I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

TMW - 2012, Our Fleet of cars.

The year started great for me with regards to motoring, I still had my great Jaguar X-Type, it was a car I never thought i would own, however due to illness it became harder and harder to get in and out of and pushing the clutch was also quite and effort, so when my 2008 Silver X-T had to go it was a very sad day.

Andy had heard that there was a large event at a Vauxhall dealer in Bury St Edmund's, as we were heading that way to visit our friends near Lowestoft we decided to pop in and see what they had got, I was not that impressed with Vauxhall at the time, and to be honest that has not changed except for an even worse opinion, I have to say that of all the new cars and dealerships i have visited over the years this one is most definitely the worst with there customer service skills.

It was while at this dealer, that I decided that an automatic Vauxhall Meriva would be my best bet, as it was higher up, auto, and had good vision all round, we asked about a new one, which was going to be about £21,000, he then advised us of a 3 month old, which turned into 6 month old Meriva 1.7 CDTi SE, this was the top of the range, we took it for a test drive and was reasonably impressed with it, so after a lot of haggling and chatting I took the deal on offer, regretting it at leisure later.

The Meriva was not the car for me, so after a while i sold it privately to a lovely couple in Essex, I, in the meantime had an order placed for a Mini Countryman 2.0SD Cooper ALL4, yes a right mouth full, but, an apparently good car, we had tested the Countryman in manual and a Clubman automatic, very comfortable and quick and smooth, mmmmmm, that's not the car I got 3 months later, the car i received had run flat tyres, and they were very harsh, noisy and did not take any bumps or holes with the smoothness that the two test cars had.

I had mentioned this to Mini, but they did not seen to take any interest, unfortunately anyone that takes money from you for any product is exactly the same, take your money and then ignore you, shame I am not a salesman, I would definitely not ignore people that come to me for a car.

The three cars above are my cars, ones i have owned in the last year, the rest are cars i have had access too and have driven, albeit some for less miles than others, the first is My Mother in laws Hyundai i10, this car is the basic of the basics, but for a £7k car, it looks good, is very comfortable, has a few creature comforts, CD player, electric front windows and central locking, the access to the car is very good with wide front doors and reasonably high seating position, it is swift too, and precise, i really like the car, however it is not to my size, i prefer something a little bigger.

Andy started off the year with his pride and joy, the Jaguar XF 2.7 Diesel, we both really loved this car, it was very comfortable, very quiet, very quick and very well specified, the touch screen infotainment system was a little slow but had everything within, everything was electric from windows, seats, steering column, auto opening vents and raising dial for the gear selector, a great start to getting the car started, the throbbing start button with keyless start were get additions to the car.

The XF was and is a great looking car, it is well made and well priced, along with a good specification it beats the hun  oops, i mean German cars hands down, this is one car that we both really miss.

The only reason Andy got rid of the XF was due to a promotion at work, and this job came with a company car, how inconvenient, it meant that we did not need three cars on the drive, so the Jag had to go, a paltry sum was offered to take it of his hands and the deal was done, the car that replaces the Jaguar, well, a Volkswagen Passat diesel estate, it had a couple of options added, like front sensors, folding mirrors and the one that he really wanted, a power tailgate, mmmmm, well, he does like his gadgets, and to be honest it is handy, anyway, this white estate car duly arrived and after a quick drive it seems like a very likable car, and very economical, it has a good sat nav and a few toys to boot, but it is not a jag is it.

It does everything it has been asked of it so far, it is well laden down in the boot with all his work paperwork and other stuff, it is doing quite a lot of mileage and carting me around, in some respects it is better than the Jaguar, I can get in it reasonably OK for one, and it is more frugal, getting a good 50+ mpg, not bad in a large car with is laden with lots of equipment.

 On one of the many trips the VW took, was up near Nottingham, where Andy had to take part in company course, he arrived the night before and had an enjoyable meal and evening, after calling me in the morning to see if i was OK, he hung up and i assumed he had gone off to his training.

About an hour later i got a random text message saying that the front bumper had gone, i immediately thought he had been in an accident and called him, only to find out that someone had, during the night, taken the front bumper from his car, the police, as per usual could do nothing, and the car was then taken away for repairs, in the mean time a silver BMW 2.0d MSport was his replacement vehicle for the duration, I drove this on a few occasions and for a BMW it was not too bad, not as good as the Jaguar, equal to the VW, it was quite low, and i did struggle to get in and out, but the fuel consumption was as good as the VW.

The cars used in the above pictures are used for illustrative purposes only, however colour and model are correct (exp XF silver).

Monday, 24 December 2012

TMW - The new Jaguar 3.0 Litre Diesel

Back in 2009 after only a year in production Jaguar decided to replace the 2.7LD with a new 3.0LD in the XF, this caused much debate and concern on this forum, why was it changed so soon? Why did they not launch the XF with the 3.0L to start with? and was it worth it?
Well in our opinion the answer to the last question is a definite yes!!

We have had, Thanks to the generosity of Jaguar UK, an XF to test for a week.

