proven they are able to create a car that drives competitively and looks sexy on the outside, but interiors have always been a mixed bag. The last gen CTS felt as if it was built with a mixture of custom parts and Chevy hand-me downs. No more. Like the ATS, the Caddy shares little with the rest of GM’s mass market-rabble. It is hard to find fault in the CTS’s dashboard’s combination of injection molded soft touch plastics, leather, faux suede, real wood, carbon fiber and contrasting stitching. Cadillac continues their dedication to shiny touch buttons on the dash and no luxury sedan would be complete without a little gimmicky drama. The CTS’s motorized cupholder lid ties with the XF’s automated air vents for the feature most clearly designed to brag about. I’m not sure how long that little motor will crank away, but it can’t be any less reliable than Jaguar’s theatrical air vents.

Because of the way Cadillac chose to stretch the CTS’ donor platform, cargo and interior space aren’t the primary beneficiaries. This means that rear legroom actually shrinks for 2014 to the smallest entry in this segment by a hair. Trunk volume also drops from a competitive 13.6 cubes to 10.5 which is a 20% reduction compared to the Lexus and BMW and 30% smaller than the Mercedes. The CTS makes up for some of this with comfortable thrones all the way around and when equipped with the optional 20-way front seats the CTS ranks #2 in the segment just behind BMW’s optional 24-way sport seats in comfort. Taller drivers and passengers beware, dropping the CTS’ roof height made the profile sexier but cuts headroom to the lowest in the segment.

2013 Cadillac ATS Instrument Cluster

2013 Cadillac ATS Instrument Cluster

There is one glaring flaw. The decidedly dowdy base instrument cluster is shared with the ATS (pictured above) and the XTS. Our Facebook followers were so put-off by Caddy’s base dials, the fervor spawned a Vellum Venom Vignette. While the ATS is saddled with the four-dial layout, the CTS and XTS have a savior: the most attractive LCD disco dash available. (My tester was so equipped.) Perhaps it is this dichotomy that is so vexing about the base CTS models. If you don’t fork over enough cash, you’ll constantly be reminded that you couldn’t afford the Cadillac of displays.

The 12.3-inch cluster offers the driver more customization than you fill find in any other full-LCD cluster. Unlike the Jaguar and Land Rover screens that simply replicate analogue gauges, you can select from several different views depending on whether you feel like analogue dials or digital information and the amount of information overload you prefer. (Check out the gallery.) My preferred layout contained a high res navigation map, digital speedo, fuel status, range to empty, average fuel economy, audio system information with album art and track information and the speed-limit on the road I was traveling on.

2014 Cadillac CUE - CTS 2.0T-001

Infotainment

I have been critical of Cadillac’s CUE system but 2014 brings some important software fixes resolving the random system crashes and demon possessed touch controls I experienced in the ATS and XTS. After driving the CTS for 852 miles, the CUE system proved rock solid in terms of reliability. Unfortunately, little has been done to address the sluggish response to inputs, unintuitive menus and old-school nav graphics. Despite the still flaws, I have to stick by my words when MyFord Touch landed: I’d rather have slow infotainment than none at all. BMW’s iDrive still ranks 1st for me because the interface is intuitive, attractive, responsive and elegant. BMW continues to add new features to their system and, unlike other systems, the new features in general operate as smoothly as the rest of the iDrive interface. You may be surprised to know that CUE ranks second for me.

CUE’s graphics are more pleasing to my eye than MMI, COMAND, Sensus, MyLincon Touch, Enform or AcuraLink. COMAND’s software should have been sent out to pasture long ago. The graphics are ancient and trying to load any of the smartphone apps is an exercise in frustration. Instead of reinventing their software, Lexus reinvented the input method taking their system from most intuitive to least in a single move. Senus isn’t half bad but Volvo’s screens are small and the software lacks the smartphone integration found in the competition. MyLincoln Touch is well featured but lacks CUE’s more modern look and the glass touchscreen.

