The sexiest cat ever – Jag F-Type – just got whipped. The sexiest cat ever is now the Jag F-type.
Jaguar’s E-Type is engraved in stone as one of the marvels of the automobile industry. Ever. It’s been a style icon and a mega cult for over half a century. When the word spread that Jaguar was planning a modern-day version of the E-Type, there was commotion and excitement in the global automotive circus in equal measure. Enthusiasts, trade pundits and connoisseurs were eagerly waiting for what Jaguar would reveal. Out came the F-Type and there were divided views on it being the rightful successor to the legendary E-Type; but everyone – even the Jag purists – agreed to one thing: the F-Type was stunning.
The whole world of motoring journalists went crazy talking about it, and though it’s perhaps not as precise and clinically perfect as the Porshce 911, the F-Type has been hailed as the sportscar that leaves smiles as broad as its tyres on your face. We’ve sampled it – on more than one occasion – and agree to all the praise and hype. The F-Type deserves it.
Immediately sexy cars are few-and-far between, but the F-Type manages to be it. You don’t have to look at it twice to suggest that this is a beautiful automobile; and even after you stare at it endlessly like some fanatically obsessed design chap, you’ll still say that the proportions are bang-on and it’s a very attractive machine.
Dear Ian Callum,
Thank you for such a brilliant and beautiful car.
But recently, I saw something that would make the F-Type look not-so-attractive – it was, the F-Type. Just that it was a coupe this time around. So, Ian Callum, thank you again – you’ve gone one better. And when you said that you’ve not done your best design yet, I cannot even begin to imagine what that would be like.
In Coupe form, the F-Type is raised from the rear and has a very defined (and curvaceous) back-end and the overall design is just stunning, to say the least. The window frame does look a bit Alfa Romeo but that’s no bad thing, really. The F-Type Coupe is definitely one the sexiest cars today, if not the sexiest.
Dynamically, expect the Coupe to be better than the Convertible. The F-Type Coupe will come in three trim levels – Coupe, S Coupe and R Coupe. The bog standard F-Type Coupe will come with a 3-litre supercharged V6 that put out 340bhp and the F-Type S Coupe will power from a remapped version of the same 3-litre V6 but the power output will go up by 40 more horsepower to 380bhp. The range-topping F-Type R Coupe will have a throbbing 5-litre supercharged V8 motor at its heart that will deliver 550bhp and 680Nm through the rear wheels to enable a 0-60mph (96km/h) sprint in 4 seconds. The F-Type R Coupe will also come equipped with a new electronic active differential and a torque vectoring system.
The V6 powered F-Type Coupes are priced $4,000 less than their roadster siblings - $65,000 (Rs. 40.2 lakhs) for the 340bhp standard version and $77,000 (Rs. 47.62 lakhs) for the more powerful 380bhp F-Type S Coupe. The most extreme of the range, F-Type R Coupe, will retail at $99,000 (61.22 lakhs). But before you jump in excitement, please bear in mind that these numbers will swell quite a bit when the F-Type Coupe comes into India – thank our trade and government policies for that.
Stretch of Luxury
Idon’t know how many times will I say this, but when Dhruv returned from Morocco after driving the Range Rover, he couldn’t stop talking about it – so much so that after a point, all of us lost interest and he was left mumbling to himself in his corner of the office. But then I drove the Range Rover Sport in UK and when I came back, I kept going on-and-on about how brilliant it was – so much so that after a point, everyone got bored and left me in my corner of the office, mumbling to myself.
But the Range Rover deserves the praise – rightly so. And now, there’s a long-wheelbase version too – to come out as “an alternative to traditional long wheelbase saloon cars, which have dominated the market up until this point,” according to Land Rover. The legroom at the rear has gone up by 186mm and the recline angle has been boosted to 17-degrees, up 9-degrees from before.
The Range Rover Autobiography Black comes with a super specced cabin that offers immensely high levels of luxury and added functionality. The Range Rover LWB Autobiography Black edition has been developed by Jaguar Land Rover’s ‘Engineered To Order’ (ETO) division and the deliveries will start from March 2014.
Porsche has always been about extremely competent sports cars and they’ve managed to create a cult worldwide. But the sportscar industry wasn’t ever about doing great numbers and Porsche sensed the opportunity in a segment that was essentially the antithesis to their core product portfolio – SUVs. The Cayenne was born and it was almost singlehandedly responsible for making the German specialist manufacturer into the most profitable car manufacturer globally. Now, Porsche has realized the potential the compact SUV segment has and as a result, the car – sorry, SUV – you see in pics here was developed.
With Macan, Porsche clearly isn’t bending away from its sporting roots. In Macan, Porsche say they’ve “unmistakably created the first sports car in the fast-growing compact SUV segment.” I have no reasons to doubt their claim. Macan comes in two trim levels – S and Turbo.
