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JLR Lookers West London

£12 million JLR flagship dealer opens next to the A40 in London

JLR Lookers West LondonA £12 million flagship new dealer for Jaguar Land Rover alongside the A40 in West London has been officially opened by explorers Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Monty Halls.

The new Lookers Jaguar Land Rover West London dealer is the first new-look Jaguar Land Rover dealer to open in the UK: over the next few years, all Jaguar and Land Rover dealers will look like this.

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JLR calls it the ARCH look, consisting of a sharp, clean, modern look. It’s part of the firm’s plan to combine Jaguar and Land Rover dealers into one outlet – and there’s £1 billion of investment going into 1,800 retailers across the globe deliver.

Jaguar Land Rover used the opening of the Lookers West London site to give the new Discovery its first UK showroom reveal, as a reward to the dealer group for its investment in the brand: the colossal multi-million-pound retailer site is certainly impressive.

It’s taken 18 months to transform the site, a few hundred yards down the road from the famous Hangar Lane Gyratory, and its opening means the new JLR look will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people every day.

Including JLR CEO Dr. Ralf Speth – his route into London from JLR HQ is via the A40…

In total, the new site can house 44 cars and includes a barista bar, business lounge, kid’s area, and comfy seats to lounge in. It produces its own power via a huge solar stack and the water used to fully detail every used car on the site is fully recycled.

Customers don’t even have to face the elements when they visit: a special drive-in service bay automatically opens garage doors as they drive up, so they can hand over their car to a technician in the warm and dry.

Andy Bruce, Lookers CEO, said: “Our new showroom is the result of a £12m investment into a brand that we really believe in. Our business is doing better than ever thanks in no small part to the incredible array of Jaguar Land Rover products on sale.

“With the new Lookers West London site we’ve created a real premium destination, and we are privileged to have not only hosted the New Discovery at our launch event, but also to hear some of Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ incredible adventures.”

Kaiser Chiefs star Ricky Wilson and Example test new in-car Spotify app

Kaiser Chiefs star Ricky Wilson and Example test new in-car Spotify app

Kaiser Chiefs star Ricky Wilson and Example test new in-car Spotify app

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has launched a new Spotify app using its InConnect infotainment system – and the Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson and Elliot Gleave, aka Example, have put it to the test.

As part of a promotional video shot by JLR, the music stars are seen driving through London in a Range Rover Evoque convertible and Jaguar XE.

They use the cars’ hands-free systems to exchange banter and chat about their own driving playlists – which include the likes of Green Day, Amy Winehouse and Jamie T.

“It’s great to be the first to try the new Spotify app in a Jaguar,” said Example. “It worked really well and I had fun setting up my winning playlist and chatting with Ricky, even if I did have to listen to his jokes.”

The popular online streaming service is the latest app to join JLR’s InControl library, along with the likes of parking app Parkopedia and route-planner Waze.

“I listen to music every day so it’s important I’m now able to use the app while I’m on the move,” added Wilson. “I respect Elliot’s music tastes, we’d even both included Jamie T, but my playlist was the best by miles.”

Kaiser Chiefs star Ricky Wilson and Example test new in-car Spotify app

InConnect is JLR’s take on the popular Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems, which are both widely utilised by other manufacturers and allow you to control Spotify through the car’s infotainment system via your mobile phone.

To enjoy ad-free listening (and be able to download music for times when signal is lacking), Spotify fans will have to pay £9.99 a month for its premium service.

The app is the result of a year’s worth of collaborative development between JLR and Spotify, says the carmaker.

JLR’s director of connected technologies and apps, Peter Virksaid, said: “Spotify has more than 100 million subscribers, a proportion of whom drive Jaguars or Land Rovers, so we recognised that Spotify was at the top of our customers’ app wish-list.

“From the beginning we wanted to create a Spotify experience that users would really love. The Spotify design team worked closely with us to create the best in-vehicle experience, and have spent many hours with us at our Gaydon HQ running user studies with our employees. The app is now available in our InControl Apps library, and we will continue to work with Spotify to add new features such as predictive search over the coming months.”

JLR Ingenium engine

Jaguar Land Rover to launch 300hp four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine

JLR Ingenium engineJaguar Land Rover will finally reveal details of its new Ingenium petrol engine this week, following the 2015 launch of the British-built Ingenium diesel engine.