2014 Cadillac CUE - CTS 2.0T-006

The scratch resistant glass touchscreen and proximity sensors used by Cadillac are part of what give the system a clean modern look. Most systems use resistive touchscreens which are pressure sensitive and require that the surface of the screen actually move to sense your touch. This means they need to be made of a ductile plastic which is several layers thick. The consumer comparison is to think of your iPhone or Android phone vs a color Palm Pilot from years past. Cadillac uses the screen to allow intuitive finger-sliding gestures and the proximity sensor to reduce visual clutter when your finger is away from the screen. Move you hand closet to the screen and the less critical interface buttons reappear.

Cadillac continues their relationship with Bose, giving the base model an 11-speaker sound system that brings everything but navigation to the party. Our model was equipped with the up-level 13-speaker Bose sound system, navigation software and the optional single-slot CD player hiding in the glove box. Compared with BMW’s premium audio offerings, the Bose systems sing slightly flatter and lack the volume capable in the German options. However compared to Lexus’ standard and optional systems the Cadillac holds its own.

Ecotec 2.0L I-4 VVT DI Turbo (LTG)

Drivetrain

Thanks to the new GM Alpha platform, all three engines sit behind the front axle which is ideal for weight balance. Base shoppers get the 2.0L direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder worth 272 ponies and 295 lb-ft of torque, besting BMW’s 2.0L by 32 HP and 35 lb-ft. On “Luxury” trim and above you can opt for GM’s ubiquitous 3.6L V6 (321HP/275 lb-ft) for $2,700, but I’d probably stick to the 2.0L turbo if I were you. Aside from being lighter, the turbo delivers more torque at lower RPMs and has a more advantageous power delivery which make it a hair faster to 60.

Shoppers looking for more shove and willing to part with $59,995 can opt for a 420 horsepower twin-turbo V6 in the CTS V-Sport that cranks out 430 lb-ft. Despite sharing thee 3.6L displacement of the middle engine, GM tells us that only 10% of the engine components are shared. Sending power to the pavement in the 2.0T and 3.6 models is essentially the same GM 6-speed automatic transmission BMW used to use in certain models of the 3-series until recently. Optional in the 3.6L and standard on the twin-turbo V6 is an Aisin 8-speed automatic that is essentially shared with the Lexus LS.

2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Exterior-014

Drive

Unfortunately, the first thing you’ll notice out on the road is the coarse sound from under the hood. GM’s 2.0L engine is no less refined than BMW or Mercedes’ four-bangers, but the difference is you can hear the engine in the CTS. In fact, based on the overall quietness of the cabin (a competitive 67 dB at 50 MPH), I can only conclude that Cadillac designed the engine to be heard. I don’t mind hearing the 3.6L V6, but most luxury shoppers would prefer not to be reminded they chose the rational engine every time they get on the freeway. On the bright side, because GM does not offer start/stop tech, shoppers are spared the inelegant starts and stops that characterize 528i city driving.

While I’m picking nits, the 6-speed found in the 2.0T and most 3.6 models lacks the ratio spread and shift smoothness of the ZF 8-speed automatic found in most of the competition. While I prefer GMs 6-speed to the somewhat lazy 7-speed automatic in the Mercedes E-Class, the rumored 8-speed can’t come soon enough. The 8-speed used in the V-Sport (optional on the 3.6L) solves the ratio and marketing issue, but the Aisin unit feels just as up-shift happy and down-shift reluctant as it does in the Lexus LS 460. As a result when you use the shift paddles, your actions feel more like suggestions than commands.

2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Exterior-013

The reason I label those flaws as mere nits is because of how the CTS accomplishes every other task on the road. Acceleration to 60 happens a 4/10ths faster than an E350, a half-second faster than the 528i,  a full second faster than a GS350, and practically years ahead of the A6 2.0T. Part of this has to do with the engine’s superior torque curve and higher horsepower numbers, but plenty has to do with curb weight. At 3,616 lbs, the CTS 2.oT is 200lbs lighter than the BMW or Lexus, 400lbs lighter than an E350. The comparable Audi A6 would be the front-wheel-drive 2.0T model with the CVT at 3,726. If you think that’s an unfair comparison, the 2.0T with Quattro is 3,900lbs and does little to correct the A6’s front-heavy weight balance.

