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Old 02-09-2005, 07:33   #1 (permalink)
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UK:Jaguar Advanced L'weight Coupé

Jaguar Advanced L'weight Coupé

Auto Express
by Juergen Zoellter

The car charged with bringing Jaguar back to the big time has hit the road, and Auto Express was on hand to exclusively record the historic event. Codenamed X150, the Advanced Lightweight Coupé was the star of last month's Detroit Motor Show, and is set to replace the XK next year.

We travelled across the Atlantic to see the two-door continue its tentative steps on the road to production, as the prototype hit the mean streets of Los Angeles and took to California's deserts. So far, only studio pictures of the new XK have been published - at last, the super Jag was on the move for real!

Styled by British designer Ian Callum, the ALC was unveiled to a wild reception. There's no mistaking the car's striking looks, and on the road it's even more imposing, with the sun shimmering off its 21-inch chrome alloys and gills.

But imposing is one thing, and original another. Some critics have scorned the new Jag for looking too much like Aston Martin's DB9 - which in itself isn't a great surprise, as Callum was the man behind that car, too. Besides, is there anything wrong with resembling a machine as striking as an Aston? One thing's for sure, though - among other traffic, the ALC appears much sleeker, smaller and less cumbersome than it looked on the stands when it made its world debut. It blends into these surroundings with consummate Jaguar grace.

Away from the motor show's bright lights, you soon learn to appreciate how this machine can be both a status symbol and a hallmark of discretion at the same time. Jaguar boss Joe Greenwell said at Detroit that the ALC is more than simply a show car. It is, he explained, the replacement for the XK8 in all but the detail - that detail being less dramatic air intakes under the headlamps and a more sensible exhaust tailpipe.

The interior is definitely a production reality, though. Settle into the cosy leather seats, and from behind the wheel you can really see how close this car is to showroom spec. The feel and texture of the materials still isn't quite there, but the dials, steering wheel and carbon fibre detailing are all as they will appear in the production version.

Also ready for business is the Alpine 'pulsing' head-up display, which uses the same touch-screen technology as found in the current-generation XJ and S-Type, but with the feel of real buttons - it might sound like a daft idea, but this system really works!

With dynamic talents honed by the same people who created the XJ - a saloon that's amazingly agile for its size - and Jaguar's trademark bonded aluminium construction technique, the next XK8 promises to be a great driver's car. And while we weren't able to subject this multi-million-dollar concept to a rigorous test, initial impressions on the road from the cockpit were very positive.

So is this the car to save Jaguar? As a stand-alone model, the ALC has huge promise, and it's bound to prove a hit, especially in the US, where sales are critical. Profitable it may be, but Jaguar needs to concentrate on selling more volume models if it's to be a success.

First Opinion
We can't wait to drive the new XK on UK roads, as we reckon it will be one of the most desirable coupés on the market. Equipped with a six-speed semi-automatic transmission and powered by a choice of V8 engines, the Jag is bound to be a refined, luxurious cruiser with a sting in its tail.

At a Glance
* Convertible version of new Jaguar is also expected
* American market tipped to account for 65 per cent of sales







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Old 02-12-2005, 15:32   #2 (permalink)
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Re: UK:Jaguar Advanced L'weight Coupé

This is the most beautiful Jag since the E-type—ALC has to be a very thinly disguised second-generation XK8. Ian Callum has an excellent sense of balance with his cars and I for one do not think it looks like an Aston at all—very different curves. Remember that Callum wanted to be a Jaguar designer since he was a kid and there is no one who understands that brand's futuristic appeal (which it lost between the mid-1970s and early 2000s) more.
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