There has been a host of activity (and anxiety) over at Jaguar during the past year.
A new “entry level” model was introduced, replacing a pair of, shall we say, leftover Fords.
And with that, Ford Motor Company in turn sold the luxury division to Tata Motors, India’s largest automobile company, for $2.3 billion cash. You may recognize the name Tata Motors as the company who last year showed a very cheap car that they eventually want to sell globally, including here in the States.
While it seemed an odd match at first (and still does), Tata Motors Chairman Ratan N. Tata promises no changes to the signature British marque of luxury motoring.
“This is a momentous time for all of us at Tata Motors,” Tata said. “Jaguar and Land Rover are two iconic British brands with worldwide growth prospects. We are looking forward to extending our full support to the Jaguar Land Rover team to realize their competitive potential.
“Jaguar Land Rover will retain their distinctive identities and continue to pursue their respective business plans as before. We recognize the significant improvement in the performance of the two brands and look forward to this trend continuing in the coming years. It is our intention to work closely to support the Jaguar Land Rover team in building the success and preeminence of the two brands.”
Long-term agreements have been entered into for supply of engines, stampings and other components to Jaguar Land Rover. Other areas of transition support from Ford include IT, accounting and access to test facilities. The two companies will continue to cooperate in areas such as design and development through sharing of platforms and joint development of hybrid technologies and powertrain engineering. The Ford Motor Credit Company will continue to provide financing for Jaguar Land Rover dealers and customers for a transition period.
While the future will be the only true tell of this new business venture, for the time being Jaguar is going on with “business as usual,” and that business is producing luxury rides with performance DNA running through their veins.
The 2009 Jaguar XF model utilizes all-new design technology, thus eliminating time, and trial and error, in the development stages. It features the new “coupe sedan” styling, a growing European trend.
Despite the rakish roof line the new XF offers full comfort and convenience for five adults and is offered with a pair of powertrain choices.
As with its sibling models XJ and XK, XF is available with a normally-aspirated all-aluminum 4.2-liter V-8 engine producing 300hp or the R series supercharged engine cranking out some 420 ponies.
We recently tested a “base” 2009 Jaguar XF, but as we found out there is very little “base” about a Jaguar these days.
As soon as we slid behind the wheel of the new luxury sedan we quickly forgot and forgave the previous entry attempts by the automaker. This new XF is where luxury and performance really begin.
A quick tap on the start button (no key slot anymore) and the XF comes alive. Up from the center console rises the transmission shift knob, and motorized panels on the dash reveal air vents and navigation screen. You’re going to need to plan extra time entertaining passengers (as well as yourself) demonstrating these features.
As the engine firing to life responds with a deep, catty growl from the dual exhaust tips in back, anticipation mounts as you slide a hand from the exquisitely-crafted leather and wood steering wheel to turn the shift knob to begin your journey.
Time spent in the 2009 Jaguar XF will be measured in pleasant memories, stored in that part of your cerebral cortex reserved for your first kiss and the birth of a child. Yes, driving the XF may not rank as high as the other two, but there is only one first kiss and you are only going to have so many children – you can drive the XF to your heart’s content.
Technology is in abundance in XF, wrapping occupants in a safety cocoon second to none and always on duty.
XF is an engineering marvel, filled with such technological feats as six-speed automatic sequential shift transmission with JaguarDrive shift-by-wire paddle and rotary knob shifters, Jaguar-sense proximity sensing control for overhead lighting and glovebox release, B&W premium audio system with SIRIUS Satellite radio and portable audio connectivity, DVD-based navigation system with touch screen control and bluetooth connectivity, smartkey keyless entry/start, JaguarVoice(tm) which can control many functions simply by asking – and all without ever taking your eyes off the road, Blind Spot Monitor, Front and Rear Parking Aids and Rear Camera Parking Aid and Adaptive Cruise Control. Standard features include Automatic Speed Limiter, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Electronic Parking Brake and more.
XF occupants are also protected by Anti-lock Braking System with Emergency Brake assist, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution,, Traction Control through engine and brake intervention, Dynamic Stability Control, Cornering Brake Control and Engine Drag Torque Control. And for the first time, the XF adds Understeer Control Logic, which has been designed to mitigate understeer by intervening through the engine management and braking systems to decelerate the car and help restore grip to the front wheels.
Engineering excellence and class-leading structural rigidity are at the heart of the new XF’s construction. The advanced body structure, which comprises high-tech materials and new-generation design techniques, maximizes strength and minimizes weight to give the XF superb performance, refinement and efficiency.
The new XF has exceptional torsional stiffness, and with a wide rear track it displays excellent handling characteristics. These elements underpin a dynamic ethos that is driver-focused yet supremely comfortable and refined. Just as its looks promise, the new XF excels across the board in every role from a sports car to a luxurious long-distance cruiser.
Pricing for our 2009 Jaguar XF with Premium Luxury package starts at $55,200 and rolled to a final sticker of $63,125, thanks to several add-ons.
Design Director Ian Callum explains, “The XF is a stage in a personal journey for me. It has always been my career goal to return Jaguar to its rightful place as leader in automotive design. Cars like the original XJ6 left a lasting legacy and my ambition has been to create something as seminal. The XF is that car.”
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