Assembled at the firm’s giant (and ever-expanding) £1 billion plant in Wolverhampton – which the Queen opened in 2015 – the firm says the new Ingenium petrol engine will be up to 25% more powerful than the engines they replace, and consume 15% less fuel.

As the existing Ford-sourced 2.0-litre engine currently produces up to 240 hp in the Jaguar XE, this raises the intriguing prospect of Jaguar launching a hot 300 hp four-cylinder XE capable of over 43mpg: all eyes will be thus on the announcement expected later this week.

It almost certainly means the new 2.0-litre turbo petrol Ingenium will produce at least 250 hp.

The modular Ingenium petrol engine has a 500cc per cylinder displacement, meaning Jaguar could potentially produce a 3.0-litre straight-six engine in time, or a 4.0-litre V8. They’ll be used in sports saloons and SUVs, says the firm, and deliver “exceptional performance, efficiency and refinement”.

The valvetrain will be electrohydraulic, the exhaust manifold fully integrated and the twin-scroll turbocharger will use ceramic ball bearings. Jaguar will roll out the new petrol Ingenium engine range from 2017.

At launch, JLR will launch three versions of the new Ingenium petrol engine: 200 hp, 250 hp and hot 300 hp versions (with that high-tech turbo). The range-topping version will produce a diesel-like 295lb-ft of torque, produced between 1,500-4,500rpm.

TRANSCEND ‘two in one’ transmission

Jaguar Land Rover is also researching a new type of gearbox it’s codenamed TRANSCEND. This will be an eight-speed automatic with an ultra-wide gear ratio spread – more than double that of conventional automatics. It’s also a hefty 20kg lighter than normal automatics, despite incorporating low-range gearbox, dual clutch and hybrid technologies.

It means that, theoretically, an additional low-ratio gearbox would not be required for off-road use, saving cost and complexity and improving efficiency. There would also be benefits on-road through having such a wide range of revs-reducing gear ratios; JLR says the new transmission could cut fuel consumption by 10%.

“It will make manoeuvring and off-road use easier than ever before for drivers,” said JLR group engineering director Nick Rogers, “whilst also improving on-road vehicle dynamics and CO2 emissions.

Boldly, JLR says the new TRANSCEND project, which is partly funded by the UK government, will help “rebuild the UK’s transmission production”. Jaguar Land Rover currently uses an eight-speed automatic gearbox supplied by German firm ZF; many of its manual gearboxes come from Germany’s Getrag.

Jaguar XE

Jaguar moves XE production from Solihull to Castle Bromwich

Jaguar XEJaguar is moving production of its XE junior executive saloon from Solihull to Castle Bromwich to help boost volumes of the Solihull-built F-Pace SUV.

The Solihull ‘factory within a factory’ – a new Jaguar production facility built within the Land Rover Solihull plant’ – will now be used only to build the in-demand F-Pace SUV for Jaguar.

In moving the XE to Castle Bromwich, Jaguar will construct it alongside the larger XF executive saloon: the two cars use the same aluminium architecture so the process should be straightforward. To facilitate the move, Jaguar is investing an extra £100 million in Castle Bromwich.

It’s quite a turnaround for Castle Bromwich, which faced closure in 2008. Since then, Jaguar has invested heavily in it: £500 million has gone into it in the past two years alone.

Castle Bromwich currently builds the Jaguar XF plus the low-volume XJ and F-Type, and so is arguably underutilised. In contrast, the Solihull line builds the high-volume XE and ultra-successful F-Pace: it also, oddly, builds the Range Rover Sport on the same line, another in-demand machine.

Moving the XE to Castle Bromwich will fill capacity at the huge plant next to the M6 motorway, leaving Solihull to concentrate on the F-Pace – which has already become the fastest-selling Jaguar of all time.

So far this year, Jaguar sales are up 72%, to 85,726 – and in August, with the F-Pace fully on stream, they rocketed 104% to 10,868. The Jaguar XE was launched in the United States this summer.

Solihull will continue to operates 24/7, with three shifts running around the clock during weekdays.

Video: Jaguar XE at Castle Bromwich

Jaguar I-Type

The racing cat is back: Jaguar I-Type Formula E racer launched

Jaguar I-TypeJaguar has revealed its first-ever Formula E single-seater racing car – and it’s calling it the I-Type.

