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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Since its founding in 1936, Consumer Reports has become the go-to source for shoppers. From new refrigerators to bottles of wine, Blue-ray players to homeowner’s insurance, if it’s on the market it’s likely the non-profit organization has scientifically tested it. Of course the consumer watchdog is probably most famous for its vehicle reliability ratings.
The current-generation Jaguar XJ has had underwhelming sales, as the flagship sedan is seeing less than half the sales of its closest competitors in the US. Both the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class have been outpacing the XJ on the market, and now the British automaker is mulling over what steps to take next for its replacement.
From in-car technology to turbocharging, there is perhaps no other trend that’s fundamentally changing new cars more than the move to dramatically reduce the weight of modern vehicles.
Run-of-the-mill Jaguar XJ not good enough for you? Not even the $111,000 Supersport version? Better dig deep into your pockets for the XJ Ultimate Edition.
Last year Range Rover introduced its Autobiography Ultimate Edition which became the most expensive Land Rover made. Even though official pricing hasn’t been announced, we expect the XJ Ultimate Edition to follow a similar path, possibly boasting a price tag upwards of $175,000.
Despite the Land Rover boasting such an exorbitant price tag, it quickly sold out and clearly the success has allowed the British automaker to do the same with its XJ model. Among the car’s luxury features, there are two separate, fully-reclining seats in the rear along with aluminum folding tables and space to serve your favorite champagne.
Embedded behind the seats are built-in Apple iPads, similar to what was in the Range Rover Ultimate, to provide entertainment. If Apple’s tablet isn’t good enough, passengers can also watch entertainment on the TVs in the headrests. Since the XJ Ultimate Edition is clearly intended for transporting passengers, the suspension has been modified to give a more comfortable, softer ride. Engine choices will, however, be the same as the standard XJ model.
GALLERY: Jaguar XJ Ultimate Edition
The 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year short list has just been announced, and women motoring writers from around the world will begin voting for their top picks.
Cutting a list of contenders from 300 down to 32, judges will now allocate points to the nominated cars that fall into four categories: Family Car, Luxury Car, Sports Car and Economy Car. Just one of the 10 criteria that cars are allotting points for is Child Friendliness, which is something vehicles aren’t usually judged on in a competition.
Winners of the 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year will be announced before the end of March, and awards will be presented at the Paris Motor Show in September. You can check out the complete short list after below.
Jaguar has announced two different packages for the XJ, adding some sport and speed to the luxury sedan. The sport package focuses on the aesthetics, adding an aerodynamic package to the XJ with new front and rear bumpers, 20-inch wheels and red brake calipers.
On the inside, the sport package outfits the interior with sport bucket seats up front and new cabin trim options. On the other end of the spectrum, the speed package simply changes the top speed of the XJ, altering the electronic speed limiter from 155-mph to 174-mph. The two packages will be available in the UK first, but should make its way to Stateside shortly. No pricing was announced.
GALLERY: Jaguar XJ Sport and Speed Packages
The last Jaguar to offer all-wheel drive was the X-Type, a compact sedan that was ignored by the U.S. marketplace. But that isn’t detering Jaguar from planning to offer AWD on their XF and XJ sedans.
With a significant portion of Jaguar customers based on the East Coast, Jaguar needs to offer AWD for customers in the snowbelt, despite it being “cost prohibitive” according to Jaguar boss Adrian Hallmark. Hallmark said that AWD is a major selling point for brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, and if the brand wants to keep up its momentum among luxury buyers, it needs to offer AWD.
[Source: Car and Driver]
The results for the most successful cars of 2011 so far are in. Automotive data and marketing solutions company Polk has calculated the results from the first six months of 2011 new vehicle registrations and have come up with the top picks for non-premium and premium models.
These results look at model-level performance and determine which ones are doing well so far this year. It’s also important to note that the March Japanese earthquake/tsunamis have had an impact on these results, and the inventory shortages for Toyota and Honda caused by the disaster have impacted the June 2011 CYTD (Calendar Year To Date) retail results for these brands.
Here’s a list of the winners so far, along with the June 2011 CYTD year-over-year improvements in new retail registrations.
1. Hyundai Sonata (+32%)
2. Volkswagen Jetta (+69%)
3. Ford Fiesta (not on sale in 2010)
4. Chevrolet Cruze/Cobalt (+178%)
5. Jeep Grand Cherokee (+170%)
Other non-premium models that performed well in the first half of 2011 include the Optima, Regal, 200/Sebring, Durango, Elantra and Equinox.
1. Cadillac CTS (+54%)
2. BMW 5-Series (+56%)
3. Jaguar XJ (+273%)
4. Porsche Cayenne (+178%)
5. BMW X3 (+276%)
An honorable mention goes out to the Volvo S60, another premium model that has performed well in 2011.
Newport Convertible Engineering, famous decapitators of everything from the Subaru Impreza to the GMC Yukon to the Toyota Prius, have no shame and no hesitation in taking their Sawzall to a bevy of four-doored vehicles. In case its customers pine for JFK’s convertible, NCE has offered them the chance to enjoy wind-in-hair motoring, once again—behind the wheel of a Jaguar XJ.
