Thursday, April 28, 2011

50+ MPG Jaguar !

This month's Blog comes to us from the magazine Jaguar World. Specifically its editor Matt Skelton.

Following the unveiling in Geneva at the beginning of March of what will Jaguar's most expensive production model since the XJ220- the $ 97,000 lb. XKR-S-at the end of the month came more details of what is likely to be the most affordable Jaguar in the marque's 2012 Model year line-up: the 2.2 litre diesel XF.

BUT, and this is a big but,, affordability is not its main selling point.... read on.

Rumors about the arrival of this engine in a Jaguar have been doing the rounds for some time now but, following global brand director Adrian Hallmark's confirmation in Geneva that it was on the way, more facts have been made available ahead of update details on the entire XF range. The nub of the matter is that the four-cylinder turbo diesel engine that will be available to order in the XF from late April will provide go enough for it to reach 60mph in eight seconds and push on to a top speed of 140mph, but with a combined fuel economy figure of 52.3mpg. True, those performance figures may not make for as sexy reading as the XKR-S's stats, but the frugality of the new model will prove attractive to a great many buyers in what are encreasingly expensive times for the motorist. In fact, Jaguar predicts that the 2.2-litre model will make up 60 percent of all XF sales.

Given that the UK 12,687 XFs were sold in 2010, and even considering that some potential future buyers who may well have plumped for a 3.0 litre diesel could no go for the smaller engined model, it's likely the 2.2 XF will attract a whole new group of economy conscious customers to Jaguar and away from rivals' models such as BMW's 520d. Winning them over can only be a good thing.

It'll be interesting too, of course, to see what aesthetic changes are coming for the XF. As you'll have no doubt already realised, the unusual colour scheme worn by the example in our photographs is no a new Yin-Yang inspired paint option, but camouflage covering front and rear end modifications. Regardless of how successful these will be - and you'll be able to judge for yourself-it's a sign of how competitive the motor industry is these days, that just over three years since it went on sale, the XF is already deemed worthy of a refresh. By those standards, the XK - five years on from its intial launch in 4.2 litre form - is positively long in the tooth...

That the XK has just won a 'most stylish coupe' award is testament to the continuing appeal of its design - aided of course by the introduction of those stonking 5.0 litre V8 engines at the beginning of 2009 along with bodywork changes - but work on its replacement must be nearing the final stages by now. Perhaps the XKR-S is the ultimate incarnation of Jaguar's current all--aluminium sports car? We'll have to wait and see on that one, but for now here's the info on Jaguars most fuel efficient production vehicle ever, a 2.2 litre four-cylinder diesel version of the XF. Driving the rear wheels through an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox and with an intelligent 'stop-start' system, the engine will allow the xf to achieve a combined fuel economy figure of 52.3 mpg-giving a theoretical range of more than 800 miles-while emitting 149g/km CO2.

The four cylinder diesel unit's imminent arrival was first confirmed publically by Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar's global brand director at the Geneva motor show. Now, ahead of the release of full 2012 Model Year information later in April-amongst them styling changes to the XF - Jaguar has revealed further details of the newest addition to its engine line-up

Displacing 2,179cc, the four-cylinder turbocharged 16-valve unit produces peak power and torque figures of 0-60mph in eight seconds and a top speed of 140mph. The eight speed ZF transmission will swap ratios in 200 milliseconds and offers the driver the ability to make multiple downshifts via the paddle-shift system.

The 'intelligent' stop-start technology uses a tandem solenoid starter motor mated to a secondary battery and shuts down the engine in 300 milliseconds. Rapid restart is achieved through the use of a bi-directional crank sensor and fuel rail pressure holding system.

The 2.2 litre turbo diesel engine is a derivitive of a unit also in use by Land Rover, but its installation in the XF has required significant re-engineering both to accommodate it north-south configuration and th meet the NVH properties suitable for a Jaguar. Active engine mounts, a twin-layer bulkhead, water-cooled turbocharger, low friction pistons, modified sump and block, new camshaft and Piezo injectors and innovative sound deadening material are just some of many innovative features on the XF installation.