The new EV racer was launched next to the huge Jaguar Land Rover R&D centre at Gaydon, whose 9,000 engineers Jaguar promises are going to be heavily involved in the development and tech transfer of the new Formula E racing car.

Jaguar hopes to fast-track breakthroughs for future electric road cars by pushing the tech to its limits on the racetrack first – just like the firm’s founder Sir William Lyons used to do.

Japanese tech giant Panasonic is to be involved here too, announced Jaguar Racing: indeed, as title partner for the race team, it means the official title for Jaguar’s racing return operation is Panasonic Jaguar Racing.

The two already have branding for their racing development programme: Race To Innovate, which will “use the championship as a platform to develop the next generation of electric powered racing cars”.

Panasonic executive officer Mike Nagayasu attended the Jaguar I-Type launch and said this was a strategic partnership between the two firms: “We will provide the support and resources to achieve top results in Formula E.”

The firm has watched the first two seasons of Formula E with interest, he added, and now “wants to build on Panasonic’s legacy in motorsport”. The company was previously the title sponsor of the now-defunct Toyota Formula 1 team and is also closely involved in NASCAR racing.

But first, there’s the small matter of a racing series debut to make – and Jaguar doesn’t have long: the 2016/17 Formula E season starts early next month in Hong Kong!

Hence the big launch and reveal of the car’s name today; Jaguar’s also been testing the I-Type 1 at Donington in preparation for the first race on 9 October.

Jaguar I-Type

The driver line-up is Northern Irishman Adam Carroll and New Zealander Mitch Evans, with China’s Ho-Pin Tung as reserve driver.

Hopes for the start of the season are being kept in check and the team is under no illusions, said team manager James Barclay. “Expectations are in check but I can assure you we will be racing hard from the start of the season.”

How long before Jaguar wins again in a global FIA motorsport series, then?

Watch: Jaguar I-Type Formula E racer launched

Jaguar invites buyers to conduct their own group tests

Jaguar invites buyers to conduct their own group tests

Jaguar invites buyers to conduct their own group tests

Jaguar is inviting UK car buyers to visit its showrooms this September and try a new XE head to head with its three main competitors.

The British manufacturer has gathered 250 examples of BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class models and is allowing potential XE buyers to compare them like-for-like at their nearest Jaguar dealership.

“Our offer is simple,” explains Jaguar Land Rover UK managing director Jeremy Hicks. “If you are interested in test driving a Jaguar XE, but are uncertain about how it will compare against its key rivals, then contact your local Jaguar retailer and arrange your own personal group test.

“It’s a bold move, never done before by a manufacturer in the UK, but the Jaguar XE speaks for itself. It is the best looking car in its class, appealing to the heart but with class-leading running costs that add up to a shrewd financial purchase.”

When Motoring Research reviewed a Jaguar XE 2.0d 180, we concluded that, “if we had to make a call right now [against a BMW 320d], we’d give it to the Jaguar.”

Improvements for the 2017 model year Jaguar XE include the addition of a four-wheel-drive model and a (much-needed) new InControl Touch Pro 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Hicks added: “It’s a class leader across the key measures of efficiency, performance and cost of ownership and absolutely holds its own in the most hotly contested sector of the market against the most established players in the world. We know it, the critics know it, now it’s time for car buyers across the UK to know it – and crucially, experience it – for themselves.”

Car buyers wanting to take the Jaguar XE Challenge, which takes place 2 – 4 September, can register their interest on Jaguar’s website.

Land Rover Connected Convoy

Jaguar Land Rover takes self-driving cars off-road

Land Rover Connected ConvoyJaguar Land Rover is working on advanced technology that will allow autonomous cars to offer self-driving functionality on all surfaces and terrains.

The firm’s Autonomous All Terrain Driving Project will allow self-driving cars to work “in the widest range of real life, on- and off-road driving environments” such as grass, gravel, sand and snow.

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Current self-driving cars require quality surfaces and clear road markings to function correctly: JLR doesn’t want to limit future highly autonomous and fully autonomous tech to the tarmac. If you’re using self-driving tech on the motorway, reckons JLR, you should be able to use it all the way to your destination – even if it’s up a rough road or gravel track.

And even if you don’t want the car to take over fully autonomously, it should be intelligent enough to give you educated suggestions about the best way to tackle what’s ahead.

The project lends itself to the off-road focus of Land Rover, which has given a world-first demonstration of an ‘Off-Road Connected Convoy’: two vehicles hooked up via car-to-car technology, so the lead vehicle can send messages back to the second car, including which settings to use.

