The 2013 Jaguar XF Sportbrake is based off the popular XF sedan, and if we may so, the Jag may just be the best-looking station wagon ever built. The XF Sportbrake, as it’s known, takes the best elements of the sedan then adds interior room and big cargo capacity, while maintaining the same structural rigidity and keeping extra weight in check.
The Jaguar XFR-S is Britain’s newest and loudest answer to German uber-sedans like the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, and boy is it a monster. With a design language that represents a new flashier, race-bred Jaguar, the XFR-S cuts a striking profile, especially from the rear where its carbon fiber spoiler and quad-outlet exhaust with center diffuser look as menacing as any Jag in recent memory. Thankfully, this big cat has the M5-fighting performance chops to back up all that flash.
A supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine returns from the XFR, but is retuned to make 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft. of torque. Pair it with an adaptive 8-speed ZF automatic transmission and RWD and you get a 0 to 60 mph time of just 4.4 seconds. The car’s cabin is a sight to behold, highlighted by Jaguar/Land Rover’s newest-generation navigation and infotainment interface and an 825-watt Meridian surround sound audio system with 18 speakers.
Pricing will start at $99,000 plus destination when the 2014 Jaguar XFR-S goes on sale in Summer 2013.
If you’ve been sleeping on Jaguar, know that the quintessentially British automaker has been producing some damn fine cars lately. The 2012 Jaguar XFR is certainly no exception, undergoing a thorough exterior and interior refresh for this year while retaining the sweet supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that makes this cat pounce at a moment’s notice.
As the range topper within the 2012 XF lineup of midsize luxury sedans, the XFR features all the fine English luxury expected of Jaguar. From a redesigned front fascia, now with gaping air intakes and snarling headlamps with a well-placed strip of LED daytime running lamps, to those quad rear exhaust outlets, this Jag now has the posh yet sporty styling to back up all that power.
And power there is, gobs of it. With 510 horses from said V8 and a quad turbine Eaton-type supercharger, a thorough road test from Autoblog reveals that this car pulls hard all the way to its 155-mph top speed with room for plenty more should the electronic nanny be, um, disabled. It’s also quite well-mannered when pushed, drawing favorable handling comparisons to key competitors: the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, Audi S6 and even the mighty BMW M5.
The 2012 XFR deserves a long look from anyone seeking true high-end luxury with their world-class sport sedan. Available now, pricing starts at $82,000.
J.D. Power and Associates has just released findings from its 2012 Initial Quality Study, and the results contain the usual suspects, as well as a couple of surprises. The 2012 IQS surveyed 74,000 model-year 2012 car buyers and lessees, asking if they had any problems with their vehicles during the first 3 months of ownership.
Like last year, Lexus took home top honors after owners reported just 73 problems per 110 vehicles (PP100V). Jaguar pulled a big about-face after placing 21st in 2011, rising to tie Porsche for second overall with 74 PP100V. Cadillac was next at 80, while Honda topped all mainstream manufacturers at 83.
Overall, automakers showed a 5% improvement in initial quality since 2011. The last decade has brought a big shift toward overall better-quality vehicles, as manufacturing techniques have improved and car companies have learned from one another. With consumers armed with better information than ever before, the reality is that manufacturers just can’t get away with making bad cars anymore.
The findings would be even more glowing were it not for persistent consumer issues with complex new in-car technology systems. Ease-of-use qualms hit particularly hard at Ford, where its SYNC with MyFord Touch system still confounds many buyers despite its advanced and useful features. Ford placed 27th with 118 PP100V, falling hard in the last couple years after placing 5th as recently as 2010.
See below for the complete numbers, as well as the highest-scoring cars, trucks and SUVs in each segment.
The commercial was noted for being a bold comeback declaration for the Chrysler brand. Put simply, the message was “We’re back.” Chrysler’s declaration of a comeback via TV commercial is hardly the auto industry’s first.
Here’s an inside look at some of the best and brightest car commercials of the last decade or so. The themes of resurgence and innovation underscored the unequivocal belief of an adapt-or-die mentality, as struggling automakers sought to woo buyers back into showrooms. Some campaigns were successful, while others fell flat.
Take a trip down memory lane and enjoy some memorable car commercials and judge the success of each for yourself. And suggest any additions to the list in the comments below.
