Big on space, grace, pace

Bobby Cheetham

WITH the agile, instantly responsive and dynamically all-new Range Rover Sport holding up one end and the brutally desirable Jaguar XFR-S at the other, Jaguar Land Rover South Africa can boast two of the most exciting performance cars on display at the 2013 Johannesburg International Motor Show.

And if that’s the opening partnership, the middle order is no less impressive: there’s the brand-new XJR showing off Jaguar’s unrivalled combination of grace, space and pace, and the upgraded nine-speed Range Rover Evoque bristling with new technology that underpins superb all-terrain ability.

Proving team Jaguar Land Rover has an impressively long tail and can bat with authority all the way down the order, there’s the latest Range Rover and of course the recently launched Jaguar F-Type – a svelte convertible which highlights the brand’s rich sports heritage and reminds the world that high performance driving pleasure is embedded in the Jaguar DNA. The XKR-S coupe is proof of that too, and it’s a nameplate which goes back to 1948 and the very beginning of the Jaguar brand.

A little further down the order from the opening partnership, but no less talented is the 14 MY Discovery. Buyers of the latest evolution of the brands archetypal 4×4 will enjoy a raft of improvements, including improved audio and a new range of driver assistance, comfort and safety features to broaden its appeal even further.

The Disco is the choice of adventurer and humanitarian Kingsley Holgate, who on a daily basis puts it to the test.

Talking of tests, the iconic Defender is a veteran of a thousand tests on some of the most uneven sports fields across the globe, meeting the needs of those who require a workhorse that can tackle anything, anywhere. Superbly adaptable, there are few specialised tasks with which it can’t cope.

And when it comes to premium-level compact SUVs, there’s no better all-rounder than the Freelander, which continues to offer a high level of ability on any surface, combined with a classy look and a premium feel.

Updated less than a year ago, it remains the benchmark for excellence and offers a driving experience which goes beyond just making a fashion statement.

The African debut of the all-new Range Rover Sport at JIMS pre-dates its on-sale date by less than a month and owners can look forward to a completely new take on the SUV.

Key to this is the all-aluminium architecture which sees it shed 420kg compared to the equivalent first-generation Sport.

This has benefits across the dynamic spectrum and no SUV can match it for response and agility: It is the fastest, most agile, most responsive Land Rover ever. Along with this, it has been designed to deliver exceptional ride comfort on any surface thanks to the fifth-generation air suspension.

Sport customers will have a choice of three engines, two supercharged petrol engines (5.0-litre 375kW V8 and the new 3.0-litre 250kW V6) and a 215kW 3.0-litre SDV6 diesel engine. All petrol and diesel engines in the new Range Rover Sport are paired with an advanced, 8-speed automatic gearbox.

Three equipment levels: S, HSE and HSE Dynamic, will be offered, priced from R824500.

Jaguar has a rich heritage of performance saloons, arguably starting in 1959 with the iconic MkII, and the latest in this long line of fast four-door sedans is the XFR-S. Restrained to a top speed of 300km/h, the XFR-S is the fastest Jaguar saloon ever built, able to devour a kilometre of road in 12 seconds and rocket from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds.

Keeping it on the straight and narrow at its impressive top speed are carefully-honed aerodynamics, including a rear wing crafted from carbon fibre, which has enabled Jaguar’s engineers to cut lift by an extraordinary 68%. The potent, 405kW/680Nm forced induction V8 represents a high point of Jaguar engine development. Supercharging means instant response and high levels of torque, delivered in a predictable and linear fashion, enabling the driver to perfectly control what is delivered to the eight-speed transmission and on the 20-inch rear tyres.

Jaguar Land Rover’s group marketing director Phil Popham said: “Both brands have been completely revitalised and in the last three years global Land Rover sales have increased by 65%. In the first eight months of 2013, Jaguar Land Rover sales grew by 16% , and will continue to grow as the impact of the F-Type is felt around the world and the all-new Range Rover Sport is rolled out.”

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