Ideal for safaris, reckons the firm, when only the lead driver is likely to be an experienced off-roader.

JLR head of research Tony Harper says the firm’s all-terrain autonomy research “isn’t just about the car driving itself on a motorway or in extreme off-road situations. It’s about helping both the driven and autonomous car maker their way safely through any terrain or driving situation.

“We are already world-leaders in all-terrain technologies: these research projects will extend that lead still further.”

Next-generation sensors

Connected_convoy_02

A new generation of autonomous sensors is required for JLR to achieve this, but the firm is working on them. They include ‘surface identification and 3D path sensing’, that links up camera, ultrasonic, radar and LIDAR sensors.

This gives the car a 360 degree view, one so accurate the car is able to plot a route to a tyre’s width, even over rain and snow. The car scans five metres ahead so can react to any surface changes, slowing the vehicle if necessary.

Such forward-scanning ‘terrain-based speed adaptation’ means the vehicle can also change speed if the road becomes rough and bumpy, making things comfier for passengers: it’s intelligent enough to know the potential ‘bumpiness’ of surfaces ahead so will always choose the correct speed.

The 360 degree view also ensures an autonomous Land Rover won’t whack into any overhanging branches or overhead barriers…

Jaguar Land Rover connected car safari

How Jaguar Land Rover will use car-to-car communications to make off-roading easier

Jaguar F-Pace Auto Express Car of the Year 2016

Jaguar F-Pace is Auto Express Car of the Year 2016

Jaguar F-Pace Auto Express Car of the Year 2016The Jaguar F-Pace has been declared Auto Express Car of the Year 2016 in yet another triumph for the smash-hit SUV. It is the third time Jaguar has been Auto Express Car of the Year in the Awards’ 21-year history.

Jaguar F-Pace on Motoring Research

Auto Express also made the F-Pace its Compact SUV of the Year, while the Jaguar XE’s Compact Executive Car of the Year triumph made it a hat-trick of wins for the British brand at the Auto Express Awards.

It’s also the 47th award the XE has won.

Jaguar’s fastest-selling model ever, JLR UK MD Jeremy Hicks said the F-Pace’s win is the latest highlight in an “absolutely sensational” response to the new model.

“The team behind F-PACE was set on creating a car that was more desirable, great to drive, and better value than anything else in its class – we didn’t want to just be a part of the performance SUV market, we wanted to own it.

“This award is the proof that we’ve succeeded, and we intend to carry this momentum into all our future products.”

In somewhat opportune photoshoot, Jaguar also staged a photoshoot with British IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua; he’s currently driving an XJR but says he now rather fancies an F-Pace.

“Congratulations to the team on the Car of the Year title,” he said. “I love seeing Brits taking on the world and coming out on top.”

Video: secret chauffeur Jimmy Carr surprises Andy Murray in a Jaguar F-Pace

Video: secret chauffeur Jimmy Carr surprises Andy Murray in a Jaguar F-Pace

Scottish tennis star and Jaguar brand ambassador Andy Murray had a surprise this week – when comedian Jimmy Carr turned up at his home to chauffeur him to Wimbledon.

As an official sponsor of The Championship, Brit car manufacturer Jaguar is providing a fleet of 170 cars to support event operations and transport players.

Although Murray wouldn’t have been surprised to see a Jaguar F-Pace pulling up outside his Surrey home to take him to training ahead of his second round match against Lu Yen-Hsun, he was somewhat taken aback to find Carr behind the wheel.

The journey to Wimbledon was captured on camera, and shows Murray and Carr exchanging banter on yummy mummies, grunting and Ivan Lendl’s paunch.

Speaking of the surprise chauffeur, Murray said: “We have a really close team and are often playing practical jokes on each other – this was definitely one of the better ones. Jimmy is one of my favourite comedians, I’ve been to see him live before but to have a front-row seat to this show was amazing!”

As part of the sponsorship deal, Andy Murray will be given his own F-Pace – Jaguar’s hot new SUV, which we described as ‘the best car in its sector’.

Talking of Wimbledon, Jimmy Carr commented: “I love everything about Wimbledon; the excitement, the crowd, the anticipation, the £15 punnets of strawberries. Now we are chums hopefully Andy will give me a wave in the crowd this time and make it extra special.”