Oldsmobile, “Start Something,” 1999
In the late 1990s, Oldsmobile was struggling to maintain a niche within GM’s crowded portfolio. This advertisement kicked off the brand’s last-ditch “Start Something” campaign that sought to target the brand toward upwardly mobile young professionals – a far cry from the typical Olds buyer. Despite introducing new products like the Aurora and Intrigue, the campaign was not a success, and GM announced the gradual phasing out of the ‘Olds brand just months later.
Cadillac, “Moments,” 2001
Before European and Japanese imports captured nearly all of the luxury market, Cadillac was seen as the chief aspiration of the automotive buyer. The advertisement shows images of classic Cadillac cars, with models from the 1990s notably absent. By pulling at nostalgic heartstrings, the ad sought to recapture this all-American spirit while previewing bold new products soon to come from Cadillac. A totally revamped product lineup in the early 2000s helped back up these claims, and Cadillac experienced a significant resurgence.
Ford, “Proof”, 2007
Ford may be an industry darling today, but that wasn’t the case in 2007, when the status of all American automakers was in question. In this spot, Ford sought to highlight its onslaught of all-new products, making the claim that the cars could speak for themselves. Again classic models of the past are used to appeal to a strong sense of brand image. The campaign was successful. With an emphasis on brand-new models and borrowing from the private sector rather than the government, Ford weathered the auto industry collapse far better than its Detroit rivals.
Jaguar, “This is the New Jaguar,” 2009
When this ad saw airwaves in 2009, Jaguar and Land Rover were freshly sold by Ford to Indian company Tata Motors. Reputations for poor build quality and tired designs had plagued the company during the Ford era. The all-new XFR and XKR breathed bold and fresh life into the company. Sales have picked up a bit, but the jury is still out on whether “the new Jaguar” will win the hearts of more buyers.
GM, “Reinvention,” 2009
This commercial laid out GM’s plans for its taxpayer-sponsored turnaround in surprisingly honest detail. It was followed up with the poignant “We All Fall Down” ad in late 2010 (viewable here) After reemergence from bankruptcy, GM had made its apologies and was ready to move forward. Sales numbers have spoken volumes as GM has recaptured some of its lost market share.
Buick, “Photo Shoot,” 2009
This ad tried to communicate Buick’s resurgence in a funny and slightly cocky way, but the commercial fell flat with most viewers. The overall message of the commercial wasn’t too far off, as the company’s rejuvenated products like the Enclave, Lacrosse and Regal have been hits with buyers who have indeed taken another look at Buick. The tongue-in-cheek campaign has since been replaced with a series of ads that shine light on Buick’s recent advances in a more serious way.
Kia, “Big Game,” 2010
In early 2010, Kia new that good things were coming from the brand, but most Americans had no idea the brand was poised for a major upgrade. This ad – Kia’s first Superbowl commercial – was a bold statement from the brand. From the catchy track (“How You Like Me Now?”), to the hip, “Hangover”-esque visuals, the ad served as a marker of Kia’s entry into the major leagues of the industry. Although the spot focuses on the Sorento, which hasn’t set sales charts on fire, the brand has delivered with hits like the Soul and Optima.
Cadillac, “Reignition,” 2010
“Reinvented, Reimagined, Reinspired.” With this tagline, Cadillac invoked images of space flight and linked its successful CTS and SRX models to the then-unreleased CTS coupe. Cadillac has pulled off an about-face, managing to shed its old, tired image and once again produce models lustworthy to the car buyer. Cadillac is indeed “back,” though the ad spot suggests even greater heights for the future.
Jeep, “Manifesto,” 2011
Jeep and parent company Chrysler have quite a bit riding on the shoulders of models like the surprisingly strong-selling Grand Cherokee. This Jeep spot uses two clever angles, promoting both increased quality for the brand and its American roots. While the Grand Cherokee has sold well out of the gate, only time will tell if Jeep quality has actually improved.
Chrysler, “Imported From Detroit,” 2011
Needing a way to gain a foothold as it has lagged behind Ford and GM in post-automaker-bailout sales, Chrysler has played heavy on its “Imported From Detroit” ad campaign. This spot aired during the Superbowl and portrayed the Motor City as the center of the car world. It’s too bad the ad hawked a product that automotive critics have called a failure, the warmed-over Chrysler Sebring the company now calls the 200.