As a result of the CTS’s near perfect 50.3/49.7 % weight balance and the light curb weight, the CTS feels more agile and responsive on winding mountain roads, especially when you compare it to the V6 competitors. The steering is as numb as anything on the market thanks to electric power steering, but you can get faint whiffs of feedback now and then and the steering weight is moderate rather than strangely firm in the 528i. Admittedly we’re splitting hairs here when it comes to steering feel, as there is precious little difference between the CTS, GS and 528i. Even the hydraulic system retained in BMW’s 550i doesn’t feel as crisp on the road. Helping out the handling is a standard moderately firm spring suspension or an optional MagneRide active suspension as our tester was equipped. The adaptive dampers feel more refined than in previous versions, despite them not changing the vehicle’s personality much from regular to sport mode. The CTS never felt out of sorts on rough or uneven terrain and despite being moderately firm, never felt punishing. This places the CTS right in line with the modern Germans. Toss in standard Brembo brakes and the CTS is far more willing to hike up its skirt and dance than the establishment competition.

2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Exterior-007

For 2014, Cadillac added $6,035 to the MSRP and put “value” on the back burner. At $45,100, the CTS starts $4,400 less than the 528i and $2,600 less than the GS350. Of course the Caddy’s base model has fewer features, so an apples-to-apples comparison brings the delta up to around $1,500 less than the BMW. That’s a much smaller window than there used to be, and it’s not surprising when you consider the CTS’ interior is finally equal to or better than the Germans. The pricing deltas get more interesting as you go up the ladder. The CTS 3.6 is a few grand less than a BMW 535i. In that mash-up, the BMW provides superior thrust but when the road gets winding the CTS is more enjoyable. Then we get to the CTS V-Sport. The V-Sport brings a twin-turbo V6 to a twin-turbo V8 fight. At 420 HP and 430 lb-ft the numbers are stout to be sure, but trail the 443 HP and 479 lb-ft from BMW’s 4.4L V8 and most importantly, the V8 delivers a far superior torque curve delivering all of its torque 1,500 RPM earlier. Still, the Cadillac is 325 lbs lighter, handles better, is $4,830 cheaper and by the numbers gives up little in terms of straight line performance.

The two sweet spots for the CTS are a nearly loaded 2.0T with the LCD disco dash and a moderately well equipped V-Sport. The 2.0T offers the best road manners of its direct competition at a reasonable value. The V-Sport on the other hand offers BMW shoppers an interesting alternative. At an $1,800 up-sell over a comparably equipped 535i and $4,800 less than a 550i, the V-Sport is probably the best value in the luxury segment for 2014. After a week with the middle child Cadillac, GM seems to finally be on the right path with their luxury brand. As long as the XTS is replaced with a large rear driver sedan soon I might even say that the American luxury brand is on a roll. While I can think of a few reasons to buy a BMW 5-Series over a CTS (the base CTS instrument cluster is a good reason), shoppers have no reason to dismiss the CTS as they might have done in the past. Although the CTS is still 20lbs of sound deadening and an 8-speed automatic away from being the Cadillac of mid-size sedans, it is a truly solid competitor.

 

 GM provides the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.3 Seconds

0-60: 5.9 Seconds

1/mile: 14.36 Seconds @ 97.5 MPH

Average observed fuel economy: 24.8 MPG over 852 Miles

Sound level at 50 MPH: 67 dB

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New Jaguar Land Rover Factory in Brazil to Open in 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/new-jaguar-land-rover-factory-in-brazil-to-open-in-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/new-jaguar-land-rover-factory-in-brazil-to-open-in-2016/#comments Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:30:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=677250 If you live in Brazil and are pining away for a Jaguar or Land Rover, Tata Motors will open a factory for the luxury marques in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics. The new factory, slated to produce 24,000 units annually at the beginning, is set to begin construction in Itatiaia sometime next year. The […]

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2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Exterior, Rear 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

If you live in Brazil and are pining away for a Jaguar or Land Rover, Tata Motors will open a factory for the luxury marques in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The new factory, slated to produce 24,000 units annually at the beginning, is set to begin construction in Itatiaia sometime next year. The two luxury brands already hold 53 percent of the luxury SUV market in Brazil, with a goal to sell 10,000 units in 2014; 9,549 Evoques, Freelanders, Discoverys et al have left the showroom through October 2013.

Tata will use the new factory to meet local demand before considering export markets nearby, and is considered to be a major step in their overall global manufacturing strategy.

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