Words and photography Andrew Elphick
In the middle of hall five, spanning adjacent stands Tata’s luxury brands, Jaguar and Land Rover stood bold as brass – and with good reason. AROnline was present at the press conference, and here our the best bits, just for you:
First up, making its European launch was the XFR-S saloon (above), a striking ‘smurf blue’ among the sobriety of the accompanying stand-fillers. Key points of the fastest Jaguar saloon ever produced are: 542bhp. 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds, 186mph maximum speed – yours for £79,995. This brute (discretion is not a key point) even managed to overshadow the new F-Type.
The F-Type is now almost ready for customers, so to confirm its sporting credentials Jaguar screened a short film. Sixty years ago, famed factory test driver Norman Dewis made motoring folklore – you might remember the famous 172mph dash in an experimental XK120, along the arrow straight Belgian highway in Jabbeke. Of course 172mph is now standard fare for people carriers, so Jaguar upped the ante: 0-179-0mph… in two miles! A proud Norman manned the press conference in Geneva, while we watched Andy Wallace exercise the F-Type – take a look for yourself:
Second movie on the bill was hopeful viral movie Desire produced by Ridley Scott Associates, and fronted by Homeland hero/bad guy Damian Lewis. The trailer looked good, but can it usurp the creator of the genre, BMW’s The Hire series of Internet films?
Introduced by JLR CEO Ralf Speth, Speth highlighted the upcoming workforce explosion with the new Wolverhampton engine production facility, the new nine-speed automatic transmission (a production car first) and hinted three further JLR products would shortly be announced.
Then from the future, the past appeared: The Defender, or more precisely the Defender Electric. Despite outwardly representing a standard Defender (despite the taxed prototypes big red dash mount EMERGENCY STOP button) the Electric has a 330Nm motor and just a 100kg weigh penalty. Not blessed with a wonderful range, it could however be a huge ‘municipal’ seller. A shame then that it disappeared after only one day on the stand, replaced by a standard station wagon.
The next Defender announcement met a thunderous clap when the ‘Race2Recovery’ rally team took centre stage. The team of British servicemen were the first disabled team to complete the Dakar Rally in January – 8570km of harsh terrain beaten in Defender (nee’ Bowler) Wildcat. Thumbs up to the team from AROnline!
So after a half hour slot, Ralf Speth bid us good day and JLR’s top brass happily mingled among the crowd – see you next year.