The 2.2 litre diesel XF will go on sale in the UK in late April- prices are to be confirmed, but it's epected to account for 60 percent of all XF sales. Deliveries will begin in September.

All text and images in this blog are ©2010jimwilson. All stories, images & commentary are solely the opinion and property of this author. Unauthorized use or duplication -in any form- is restricted by International Copyright Law.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Torque is the new horsepower

This weeks blog comes to us from Motor trend's Angus Macenzie..The point that jumped out at me was that his inspiration was brought about by a drive in a Jaguar. read on:
Like most of you, I never met a horsepower I didn't like. And when a quick look at our road-test database reveals more than a fifth of all the 2010 and 2011 cars, trucks, and SUV's we have track tested over the past year or so-52 of 236 vehicles-boasted engines with 400 horses or more, it's hard not to come to the conclusion we enthusiasts are living-and driving-through a golden age.
Just 10 years ago, the total number of 400-plus-horsepower cars we tested could be counted on the finger of one hand: Lamborghini Diablo, Aston Martin DB7 Vantage, Dodge Viper and Ferrari 360 Modena. Today, Ford money will damn near buy you what was Ferrari power-and performance-a decade ago. The hugely impressive 412-horsepower Mustang GT featured in our provocative cover story is just four tenths of second slower to 60 mph and three tenths slower over the quarter mile than the 400-horse 360 Modena we tested for our January 2000 issue.
Skeptics say the golden age can't last. They say tough new fuel-economy regulations emerging around the world mean the end of the road for pwerful, large-capacity engines in mainstream automobiles. They say that within 10 years the thumping V-8's and howling V-12s currently on the front line of the horsepower arms race will be restricted to exotic sports or pricey performance sedans and coupes that sell in truly tiny numbers. The rest of us will be drving small sixes and fours.
The skeptics are right about the downsizing thing, because it's already happening. Ford's confirmation that the 2011 Explorere will be available with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four cylinder engine is a shocking twist for and SUV nameplate that once swarmed suburbia with a gruff, old 4.0-liter V-6 under the hood. But the heresy doesn't stop there: Ford also says the four-cylinder engine will effectively replace the 4.6-liter v-8 offered in the current model as the new Explorer's premium powertrain because it will cost more the the base 3.5-liter Duratec V-6.
But the skeptics are wrong to suggest samller engines will automatically mean less fun.
You see, I've just driven a car than's made me wonder whether I'd ever want a V-8 again.
A 3.0-liter V-6 producing just 271 horsepower at 4000 rpm doesn't sound that exciting. Through 90 horses per liter is still a fairly respectable specific output number, you can get close to that sort of grunt (albeit from bigger engines) in Honda or Hyundai these days. Yet the 271-horsepower V-6 under the hood of the handsome black-on-black Jaguar XJ Portfolio I drove for 10 days through England and Wales is all the engine this elegant luxury sedan needs, more than capable of making the most of the new XJ's alert, limber chassis, near-telepathic steering, and superb brakes. - How you ask? - 442 pound-feet of torque at just 2000 rpm that's how. Thanks to well-chosen, carefully spaced gear ratios, the XJ's six-speed automatic transmission artfully turns that torque mountain into rapid forward motion.
Jaguar's twin-turbo VJ-V6D Gen III engine is a diesel, which explains why it's such a torque monster. But turbocharging also delivers useful increases in the quality and quantity of torque produced by gasoline engines. Over the past couple years, I've come to appreciate cars with engines whose torques numbers match-or exceed-their power outputs and are hooked up to an intelligently calibrated transmission: On crowded real-world roads, in everyday driving conditions, they have generally proven quick and entertaining to drive. Some examples? The Mk VI Golf and the bmw 335is, which pack 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet, and 320 horses, and 332 pound-feet, respectively, plus the forthcoming Buick Regal Turbo (220 and 258) and the Mitsubishi Lance Ralliart (237 and 253)
I still love the basso rumble and relentless thrust of a big-horsepower V-8, and taking and Italian V-12 past 7000 rpm remains a near religious experience. But governments forcing automakers to renew their focus on gas mileage isn't necessarily the end of the world for enthusiast drivers, because this emerging generation of sooth, punch, and fuel-efficient 21st-century turbos proves torque is the new horsepower.