Just in time for the Iowa State Fair, or a bevy of presidential candidates, the Jaguar XJ décapotable is based on a long-wheelbase model, with a gawky-fitting, power-folding soft top and a leather-wrapped roll hoop, in case butter sculptor Sarah Pratt loses her hat. NCE says it was their most difficult car to work on yet, but even the most potent of engineering finesse couldn’t eliminate the XJ’s previously-undisturbed lines and bulky top shelf. But hey, at least they got rid of those controversial C-pillars!
Orders are currently being accepted for the XJ convertible, which will start at $130,000, including the cost of the car. Hurry, operators are standing by!
Wald is giving older-generation Jaguar XJ owners something to get excited about. Part of their Black Bison line, Wald has introduced a new styling package for the XJ transforming the aesthetics and giving the luxury sedan a much sportier look. Along with the kit, customers can opt for a set of Wald wheels and a quad-tipped exhaust system.
The kit itself will replace the XJ’s outdated front bumper, side skirts and rear bumper. Additions include a subtle lip spoiler for the trunk and a rear window spoiler, giving the XJ a sporty style in the rear. The front bumper comes standard with LED daytime running lights, but customers can also opt for LED additions on the mirrors and fenders. Though wheel and tire packages can be custom tailored to what the customer wants, Wald chose to outfit their XJ with a set of 21-inch chrome wheels that in our opinion, doesn’t fit the Jaguar well.
GALLERY: Wald Black Bison Jaguar XJ
It’s not that often you here about new automotive job creation in the United Kingdom these days, but Jaguar is planning to do just that, by building a factory to produce a brand-new V6 engine for its XF and possibly XJ models.
Although in North America, Jaguars are currently only available with a 5.0-liter V8; in Europe, a pair of turbo diesel engines (a 2.2-liter four and 3.0-liter V6) are offered, along with the hoary old 240 horsepower 3.0-liter Ford V6.
Needless to say, given recent fuel price spikes, Jaguar needs an entry-level V6 model for U.S. buyers and this new motor will no doubt fit the bill very well. No specifics are available yet, but it is likely that this engine will be paired with the new eight-speed automatic transmission and crank out somewhere in the region of 300 hp, which will give it equal footing to current V6 offerings from the likes of the German competition, namely Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Whether diesel Jaguars will make it to our shores, remains to be seen, but given the brand’s current status, along with its product mix here, that’s probably unlikely, at least in the short term.
[Source: Car & Driver]
Jaguar has slowly been releasing details of their new products expected to debut in the next few years, and each leak makes us more excited for what’s in store.
The new SUV is expected to help bulk up the brand’s total sales and take on cars like the Range Rover Sport, BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne. Unlike some of the more rugged offerings in the segment, the Jaguar will use the brand’s aluminum spaceframe construction, and be oriented towards on-road performance. The main challenge will be keeping it from cannibalizing sales from Land Rover, and the two will undoubtedly share hardware to keep costs down.
Jaguar is also planning a new sports car positioned below their XK grand tourer, said to evoke the iconic E-Type of the 1960′s, while also avoiding competition with the Porsche Boxster, BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK. The new sports car will be out around the same time as Jaguar’s new small sedan and the all-wheel drive XJ sedan .
[Source: Inside Line]
After confirming that there would be an all-wheel drive version of the Jaguar XJ, CEO Adrian Hallmark also confirmed future product plans, including a smaller sedan and a hotter version of the XFR.
Jaguar hasn’t elaborated on their plans for a new small car, but such a vehicle will be crucial for them to expand and take on other European luxury marques, as well as provide an entry point for younger, less affluent customers.
Jaguar is also planning on an XFR-S, similar to the XKR-S supercar, while a 4-cylinder diesel XF and a 6-cylinder XJ are being developed to cater to the other end of the market. The two economical engine choices will open up new markets for the XF in Europe and the XJ in China (where the 6-cylinder configuration will help the car skirt hefty import taxes).
Jaguar is apparently readying an all-wheel drive version of their XJ sedan and the car should be on the market within 2 years. Jaguar is looking to combat their German rivals, each of which offer an AWD variant of their large sedans.
While only a 20 percent of cars in the United States are sold with AWD, that number skyrockets to 70 percent in the Northeast, which has traditionally been Jaguar’s strongest market. Lexus also offers an AWD variant of the LS460 and Audi’s A8 comes standard with the brand’s quattro system.
StarTech, a division of Brabus, is bringing performance and design options for Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles this side of the Atlantic. And if parent company Brabus is any indication, the results will be wild.
Or, maybe not as much. So far StarTech’s available packages are larger wheels, suspension lowering and interior trim. The company has just established itself in Irvine, CA, and already has appearance packages for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, including the company’s signature Monostar IV alloy wheels, full leather interiors, and custom luggage.
There are no twin-turbo 700-horsepower V12 Rockets just yet for the British marques. But StarTech plans to unveil a customized Jaguar XJ at the Geneva show next month which may have some surprises.