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Old 01-19-2005, 18:56   #1 (permalink)
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UK:Jaguar Pins Its Hopes On New XK

Jaguar Pins Its Hopes On New XK

Auto Express
by Craig Cheetham/Images: Jim McCraw



Is this the car to secure the future of Jaguar? Bosses certainly hope so, and said as much as they took the wraps off the sensational all-new aluminium XK at the Detroit Motor Show. "The fightback starts here," said chairman and chief executive Joe Greenwell.

Known currently as the Advanced Lightweight Coupé (ALC), there's more than a hint of Aston Martin about the styling. Insiders have told Auto Express that the production car will be virtually unchanged from what's seen here, particularly in the cabin and around the front grille.

Design chief Ian Callum revealed the shape of the nose was "of prime im-portance as an indicator for the look of future Jaguars". That means the new coupé will get all the show car's distinctive features, including the angular beam projector headlamps, 21-inch alloy wheels, tapered front and rear plus unusual twin exhaust pipes.

The aluminium gills on both front wings will help engine cooling and also improve the aerodynamic flow to the back of the car. Unlike the current XK, the new model will have a hatchback-style tailgate to boost practicality.

Greenwell maintained it would be an important vehicle in the firm's history, after Jaguar's much-publicised strug-gles last year. "The XK120 was ground-breaking and, of course, the E-Type and XJ6 saloon in the Sixties helped to change the face of motoring," he said. "These were events in automotive de-sign that have stood the test of time, and I'd like to think of the Advanced Lightweight Coupé as another of those moments in Jaguar's lineage."

Sources close to the project have told Auto Express it was originally plan-ned to unveil the car at September's Frankfurt Motor Show, but this was pulled
forward to create a more positive mood within the troubled company.

Inside, the ALC is simple yet stylish, with the dashboard, centre console, seats and doors trimmed in hand-stitched tan leather - a feature likely to make it into production models.

Also expected to debut in the XK, as well as oth-er models in the line-up, is the Alpine 'Pulsetouch' infotainment screen. The central display is similar to that in the current XJ, using touch-screen technology to allow the driver to choose between sat-nav, audio and climate control settings. However, the monitor features vibrations, pressure and sounds to give the user the feeling of using real buttons.

The car will be built along similar principles to the XJ, with the body structure and platform made entirely out of aluminium, and the seams bonded together, rather than welded, to save weight. Production XKs are expected to arrive in showrooms early next year, and will be powered by a choice of normally aspirated or supercharged V8 engines based on the current 4.2-litre unit fitted to the XK, XJ and S-Type.

The range-topping R model is ex-pected to deliver more than 450bhp, giving a 0-60mph sprint time of less than five seconds and a top speed of 180mph. For the first time on a Jag, a paddleshift gearbox will be offered in place of a conventional automatic one.

Managing director Bibiana Boerio appealed for fans of the marque to give the business time to turn around following its plan to close the Browns Lane factory in Coventry. She said: "We want Jaguar lovers to know we are committed to a production-led trans-formation of this company."

The firm will release pictures of the production XK this summer, and open order books before the end of the year.







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Old 01-19-2005, 19:25   #2 (permalink)
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Re: UK:Jaguar Pins Its Hopes On New XK

damn that is a nice car. Wish Ford would take some styling ques from this division.
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