Jaguar, Land Rover take L.A.
Advanced design, technology permeate new model and concepts at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Jaguar C-X16 Concept
Jaguar and Land Rover are making a big push into the United States as part of their current growth plan, with a particular focus on Southern California. It's no surprise, then, to see these two legendary marques bringing their newest models and forward-thinking concepts to the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The one new production model making its world debut, the Jaguar XKR-S convertible, and the three concepts being shown for the first time in North America represent the future of their respective makers' philosophies.
2012 Jaguar XKR-S Convertible
What is it? A drop-top version of Jaguar's bruising, pavement-devouring XKR.
What's hot? The car's open-air design allows the scream of that potent 550-horsepower V8 engine to fill the cabin. It's hypnotic. And thanks to chassis modifications and structural reinforcements, drivers can expect performance similar to that of the hardtop version.
What's not? Those who insist on a manual transmission just keep walking; like the 2011 XKR Coupe, the 2012 XKR-S shifts with a 6-speed paddle-shifted automatic only.
How much and when? No official word on pricing or when the XKR-S will hit dealer floors, but expect it to be soon and the price tag to be north of $100,000.
MSN Autos' verdict: The XKR-S convertible is the rawest, most aggressive-looking Jag we've seen in a very long time. We like it. Suspension tweaks and killer styling could make this one of the more intense grand tourers out there.
Jaguar C-X16 Concept
What is it? An award-winning concept that was introduced at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and is now making its North American debut. It is a demonstration of Jag's aims in design and hybrid performance, and many say it could see production as a Porsche 911-killer as part of the XK model lineup.
What's hot? Designer Ian Callum has certainly crafted one hot machine; the C-X16 is simply gorgeous, with supersexy lines and an elegant yet menacing demeanor. The vehicle derives power primarily from a supercharged and direct-injected 3.0-liter 374-horsepower V6 engine. However, there also a 94-horsepower electric motor in the vehicle's automatic transmission that can give a boost on demand. Hence, Jag calls it a hybrid. This "push-to-pass" technology is an innovative use of the hybrid motor that we'd like to encourage.
What's not? It is tiny. It's the shortest Jaguar since the XK120 of the 1950s. Aside from that, the fact that the C-X16 isn't in our garage is the only complaint we can level at this point.
How much and when? The C-X16 hasn't even come close to being confirmed as a production model, but rumors abound about a late 2012/early 2013 target date. Various trims and packages could offer a fierce driving experience to many different levels of consumer.
MSN Autos' verdict: The C-X16 could be the most important Jag in decades if translated to the road as-is with a reasonable price tag. It's that exciting; it's that beautiful. We want it. We want it now.
Land Rover DC100 and DC100 Sport Concepts
What is it? The DC100 and DC100 Sport are a glimpse into Land Rover's future, or at least the future of the company's new Defender, which is set for a 2015 release. While Land Rover stresses that these concepts are just concepts, they do represent possible looks and design directions for the new SUV. Land Rover is testing different looks to gauge the public's interest.
What's hot? The Defender is one of the most beloved SUVs ever, and if the performance of the new Evoque is any measure, the new Defender will have the same combination of flexibility, ruggedness and grunt of the old one while remaining an iconically stylish ride.
What's not? "Boxy" isn't exactly a knock for a Defender concept, but the sheer thickness of the middle section of the front fascia makes the whole thing look like it's sagging just a bit. The DC100 Sport, without its roof, looks silly.
How much and when? The new Defender is set to hit the streets in 2015. No word yet on pricing.
MSN Autos' verdict: A Land Rover Defender should be fun, boxy and able to handle all kinds of off-road adventure. The DC100 Concepts are a great reassurance that Land Rover is on the right track. We can't wait to see where the Defender goes between now and 2015.
James Tate cut his teeth in the business as a race team crew member before moving to the editorial side as Senior Editor of Sport Compact Car, and his work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Automobile, Motor Trendand European Car. When not writing, Tate is usually fantasizing about a vintage Porsche 911.
Must-See on MSN
The Jag looks GREAT, but I think the guy who sculpted it surely was from Maserati
What a great country we live in...the car Show...must go on!
Ya gotta love it....
Speedracer361, do I detect some prejudice marrow amongst your bones ?