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Long-term wrapup

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe

12/23/2015

We wanted to do something cool with our long-term 2015 Jaguar F-Type R before we begrudgingly sent it back after a year in our fleet. We settled on drag racing, something we’d been doing (noncompetitively) with the 550-hp, rear-wheel-drive coupe since we took delivery.

We chose the 1/8-mile drag strip in rural Ubly, Michigan, about two hours north of Detroit. Though we had the only car on the property not from the United States, we were welcomed as part of the family. Sure, the Jag is British by nature, something we never forget, but shoving the biggest V8 your factory makes into the smallest coupe you can find? That’s the American way, damnit.

The city of Ubly has been supporting the dragway since its opening in 1962. It has been in the hands of the Janowiak family for the duration, many of whom have spent time at the starting line and on the blacktop. The Janowiaks run all the events and befriend practically every driver who crosses the threshold off of South Ubly Road. We’re told the strip is set for a repave, though we find the surface to be quite forgiving.

Long-term 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe

Q3 update

09/10/2015

One might think after 13,442 miles, the sharp report that is the supercharged V8 barking to life would wear a little thin.

Think again. Anyone tiring of the glorious, ear-crunching metallic yawp has clearly never driven the Jaguar F-Type R.

Truth is, the logbook is dominated by comments on the exhaust note, and where we weren’t preoccupied reveling in the sound, we were arguing the relative merits of the F-Type R and a Porsche 911. As far as we can tell, there is no obvious winner.

“For a driving purist, it’s difficult to argue with a 911,” says one editor. “It’s just so well balanced and quick. The F-Type does have its own distinct handling character, which is a little more tail happy and requires a smoother touch behind the wheel. But that’s all on-track. On the street, it doesn’t really matter. People are looking to get noticed, and the Jaguar is definitely sexier with its sensational shape and good proportions.”

2016 Jaguar XF 35t and S AWD first drive

09/07/2015

What is it? Pitched against the 5-Series/A6/E-Class luxury set, the second-generation Jaguar XF 35t and S introduce the company’s aluminum-intensive platform to North America for the first time.

The platform is shared with the upcoming F-Pace SUV, splits approximately 75/25 percent aluminum/steel and uses double-wishbone front/multilink “Integral Link” rear suspension. The XF is up to 265 pounds lighter than its all-steel V6 predecessor, torsional stiffness rises 28 percent and there’s near 50/50 weight distribution -- though upcoming four-cylinder models get closest to the latter.

Slimmed down, the modular architecture is also shared with Jaguar’s XE 3-Series rival. Jaguar launched the XE before the XF in Europe earlier this year, but delayed its North America debut until the 2017 model year when all-wheel drive bows. The XF goes on sale with both rear- and all-wheel drive starting this fall, leapfrogging its slightly older and smaller sibling into U.S. dealer showrooms.

2015 Jaguar XF 2.0D first drive

08/17/2015

What is it?

The second-generation XF is our first taste of Jaguar’s new aluminum-intensive architecture, though not the first model based on the platform: Europeans are already driving the 3-series-size XE, but all-wheel drive is considered so crucial for North America, Jag is holding its release until next year.

The XF goes on sale this autumn, launching with rear- and all-wheel drive. The same platform sits beneath the upcoming F-Pace SUV and features double-wishbone front suspension, an Integral Link multi-link rear and a 75/25 percent split of aluminum/steel.

At a glance, you’d guess the XF was longer than its all-steel predecessor, but, at 195 inches, it’s actually three-tenths of an inch shorter, the roofline one-tenth of a millimeter lower. If you’ve ever sat in the back of the first XF -- short on head- and legroom compared with rivals -- that sounds like a bad idea. Yet Jaguar claims class-leading legroom, there’s plenty of headroom and the entire rear-seat experience is airier, less claustrophobic. That’s partly down to the six-light glasshouse, but it’s also the packaging opportunities afforded by a 2-inch-longer wheelbase compared with the old model. The only thing that doesn’t grow is the trunk; it still holds the same 19 cubic feet.

2016 Jaguar F-Type S Manual Coupe

2016 Jaguar F-Type S review notes

Who needs a V8?

07/27/2015

ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: Jaguar rolled out the F-Type roadster, and it was good. Then, it introduced the F-Type coupe, and it was very good. But it didn’t have a manual, which whiners like us pointed out at every available opportunity.

Now, here it is: The car we’ve been begging for and I finally got the chance to drive it, but am I satisfied?

Well, actually, yeah. You will be, too, as long as you’re not expecting it to be a Cayman GT4-fighter.

I guess I could bring up the lack of the available blown 5.0-liter. That would certainly be a nice option to have here. I don’t know that I’d take the extra 170 hp if it was offered, though. As it is, the Coupe S is a really well-balanced take on a car that is shaping up to be a modern classic.

It helps that there’s some character lurking in the curious V8-minus-two-cylinders that is Jag’s supercharged V6. It pulls noticeably harder north of 3,000 rpm, as opposed to the 5.0-liter, which is a just a rocket as soon as you mash the accelerator.

2016 Jaguar F-Type V6 Manual

2016 Jaguar F-Type review

We drive Jag's stick-shift sports car

05/20/2015

What is it?

You might think of the 2016 Jaguar F-Type as a plan to stay ahead of the curve. You might also think of it as a positive sign for Jaguar’s long-term health. We prefer to think of the ’16 F-Type as a purist’s dream, thanks to the clutch pedal now available in the driver’s foot box.

We all know the F-Type --the classically inspired, two-place beauty that has been called a spiritual successor to the renowned E-Type. The F has been a success by nearly any measure, most particularly at building image and momentum for its brand, and Jaguar wants to keep it that way. So it’s spending pounds to beat the odds.

