Jaguar launches its new second-generation XF compact sports saloon with high-wire drive over London’s Docklands
- The stunt was worthy of the latest James Bond film, Spectre
- The car was driven 240 metres above the Royal Dock in Canary Wharf
- Jaguar’s new saloon promises ‘business class’ levels of comfort
- Its official global debut is at the New York motor show on April 1
Who says cats hate water? Jaguar this week launched its new, second-generation XF compact sports saloon with a high-wire drive over water on cables just an inch thick.
In a stunt worthy of the latest Bond film Spectre — for which the firm is supplying many of the cars — the XF was revealed in a dramatic stunt in the heart of London’s Docklands.
High over the Royal Dock in Canary Wharf, stuntman Jim Dowdell — a veteran of the Bond, Bourne and Indiana Jones films — drove the car 240 metres across wires to demonstrate the car’s lightweight aluminium construction and agility.
Don’t look down! Jaguar’s new XF seen crossing London’s Royal Dock by high wire this week
Excitement aside, Jaguar’s XF sport saloon promises ‘business class’ levels of comfort and refinement with a new generation of frugal engines.
It’s being built at Jaguar Land Rover’s Castle Bromwich factory in Birmingham alongside the allaluminium F-Type sports car and top-of-the-range XJ limousine.
Its official global debut is at the New York motor show on April 1 before going on sale in the autumn from £30,000 to £80,000.
Jaguar’s XF sport saloon (pictured) promises ‘business class’ levels of comfort and refinement with a new generation of frugal engines
The new version is 80kg lighter than its closest competitor. This helps it return more than 70 mpg with CO2 emissions of 104g/km. Engines include 163bhp and 180bhp 2-litre Ingenium diesels linked to six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic gearboxes. The manual 163bhp diesel is ‘the lightest, most efficient non-hybrid diesel model in its market segment,’ says Jaguar.
All other engines are eightspeed automatics. There is also a powerful 3-litre 300bhp V6 twinturbo diesel and a 3-litre 380 bhp V6 supercharged petrol engine. The proportions have also been tweaked. While 7mm shorter and 3mm lower than its predecessor, its wheelbase is 51mm longer, meaning more back seat space, legroom and headroom. Jaguar is investing £600 million in its manufacturing capacity in Britain, £400million at its Castle Bromwich plant.
Great to see Britain’s former ‘Motown’ — Coventry, once the capital of our motor industry — getting some bumper good news this week.
The city that for decades has built the iconic London taxi is to gain a new factory, costing £250million, creating up to 1,000 jobs and building up to 36,000 vehicles a year.
Chinese motor giant Geely , which bought the UK firm outright two years ago after holding a stake since 2006, said the state-of the-art research, development and assembly plant for the London Taxi Company will be built in the city of Lady Godiva (and Peeping Tom).
It is a tenfold increase on the company’s site, which has been home to London taxis for 70 years and heralds the introduction of the next generation electric and ultralow emission London black cab.
Coventry’s links with China go back a long way after it had the foresight in the early Eighties to twin itself with the Chinese city of Jinan in Shandong province.
What the two cities had in common was silk: Jinan is at the end of the Silk Road and Coventry — before the rise of the motor industry — was a centre for the finest silk-working.
The Chinese think long-term and have an important concept called guanxi — or social connections — which help smooth business.
Coventry was early to establish these vital connections. Looks like it’s paying off.
April should put a spring in the step of outdoor touring types as order books open for the new generation of Audi’s epic seven-seat luxury sport utility vehicle the Q7. But you’ll have to wait until August for first deliveries.
In April order books open for the new generation of Audi’s epic seven-seat luxury sport utility vehicle the Q7 (pictured)
Priced from £50,340 to £53,835, it will be available at launch with a 272 bhp V6 TDI engine. A 218bhp 3.0 TDI Quattro is expected to follow in late summer 2015.
And finally … what possible future could there be for a loud, middle-aged, overweight, motormouth petrolhead who’s originally from ‘up North’, is always behind the wheel of some fancy car or other, divides opinion, drives everyone nuts and is not even that funny? Wonder if I should apply for that vacant Top Gear slot now that whatsisname’s gone and got the sack?