All-new Jaguar XF driven above London’s river Thames
Jaguar unveiled its new XF model in a spectacular test drive on a high wire over London’s River Thames on Tuesday.
The British luxury and sportscar brand has unveiled its latest executive sedan in typically flamboyant fashion by driving it across two steel high-wires suspended 18 meters above London’s river Thames.
The incredible publicity stunt, which stopped commuter traffic, broke the record for the furthest high-wire water crossing by a car and required the expertise of veteran Hollywood blockbuster stunt driver Jim Dowdell.
It was dreamed up in order to highlight the car’s lightweight, predominantly aluminum construction, which is key to optimizing fuel economy.
The XF, which will make its full global debut at the New York motor show on April 1, is 80kg lighter than any of its immediate rivals and, at 104g/km and over 70mpg (4l/100km), has the lowest CO2 emissions and best fuel economy of any non-hybrid car in the same class.
As well as a 75% aluminum construction, these economy figures are down to the company’s new Ingenium four-cylinder diesel engines — available with 160bhp or 178bhp. However, for those who want a bit more performance and a little less economy, a 3-liter 296bhp V6 turbo diesel and a 3-liter 375hph supercharged V6 petrol engine are also options.
But whatever the powerplant, the car’s stiffened body and almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution mean that it will handle well, as will the inclusion of something called Jaguar Configurable Dynamics.
The system, which debuted on the company’s flagship F-Type sportscar, lets the driver tailor damper, steering, engine and transmission settings for comfort, straight-line speed or all-around performance.
The inside of the cabin is luxurious in the continental European sense — clean lines, premium materials and textures, minimal clutter and maximum connectivity — rather than in the traditional British sense of dark woods and darker, cosseting leather.
It is the first Jaguar-branded car to showcase the new InControl premium infotainment system, which features a 10.2-inch ‘dual view’ touchscreen — the driver can see a map when glancing at the screen while the front seat passenger can instead see a movie — as well as a 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster that can be customized like a smartphone screen or computer desktop.
It has the same sort of processing power and response times as a PC, using a quad-core processor for handling graphics, alerts and information.