Auto blogTue, 22 Jul 2014 09:13:00 EST
Since buying Jaguar Land Rover, Indian automaker Tata has generally left its luxury arm's platforms and technology alone. However, those days might be gone. The two of them are gradually growing closer with coordinated development and rumors of shared platforms. And it looks like all of that work and money is finally going to pay off with an actual vehicle in the near future.
According to Australian website Drive, Tata wants to make its cars more attractive to buyers outside of India, and to do that the company knows it must improve quality. The Indian company is being careful, though, because it doesn't want to dilute the Jaguar or Land Rover brands with cheap models. "You're going to see in the future a lot of sharing of technologies and platforms over time, but you won't see a JLR with a Tata badge on it," said Darren Bowler, managing director of Tata's Australian distributor, to Drive.
According to Bowler, these future vehicles are already on the way. Tata and JLR have a global platform in the works for 2017 that both companies could use for cars or crossovers. He also hinted that Jaguar's new Ingenium engines could be shared among the brands in the future, too.
For athletes, the cold is often a powerful ally in treating injures, with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) a popular means of treating muscle pulls, bruising and other common forms of discomfort. Did you know, though, that frosty temps are also popular tools for simply recovering from a rough training session?
Well, we're guessing Jaguar Land Rover knew that, as the British company was kind enough to loan out its climactic testing chamber to Jaco van Gass and Luke Darlington, a pair of veterans wounded in their service to Queen and Country. Van Gass, a former private in the Royal Army, and Darlington, a Royal Marine, are attempting to earn a spot on the British Armed Forces cycling team for the upcoming Invictus Games.
The Games, inspired by the Warrior Games held in the United States, are a sporting competition reserved for injured servicemen and women, either active duty or veterans, and is slated to take place from September 10 to 14 in London's former Olympic venues. Van Gass lost his left arm below the elbow after getting hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (he also suffered from a collapsed lung, punctured internal organs, severe shrapnel and blast wounds, a broken tibia and a fractured knee). Darlington, meanwhile, suffered a traumatic brain injury during action in Afghanistan, and he now suffers from weakness in his right side and cognitive issues.
Jaguar Land Rover officially announced its Ingenium family of engines with the unveiling of the 2.0-liter version in the Jaguar XE concept at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, but it kept details very thin at the time. All we knew was that the new turbocharged mills could be configured to use gasoline or diesel, and be positioned longitudinally or transversely. Months later, JLR is finally letting some more info slip about its new baby, but there are still some big questions to be answered.
For the Ingenium project, Jaguar Land Rover gave its engineers a clean sheet of paper and told them not to worry about using any previous parts or machinery. In the end, the designers came up with a family of turbocharged, aluminum-block engines based around modular, 500cc cylinders to allow it to grow or shrink as the market demanded. The layout was also made adaptable enough to incorporate hybrid drivetrains, if needed. "Being configurable and flexible are the two key strands of Ingenium's DNA because we have future-proofed our new engines from the outset," said said Ron Lee, the company's director of Powertrain Engineering.
To maximize efficiency, Jaguar promises that all versions of the Ingenium engines come with computer-controlled, variable oil pumps and water pumps to use only as much energy as needed. They also get direct injection, roller bearings for the cams and stop/start. The diesel version alone has 17 percent less internal friction than the mill it replaces, the company claims. JLR is also promising class-leading figures for Ingenium's torque and horsepower too, but it's not giving away those specs just yet.
Land Rover makes some of the most capable SUVs on or off the road, and some of the most luxurious too. But the British automaker isn't about to rest on those laurels - not when every other automaker assaults its territory with sport-utes of their own. That's why Land Rover has been working so hard on nifty new technologies from a depth-sounder in the door mirror of the Range Rover Sport an augmented-reality head-up display that makes the whole front of the car virtually disappear.
JLR's newest tech may not be ground-breaking, but its integration promises to make driving around town that much easier. The system syncs with the driver's smartphone and uses all manner of parameters - including driver habits, weather and location as well as the presence of other passengers - to make the commute go as smoothly as possible. Get into the car and it'll set the seat and mirrors for you. No big deal, because lots of cars do that. But it'll also set up the nav system to take you to work and the sound system to play your favorite music. Okay, getting more interesting.
Get in with your kids and it'll know not only that you've got to drop them off at school first (or remind you to pack their gym bag if they've got soccer practice after school that day) but that they might not enjoy that Chumbawamba album you've been listening to since college and it'll play something it knows you'll all enjoy based on your listening history. Then it'll switch back to Tubthumping once the kids are out, remind you of your morning meeting and alert those you're scheduled to meet with if you get stuck in traffic while finding you a better route to get there, monitoring fuel levels all the while and telling you if you'll need to tank up before you reach your destination. It knows if you like calling your mother on the drive to work and will lower the air suspension to make it easier to hop out once you get there.
At the Goodwood Festival of Speed this past weekend, Land Rover previewed its upcoming performance version of the Range Rover Sport. Only instead of wearing the R-S badge that adorns the most hardcore of Jaguar models, the performance SUV from JLR's Special Operations unit introduced the letters SVR. And now, it seems that badge is here to stay.
Following the Range Rover Sport SVR, a new report from Motor Authority now says that Jaguar Land Rover will use those letters to distinguish the top-of-the-line performance models from both marques moving forward. As such, we might expect SVR models of the upcoming Jaguar XE compact sedan and Land Rover Discovery Sport, as well as potential new performance models based on the new F-Type and next-generation XF.