Macan S will have a 3-litre twin-turbo V6 that makes 340bhp and 460Nm while the Turbo variant will be powered by a 3.6 litre twin-turbo V6 that’s good for 400bhp and 550Nm of torque. Claimed performance figures for the Macan S stand at 5.2 seconds to 60mph (96km/h) and 156mph (251km/h) top speed. Macan Turbo will do same acceleration in 4.6 seconds and go on to hit a top whack of 264km/h.
During its global reveal at the LA Auto Show, Matthias Mueller, President of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, said “The Macan possesses all the qualities that have made compact SUVs so popular around the world: a practical, flexible interior; the visibility and sense of security that comes with extra ride height; and the ability to traverse rough roads with ease.”
The Macan goes on sale in the US with a sticker price of $49,900 (Rs. 30.87 lakhs) for the Macan S and $72,300 (Rs. 44.72 lakhs) for the Macan Turbo.
BMW 4 Series Convertible
It looks as if BMW is capturing all the digits of the counting chart! The LA Auto Show saw BMW reveal its 4 Series convertible – that, in BMW-speak, is open-top driving pleasure redefined. The 4 Series convertible is substantially larger than the 3 Series convertible. It features a three-piece retractable hard-top that completes its operation in a mere 20 seconds and can be operated at speeds up to 13km/h. The 4 Series Convertible will be available in three trim levels – 435i, 428i and 420d.
As is the norm with BMWs, the engines are in-line and longitudinally mounted and all three engines use BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology. The 435i Convertible comes with a 3-litre mill that thrusts out 306bhp and 400Nm. The claimed performance figures state that the 435i can do a 0-100km/h sprint in 5.6 seconds and is limited to 250km/h. The 428i Convertible features a 2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine that develops 245bhp and 350Nm and manages zero to 100km/h in 6.4 seconds.
The 420d Convertible makes use of a 2-litre engine that is made with composite aluminium crankcase and features common-rail direct injection technology with VGT (variable turbine geometry). It produces 184 hard working horses and hefty 380Nm of torque. Though the claimed performance numbers aren’t too brisk for a convertible sports car – 0-100km/h in 8.2 seconds – this car isn’t going to be so much about outright speed and performance but will be more of an open-top driving occasion.
A 6-speed manual gearbox is offered as standard but the much-respected 8-speed automatic will also be available as an option.
Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo
There was no need for me to include this car in this report primarily because it’s not even a prototype or a working concept. But then, this was perhaps the most sensational looking work of art at the LA Auto Show. Auto manufacturers invest heavily in creating concepts and prototypes, but more often than not, there are some technical aspects from those concepts and prototypes that filter down into the regular cars. This one though is a one-off. The AMG Vision Gran Turismo was conceptualized and created purely for the Gran Turismo 6 video game.
In the game, it’s programmed to drive through the drivetrain of the S63 AMG – 5.5 litre, 580bhp V8 – but of course this is only a concept; or maybe not even that! Really wish to see some of the design cues filter down to other regular production cars though – that’ll make for some really stylish cars decorating the roads across the world! Huge respect to Mercedes-Benz for actually creating a full blown show car, and not restricting this masterpiece as merely a virtual drive.
If you’ve always thought that those guys who think Subaru Impreza WRXs were always better than Mitsubishi Evo’s are a bit brainless, well, I am one of those brainless chaps then, I reckon. You see, I really always liked the Impreza – it wasn’t always that perfect, was always a bit more exciting to drive because of its little flaws and because it was always on the ragged edge of everything. Mitsubishi Evo’s were always mostly clinically perfect. What made the Imprezas cooler still was the longstanding use of boxer engine.
Yes, they weren’t ever as good lookers but hey, they were bloody damn good in the business of driving – and that’s what mattered.
Now, there’s another WRX and you’d expect things have gotten better than they ever were. Er, yes. And no. First things first - the latest WRX doesn’t (still) look anything great. It looks understated and restrained, but it could’ve done with better styling cues, in my view. But that’s not what matters. The WRX is powered by the hallmark boxer engine – that matters. The 2-litre horizontally-opposed direct injection unit develops 268bhp and 350Nm of torque – which is more than the outgoing 2.5-litre engine. Greenpeace chaps would be happy too as does substantially better on environmental performance.
The WRX comes with a slick 6-speed manual transmission but there’s also an option of Sport Lineartronic CVT with an 8-speed shifting mode. Dear Subaru guys, no matter how complicated you make your CVT sound, it’s still going to be a CVT – which is just wrong for a car like the WRX.
Then there’s a whole range of performance helping acronyms and tech witchcraft like stiffer body and carefully-tuned suspension that have quickened the vehicle’s response to driver inputs and raised the WRX’s cornering limits. There’s also Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) and Active Torque Vectoring – stuff like that.