Jaguar roars into top form

These are good times for Jaguar and the marque’s many devotees. News of a £1.5billion investment at its plant in Solihull, which will create 1,200 new jobs and support and estimated 2,000 more in the supply chain, comes alongside the launch of the C-X17 concept car – hailed as a halfway house between a sports car and a sports utility vehicle. The firm – Jaguar Land Rover Group, to give it its full title – is owned by Indian car giant Tata, which bought the brands from Ford in 2008. The Solihull expansion will facilitate work on lightweight aluminium chassis for future models, including a sports saloon slated for release in 2015. Among those salivating over pictures of the C-X17 is my colleague Susannah Clark – I asked her about what turns out to be a lifelong (literally!) relationship with Jaguar vehicles…

Combustion engine: got your extinguisher, Dad?

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“I’ve long been a fan of Jaguar cars – I was driven home from hospital as a newborn in an old Jaguar Mark 2. That same car, which dad picked up for the bargain price of $200 AUD, ferried me to my first day of school, and it was in it that I learnt how to do a rolling clutch start, both to save petrol and to get the old thing going on cold winter mornings. “As much as it was a thing of great beauty, with its walnut dash, deep burgundy leather and fold-down picnic trays, it wasn’t particularly impressive from a mechanical point of view. It broke down almost weekly, and even that was an improvement on the tendency of the engine to burst into flames when idling in traffic, causing dad to drive everywhere with a fire extinguisher on the passenger seat. “Which is why this morning’s announcement is exciting for Jaguar fans everywhere. Now, to go along with Jaguar’s talent for designing cars which look beautiful, the new machines rolling out of the plant will based on an aluminum chassis, meaning new models will be smaller, sleeker and far more fuel efficient – no more rolling clutch starts to save petrol!

C-Xy beast: Jaguar’s new concept car

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“Jaguar says the first model to be built with the aluminum technology will be a mid-sized sports saloon – exciting, given that Jaguar normally specialises in enormous saloons that lend themselves more to cruising through the countryside than manoeuvring into a tiny spot in the supermarket car park. “But the model I’m really excited about is the concept car announced in Frankfurt – the C-X17 – an SUV/sports car hybrid. The car is packed with technology, looks beautiful, will no doubt deliver some impressive stats in terms of performance and frankly, looks like heaps of fun to drive. Here’s hoping Jaguar takes it from concept to reality so I can at least try it out for a test drive – at an estimated £30,000+ to buy, I’m not sure I can afford to do much more than that! “Wish you could still pick up a Jag for 200 bucks…” We’d love to hear what you think about Jaguar’s news from the Frankfurt Motor Show – would you rank Jaguar as one of your favourite car manufacturers?

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