The 2015 Jaguar R Coupe's supercharged engine delivers not only exhilarating performance but also tremendous efficiency thanks to the technologies incorporated into it.

Instant classic

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe long-term update

04/20/2015

Our long-term Jaguar F-Type R coupe is special. We’ve never known a modern car to be as broadly appealing as this one. It’s beautiful and everyone knows it—people aren’t shy with praise for it. We took it up to Rare Bird Brew Pub in Traverse City, Mich., for a party and spent much of the night starting that barking, burbling supercharged V8, letting people sit in the leather seats and watching them snap photos.

Where lots of sports cars, especially high-performance versions, can be overstyled, the F-Type R is beautifully restrained. That may be part of why it appeals to such a wide range of people. It’s pretty but not showy. Of the sports/performance cars that are said to be styled in homage to their forebears, the F-Type is the most successful. It doesn’t insult the E-Type by aping it entirely or mock it by having come to dwarf it over the years. This car calls the E-Type to mind. Ian Callum and his team noticed the small, wonderful details of the that car and, with the F-Type, named them. 

The all-new Jaguar XF brings an unrivaled blend of design, luxury, technology and efficiency.

Refreshing understatement

2015 Jaguar XF 3.0 AWD Portfolio review notes

04/10/2015

EDITOR WES RAYNAL: Been a while since I drove an XF, and I must say in some ways, it’s refreshing. No denying it’s a good-looking thing, though being an Ian Callum slappy, I’m probably a little biased. Whatever; I dig the looks. (I also like the new XF that debuted at the at the New York auto show.)

Ditto the powertrain. The supercharged 3.0-liter V6 is plenty for me; stand on the gas, and it really gets moving in fine linear fashion; the ZF eight-speed gearbox is spectacular, and AWD means I could easily drive it all year.

Long-term 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe first-quarter update

02/06/2015

Building a stellar Jaguar like the F-Type R coupe isn’t a mind-bending puzzle. The company takes the most powerful road-going engine it has ever created and shoves it under the hood of the smallest car in its lineup. Of course it’s awesome. After three months with the new cat, we can’t find too much to complain about.Sure, we lost a tire to a slow leak, and sometimes the radio/nav/electrical system gets a little wonky, though restarting the car fixes that issue. It also had a rattle or two, but depending on what editor you talk to, the dealer may have taken care of it. It also has the most obnoxious/lovable exhaust that has ever been connected to an engine block.The pipes are loud … like, race-car loud. At startup, the F-Type barks as both needles twist to redline. We were a little worried about all that revving during cold starts, but Jag told us it’s more of a sound effect than anything.Still, the neighbors should be warned.As much as we love that sound—most of us spend time in expressway tunnels and dingy warehouses just for the echo— it does present a problem in certain situations. For instance, you’re a hundred yards back from a light that turned yellow. You can stomp on the gas to make it, but at that point you’ll be over the speed limit and drawing massive attention to the car. In one such instance, we tried hitting the quiet/loud exhaust button but weren’t quick enough.

The 2016 Jaguar F-Type Coupe now offers all-wheel drive and a manual transmission.

2016 Jaguar F-Type AWD plus stick shift(!) first drive

02/04/2015

What is it?

Jaguar is rolling out a range of revisions for the 2016 F-Type; it goes on sale in late April. The lineup balloons from six to 14 derivatives -- there’s new electric power steering, a new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and optional eye candy that now includes a carbon fiber roof, styling pack and revised alloy wheel designs.

The V8 R coupe also relinquishes its exclusive hold on torque-vectoring by braking -- it can subtly brake the inside wheels in corners, killing understeer -- which becomes standard on all models, save for the entry-level V6, where it’s an extra-cost option.

But the big news is the introduction of all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. Both V8 R AWD and V6 S AWD models are available, while the manual gearbox is restricted to rear-drive V6 and V6 S models; the manual can’t handle the V8’s torque-bomb.

The all-wheel-drive system is a development of Jaguar’s existing hardware already seen in the XF and XJ, with the balance tilted toward dynamics where the sedans favor traction. One hundred percent of torque flows to the F-type’s rear axle in normal conditions, but goes forward via an electronically controlled center coupling when extra traction is required.

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The image the company sent to future owners who have made deposits is a lightly photoshopped sketch that Britain's Autocar magazine published in March of this year.

TVR makes progress on new Cosworth V8, teases owners with Autocar's sketch

12/29/2015

TVR, the boutique British automaker run aground in 2006 after purchase by a Russian oligarch, is back with plenty of deposits on an undisclosed coupe and a teaser image photoshopped from an Autocar magazine sketch. The fledgeling car company is at work on a new coupe powered by a Cosworth V8 with an expected output of 450 to 500 hp, though it won't be until 2018 that customers will be able to take delivery of the cars. The factory has to be built first, even though the first year's allocation is already sold out.

TVR Chairman Les Edgar gave the future owners of the new coupe a progress report, stating that the company is running at least one engineering mule that has been operating on roads, and that they've recently fired up one of the Cosworth V8s.

Watch F1 cars rip up a mountain in Japan

12/29/2015

Two ex-Formula One cars plus one mountain road equals an epic video shot in Japan by Motor Head Magazine.

It's not too often you see open-wheel cars on public roads -- the Stallone vehicle "Driven" notwithstanding -- but something about it makes the cars look even better than when they're on the racetrack. After the F1 cars have a go, they're followed by some drifters who are nearly as impressive.

The camerawork is also great, so check out more of Motor Head's stuff here.

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