Jaguar's future model plans revealed; first ride in the new Porsche Macan; new Caterham rival unveiled; Aston Martin Vantage V12 S first drive; Nissan Note tested
Jim Holder
8 October 2013

Jaguar's new model blitz is set to hit unprecedented levels over the next five years, and this week's Autocar magazine has the lowdown on the four key cars that are set to transform the company's fortunes - and on which its future depends.

The six-page special outlines the firm's BMW 3-series rival and the coupé, estate and baby SUV that will follow on from it. We also reveal the plans for the larger Range Rover Evoque 'XL' that will sit on the same platform, and talk to former Jaguar boss Adrian Hallmark about the firm's ambitious plans.

Also significant is our first opportunity to ride in the new Porsche Macan. Embargo restrictions mean we can't give any details away regarding the Range Rover Evoque rival, but with the car set to be the biggest-selling Porsche in the future anticipation is high.

Other news exclusives include the details of a design competition being held by Fiat in London to design the next-generation Fiat 500 and Panda, the inside line on new regulations that could lead to the end of diesel in Europe, first images of the new Caterham rival being designed by Zenos and the latest on the new large saloon and SUV being created by European-bound Chinese car maker Qoros. We also give the full lowdown on the autonomous Nissan Leaf project.

Aston Martin also features heavily, both for a review of the impressive new Vantage V12 S, details of which are under embargo until tomorrow, and for axing the Aston Martin Cygnet from its model line-up. Andrew Frankel writes the farewell piece - and even if he can't bring himself to contemplate owning one, he at least finds himself surprisingly charmed by it.

The full Autocar road test pours over the merits of the new Nissan Note, which proves encouragingly decent. Other first drive reviews incude a UK test of the Jaguar XJR, plus the new SsangYong Korando, Subaru Outback, Dacia Logan MCV, Skoda Rapid Spaceback and Vauxhall Insignia.

We also have an exclusive interview with Caterham boss Tony Fernandes, who reveals his expansion plans for the firm, and insight into the new Castle three-wheeler, which its makers are hoping to fund via an innovative crowd-sourced project.

Long-term test fleet updates include a sad farewell to our Range Rover Evoque, plus updates on the Renault Twizy, Volkswagen CC, used Land Rover Defender and Mazda MX-5.

James Ruppert leads our used car section off with an overview of the finest deals he has found from across the full spectrum of affordable motors, and we have a three-page buying guide on the E39 BMW 5-series, while Lewis Kingston asks if you should spend £20,000 on a new Renaultsport Clio or used Alpine A310.

Autocar magazine is available through all good newsagents and to download from Zinio and the Apple iTunes store.

You can also buy one-off copies of Autocar magazine from Newsstand, delivered to your door the morning after.

Our Verdict

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

The Aston Martin Vantage has an abundance of soul, and decent ability with it

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Comments
2

8 October 2013

Surely you mean A610?

14 October 2013

AUTOCAR (9 October 2013), reports that (only) . . . “If the Jaguar "760" project goes well, a two-door coupe version could be in the showrooms in 2018”.

Could the Jaguar company do any more to publicise, display, its - lack of - confidence in such an important and significant “make-or-break” new “Junior executive” model, than to qualify the future launch schedule of variants before the “lead” model is even introduced? We could/would/should expect to get the two-door coupe variant, at the same time as when all the model variants are introduced.

Is moving the B-piller that difficult - with “merely” a shorter rear ¾ panel and longer door?! We know that they developed the F-Type coupe in parallel with the recently launched open convertible, to ensure that one model did not compromise the (subsequent) development of a further variant. How much more difficult would it be to develop and engineer all "760" variants at the same time with them all on the “drawing board” together?

+ + + + + +

It is to be hoped that the "760" four-door “saloon”, will provide suitable and appropriate rear-seat accommodation levels, when compared to the German competition.

When the “road-warriors” all pile into their Jaguar "760" on the way to the pub after the interminable Friday “Sales Meeting”, the “designated driver” will still enjoy the same spacious environment behind the steering wheel as they do during the rest of the week.

However, the two colleagues relegated to the rear seats of the "760", are going to find their comfort levels seriously compromised - according to the sneak previews and artists impressions of the “four-door-coupe” like "760"; and the empirical evidence of the already existing “four-door-coupe” XF, and the already existing “four-door-coupe” XJ. (Unfortunately, every one was able to witness the inelegant entry of the bride’s family into the rear of their XJ, the morning after the wedding of the future King of England!).

Further, to state that the whole future of Jaguar depends upon the success of the "760", is a little unfair, unrealistic, and displays a woeful ignorance of the potential yet to be exploited that is contained within the existing models, such as the existing “four-door-coupe” XF, and the existing “four-door-coupe” XJ, and their meagre sales figures - when compared to the German opposition.

We were promised proper, conventionally proportioned, four-door “saloon” versions of the “four-door-coupe” XF, and the “four-door-coupe” XJ, before they were introduced. We are still waiting!

All those designers “beavering-away” in Whitley’s “Geoff Lawson design centre”, must be able to produce a conventionally proportioned, four-door “saloon” version of the “four-door-coupe” XF, and the “four-door-coupe” XJ - that allows/offers appropriate levels of rear seat headroom with associated ease of entry/egress, for the Executive market segment, and the Luxury market segment.

The meagre, limited, sales volumes of the“four-door-coupe” XF, and the “four-door-coupe” XJ, demonstrably confirm that there is something fundamentally wrong with the present product offering, when compared to the German competition.

+ + + + + +

Two smaller suggestions could be introduced immediately - even if only as customer “options” - without actually committing the company to standardising the proposals, and which would undoubtedly widen the appeal to potential customers, of even the existing “four-door-coupe” XF, and the existing “four-door-coupe” XJ.

1. Offer the XJ customer, and the XF sportbrake (estate) customer, the sensible option of having their respective models’ “C-piller” finished in matching body colour to the rest of the vehicle - instead of the confusing, affected, exaggerated, pretentious, blacked-out surround of the rear windscreen.

2. Offer the XF customer the option of having the whole facia of the existing “four-door-coupe” XF, to be available in (various) wood veneers, rather that the ubiquitous “Knurled Aluminium” which really is (still !) trying too hard to be “young and trendy”.

+ + + + + +

It is hoped that Jaguar would accept all the above suggestions as positive and constructive. However, from previous experience it is evident that the company is afflicted by the dismissive malady often referred to as “not invented here”.

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