All text and images in this blog are ©2010jimwilson. All stories, images & commentary are solely the opinion and property of the author. Unauthorized use or duplication -in any form- is restricted by International Copyright Law.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Jaguar electric super car

Being my first blog,,, I have decided to take an easier way out by submiting one of the most interesting articles I've read in some time. This article comes to us from the editor of " Jaguar World " Matt Skelton as he tells us about his road tests in Jaguars newest super car the C-X75.
"If you find the thought of electric-powered cars a turn-off, consider that this one will reach 62mph in 3.4 seconds and top 205mph !!!!"
As I write these words I'm doing well over 100mph, while traveling backwards. Thankfully, it's not because Jaguar had released a car with a very high reverse gear, although a very interesting Jaguar is due to be unveiled in approximately 12-hours time.
It's Wednesday, 29 September, and though technically this issue of JWM should already be on press, we've persuaded the printers to hold their nerve for an extra day, as tomorrow Jatguar will be showing a brand new concept car at the Paris Motor Show. Which is why I'm currently hurtling backwards, Paris bound, on the Eurostar (the backwards bit being due to an annoying lack of vacant front facing seats...).
As to exactly what Jaguar will be showing, we're genuinely in the dark. Almost, Rumor has it - and inevitably there have been plenty of those doing the rounds - that the car we'll see at 9:45am tomorrow morning will be a 'sports concept', likely to be XK sized, almost certainly to feature alternative powertrain technology, and not to be destined for production any time soon.
If that iss the case it'll be the first time since the R-D6 of 2003 that Jaguar has shown a genuine concept, the ALC of 2005 being a 'backwards-engineered' show car version of the production-ready XK, and the C-XF of 2007 featuring many design cues that were already in development for both the the XF and new XJ. If find it hard to velieve, though, that the car will be completely removed from something we may see production ready in the not too distant future - Jaguar has, remember, confirmed that it's working on a 'small sports car' and it's also more than five years since the XK itself was first shown. We shall soon see.
Show Stopper!
Right, I'm no longer travelling backwards, although I am sat on the floor-there's not a lot of space in the media centre here, and there wasn't much space around Jaguar's stand at 9:45am this morning either. Enduring the crush, though, was well worth it as when the covers came off the concpt car they revealed, the C-X75, was quite stunning. It's both a celebration of jaguar's past-hence the '75' part of its title-and a nod towards an exciting future.
Though it's actually shorter and lower than the current KX by some margin, the wide and low-slung C-X75's visual impact is nevertheless high, and the technology it showcases most impressive too. If you find the thought of electric-powered cars a turn-off, consider that this one will reach 62mph in 3.4 seconds and top 205mph, and you may think again...that's before considering the fact it's also four-wheel drive.
As for last night's hypotheses-I wasn't too far wide of the mark, although the four-wheel drive system was a surprise. Is it something we'll see production ready soon? No. The C-X75 is a true 'concept". The micro-gas turbine technology is working-the car is a 'driver'-but there are plenty of issues that would need to be dealt with before something of this nature could hit the showrooms. Consider, for instance, that the gas turbines compress 35,000 litres of air per minute. Just effectively filtering that air for one presents a serious challenge in a road car environment.
My guess would be that this is just one alternative powertrain route Jaguar is considering, perhaps not for the next generation of cars but the one beyond that (interestingly, on the day of the car's unveling, Tata, Jaguar's owner, also announced it is to buy a minority stake in Bladon Jets-the British manufacturer of those micro-gas turbine). Neverthless, despite the fact the C-X75's powertrain is still very much at the prototy[e stage, that's not to say some elements of it couldn't see the light of day in production form sooner.
Ian Callum, Jaguar's design director, stated in his speech tha the front end of the car"...provides a clear confirmation of our next generation of Jaguars," which I'd take to mean both the samll sports car concept netioned earlier, and the next iteration of XK, although in which order they will appear we don't yet know.
All text and images in this blog are ©2010jimwilson. All stories, images & commentary are solely the opinion and property of this author. Unauthorized use or duplication -in any form- is restricted by International Copyright Law.