If accurate, the move would seem to separate Jaguar in particular from the R-S badge that has adorned performance models like the XFR-S and XKR-S. Both Audi and Porsche use the letters RS to distinguish its most hardcore models as well (e.g. Audi RS7 Sportback and Porsche 911 GT3 RS). Whether the similarity was a factor in shifting to the SVR moniker, we don't know, but either way, we welcome the arrival of a new generation of Jaguar and Land Rover performance models - especially if they pack the 575-horsepower version of the company's ubiquitous 5.0-liter supercharged V8. Not incidentally, that delicious powerplant gained a couple of new engine bays to call home at Goodwood as well - it's not just found in the forthcoming Range Rover Sport SVR, it's found a home in the F-Type Project 7, too.
Jaguar Land Rover has announced that a new division of the British manufacturer will be dedicated to "bespoke commissions," as well as heritage products and apparel. Oh, and the new Special Operations division will also be behind JLR's halo cars from now on.
It's that last one that is the most tantalizing, as the last real halo product to see production from Jaguar was the XJ220. The Range Rover, meanwhile, has always had its own kind of halo reputation, although the Land Rover brand itself has never really gotten into the game with a dedicated model.
According to JLR, the new halo models will focus on ultra-high performance and luxury with a limited run of vehicles. The bespoke models, meanwhile, will give the wealthiest customers full sway over how vehicles are outfitted, with unique paints, trims and other accessories. The new SpecOps division will be run by John Edwards.
Jaguar has moved its Range Rover Evoque-bodied tests of the production C-X17 Concept from icy streets to the legendary Nürburgring, as work continues on the brand's first SUV.
Really, there's not a great deal of new stuff here. Based on the number plates, this is a different vehicle from the one we saw back in March, which we originally identified as the upcoming replacement for the Land Rover Freelander/LR2. The details, though, appear largely the same. The biggest distinction we can see between the March tests and this are the US-spec headlights, which add amber reflectors at their sides. Based on these shots, it does seem as if the C-X17 should be a fairly poised road vehicle, as the engineers hustle it around the 'Ring.
Of course, as soon our spies can capture images of a production-bodied C-X17, we'll be sure to pass those on to you. Until then, take a look up top for images of the Range Rover-bodied Jaguar as it tests at Germany's Nürburgring. You can also scroll down for our March images for the C-X17 mules testing on public roads.
With most recalls seemingly affecting mass-market vehicles, it'd be all too easy to assume, consciously or otherwise, that higher-end automobiles never face such issues. But the main reason we don't see the NHTSA recalling more luxury automobiles isn't because of their quality, we'd postulate: it's because of their relative scarcity.
Take Jaguar Land Rover, recalls of whose vehicles we only seem to have cause to report about once a year. So if you're figuring they're about due, here you go. The Indian-owned British auto group has just announced two recalls, both regarding suspension components: one affecting Jaguars and another concerning - you guessed it - Land Rovers.
First up we have a recall for 2013 to 2014 model year Jaguar XJ, XF and XK models - a whopping 297 of them - which have been found to have problematic toe links. Separation of the toe link from the rear sub-frame could result in impaired stability and control over the vehicle's direction, so JLR is calling them in to replace the nuts and washers on the rear toe links.
Of all the tuners this side of AMG, none are as close to Mercedes-Benz as Brabus. After all, when Daimler needed a tuner to spruce up the Smart car, it was Brabus that it turned to. But Brabus tunes vehicles other than Mercedes - it just uses, let's call it, a pen name. It brands them Startech, like the widebody kit it's developed for the new Range Rover Sport and will present at the Geneva Motor Show next week.
The modifications center around the carbon fiber body panels Brabus (excuse us, Startech) has developed for the British sport-ute that give it over two inches of added width. The wider fender flares encompass 23-inch wheels that are forged, ceramic-coated, skinned with low-profile rubber and fitted to a lowered suspension. The front and rear bumpers have been redone in plastic and can be fitted with or without the wider fenders, and there's a three-piece roof spoiler at the back.
Startech is also offering an upgrade for the 3.0-liter twin-turbo-diesel V6 that squeezes out an extra 31 horsepower and 59 pound-feet of torque for a total of 323 hp and 501 lb-ft, dropping the 0-62 time from 7.2 seconds to 6.9. The German tuner also has a wide array of interior modifications on offer, details of which you can read about in the press release below and scope out in the high-resolution image gallery above.
Nearly every major business is collecting consumer data these days, and keeping that data secure has come to the forefront of many customer's minds. Jaguar Land Rover North America's decision to begin requesting more customer info from its dealer network appears unfortunately timed, however. If it had come a few years ago, it might have been ignored, but in today's climate of heightened awareness, a few dealers are pushing back. To put the showrooms in an even tougher position, JLR NA is threatening to deny quarterly incentives if they do not turn over the customer data, according to Automotive News.
JLR NA instated the nationwide plan, which it calls Single View CRM, on February 7, but according to Stuart Schorr, Jaguar Land Rover North America Vice President of Communications, the automaker has been negotiating with its dealers to institute the new program for over a year. Schorr tells Autoblog that no financial information is being shared, noting that such data is limited to customer details, including things like what vehicles they own and whether they have any pending service. The initiative is meant to "improve customers' and owners' engagement with the brand," he said. Also, the company is not accessing dealer data itself; instead showrooms are asked to enter the info into JLR's database.