The Car was a 2010 MY XF 3.0L D Portfolio in Spectrum Blue, charcoal interior, warm charcola veneer with 20” Selena Wheels
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Compared to the 2.7D there has been a lot of improvement, the new engine is a completely different beast, it is quieter from the initial startup where there seems to be less of an initial “roar”, to hardly being able to hear the engine when it was running.
It seemed smoother while driving and there is no lag on pulling away from a standstill due to the parallel sequential turbo boosting system,

Power is up from 207hp to 240hp cutting down the 0-60 time from 7.7sec to 6.7sec, increasing top speed slightly from 143mph to 149mph.
With better fuel consumption up from 37.6mpg to 42mpg and a claimed 51.3mpg (Extra Urban), overall weight is up slightly, I assume it is down to the new engine.
Co2 emissions for this engine is a great improvement,(199g/kg for the 2.7) Co2 of 179g/kg compares very well with the same engine in the XJ at 189g/kg considering the XJ is a larger and of similar weight

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Compared to what I have been driving for nearly two years, it was nice to have some of the little extras not on mine, having a TV was a nice touch, but having to watch the budget was a bit of a downer, the sports seats had a bit more support and with the heating and cooling which was a nice feature, the adaptive cruise control takes a bit of getting used to, but on the whole I think it worked well, it did seem to be a bit intrusive on busy stretches of motorway causing the car to slow quickly at times when you came up behind other vehicles, experimenting with it in town one evening it caused a bit of a surprise when a cyclist in front caused the car to slow down for no apparent reason.

The front parking aid and rear camera is new to me and very useful in car parks, it makes you wonder how we managed without it, I think it will be a must for my next car.
The auto wipers seemed to work a bit better than on mine, and the integrated cornering headlamps are a nice feature, very useful when returning home on a dark wet evening.

The interior has not changed in layout, but to drive it is a different car, the ride seemed smoother, the wheels are the same size as on mine; however it seemed to ride the potholes a lot better.
In Conclusion while I was disappointed when the 3.0LD was announced so soon into the XF’s life, it is certainly a better car, it’s just a shame the new engine was not available for the launch.

We now seem to be known locally as "Jaguar House"............. I can't think why :rolleyes: :lol: B)

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THROW BACK THURSDAY - 001 - TMW - 2010 Factory visit with Pictures

In the first of what we hope will become a regular piece on "The Motoring World Blog", we will publish a post that we first published some while ago, so here today, in the very first "Throw Back Thursday" we will re-publish our visit to Castle Browmich Production Facility and a full tour of that plant, which included our being allowed to take a vast number of pictures, so plaese, do enjoy.
To be offered a chance of visiting the Castle Bromwich site of Jaguar Cars, as few people know is one that you do not turn down, yes they offer visitor tours twice a day from the very modern visitor center where you will be greeted by Julie with a big smile. But to be able to go around and take as many pictures as we could, is something that does not happen that often.

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But to start at the beginning, a few weeks ago I received an email offering us the chance of a drive in the new XJ, as I have reported before on these forums, we have seen the XJ up close and personal on a few occasions, but without the chance of driving the car.

Now, this chance has arrived and great thanks should go to Nick for giving us this opportunity at trying out the last car in the first phase of Jaguars re-invention, first being the truly quick XK, then the XF, a car that has changed the way everyone thinks of Jaguar, gone now is the staid old image of saloon cars for 50+ executives and the retired, in has come the fresh younger sporting image, with the XKR and XFR, all three cars are specified and priced to be ultra competitive, as was always the case from Jaguar inception many years previously.

Once, after our test of the XJ, Tom, who has been with Jaguar for over 40 years, took us on the first part of the tour, we were given permission from Jaguar to take what pictures we wanted throughout the plant, and we did, over 150 of them, it seemed that we could go where we liked and we asked lots of questions which were all answered quite quickly and thoroughly. We entered the press shop where the 5 presses were pounding away, pressing the wings for the XJ, the thud as the presses push down with up to 2000 tonnes pressure on each piece of aluminium, comes through the solid concrete floors.

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The presses produce enough of each panel to last for about 10 days, before the next press die is installed and another set of ten days worth is produced, all in all there are about 320 dies for the XJ and there are 297 panels in the XJ alone, each press does one piece of work on the aluminium sheet before it is passed to the next where another operation is completed, by the time the panel comes out of the last press it is ready for use, nothing is wasted here at Jaguar, and the off cuts get carried away to be sent back to be recycled and reused, the factory is as near to carbon Neutral as can be with initiatives to offset any usage in the factory.

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Once in the grounds of the factory, walking from one block to another XJs are parked up everywhere, every conceivable colour and derivative, even the odd XF dotted about, some with some rather different “bling” alloys.

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The XJ takes a total of 48 hours to produce, that’s process time, excluding all breaks, weekends etc, and working to a one-shift basis, at full capacity 17,400 XJs can be produced a year again on a single shift basis, not a bad figure when you consider the XF and XK are also made on site and they do this with 2,300 highly trained and experienced staff, although I was not given any figures on cost of development of the new XJ, anywhere between 400-900 million could be the case, and when you see the end result you can see why.

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The XJ, consists mainly of aluminium, 50% of which already comes from recycled metals, but it also has a small amount of steel and some magnesium alloy, this means that 90%+ of the new XJ is recyclable, something these days is a must to prove that any company believes in being ecologically aware, I am sure that Sir William Lyons would be very proud of how his company has become a force in the luxury saloon car market, and to have a very fresh and new range during this tough time in the auto market is a testament to the foresight and energy in the TATA owned company, yes the XK, XF and XJ were all under development in the Ford era, but TATA are taking it further with variants and future releases.

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The XJ is partially constructed in a factory that can trace its heritage back to before the war, inside the huge building you can see that the structure is there for the duration, in fact it is so well made that the roof is strong enough to support various pieces of equipment from it, it is thought, as there are no definitive figures available that around 305 Lancaster Bombers and 11,780 Spitfires were built between 1940-1946, by the mid 50’s it was amalgamated into the then BMC (British Motor Corporation), It was not until July 1980 that Jaguar took control of the site for themselves, where XJ and XJS were assembled, then followed S-Type, XK and the XF and now the new XJ.

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As you continue the journey around the mammoth plant, you see staff beavering away at there individual stations, to see what they do you wonder if they get bored doing the same job day in day out, but they have a between 4-6 week rotational period, and are each trained on appox 4-5 different areas, meaning they get the chance to change jobs frequently, so it does not get too repetitive, robots tend to do the majority of the work on the cars in the factory but nothing can take away the experience of Jaguars dedicated team to get the fit and finish to a standard that surpasses anything that has come before it.

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As you continue the journey around the mammoth plant, you see staff beavering away at there individual stations, to see what they do you wonder if they get bored doing the same job day in day out, but they have a between 4-6 week rotational period, and are each trained on appox 4-5 different areas, meaning they get the chance to change jobs frequently, so it does not get too repetitive, robots tend to do the majority of the work on the cars in the factory but nothing can take away the experience of Jaguars dedicated team to get the fit and finish to a standard that surpasses anything that has come before it.



Jaguar shows a great deal of faith in its workers by empowering them and allowing them to stop the line at any stage when they feel there is a problem, after all, they are the people that know the cars, and if they see something wrong, they are the ones that should bring it to the fore, get it sorted and carry on, the lines stop roughly between 50-100 times a day, I know this sounds a lot, but in the majority it is just for a second or two, once it hits around 3 minutes that’s a cars production lost for the day.







Once the cars arrive at their final destination after having the computer system uploaded in the car and the fluids, they are driven off to be taken over an onsite test track with ripples, cobbles etc to see if there are any squeaks and rattles, once it passes this they go and get parked up ready for departure to which ever part of the world they are destined for.









Even though Jaguar have only been at Castle Bromwich for 30 years, you get a feeling of its history from the spitfire statue on the roundabout just before you enter the site, it is home for this company, especially as Browns Lane is no more, the heart of Jaguar is in the midlands, the heritage, the present and hopefully the future, should be here, the team of workers show that they can achieve world class products, on all the cars they produce.



Some statistics for the XJ….

Body in white Stats
  • 21,622 Square meters – Total XJ body shop footprint
  • 154.3 meters in total of adhesive is applied to the car in three differing types.
  • 87% of rivets are automatically applied which is 18% higher than the last XJ
  • 328 kilos of total weight of the long wheelbase, standard model 5 kilos less.
  • 141 total inline measurement points for verification of body alignment
  • 590 fasteners in total applied to the body over 40 different types.
  • 110 robots, 89 Kawasaki and 21 ABB robots
  • 27 laser guided cameras
  • 3153 self piercing rivets, standard wheel base has 35 less

Other stats
  • 2-2.5 days for the paint process
  • 1.5 miles of copper wire in the XJ
  • 15,000 mile service intervals
  • EU5 and ULEV2 emmisions compliant


Sunday, 23 December 2012

PRESS RELEASE - Qoros, new brand, new car new ideas.

  • C-segment saloon to make public debut at 2013 Geneva Motor Show
  • Unique style matched by high quality materials and finish
  • Spacious interior with high-spec infotainment as standard
  • Engineered to achieve top crash test ratings

New independent automotive manufacturer, Qoros, has taken the wraps off the GQ3, the first of a family of all-new models designed and developed by an international team of experienced specialists and new, young talent, specifically for markets in China and Europe.

The first model from Qoros, the elegant GQ3 C-segment saloon, introduces design themes and styling features that will define a unique brand identity across the forthcoming family of Qoros models.  The GQ3 features an elegant exterior, a spacious, feature-packed interior and is engineered to achieve top European and Chinese crash test ratings.

“During the development of the Qoros GQ3, we directed all our efforts towards the needs and expectations of today’s young, aspirational customers,” says Volker Steinwascher, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board at Qoros.  “They are very sensitive about design and quality, are highly sophisticated users of technology, and insist on the very best safety standards.  As an entirely new brand, we have the advantage of being able to focus our efforts, without compromise or distraction, on meeting the demands of these customers.”

Making its world debut at the Geneva International Motor Show (7-17 March 2013), the Qoros GQ3 goes on sale in China in the second half of 2013, with the first cars arriving in Europe later in the year.

Elegant exterior

The GQ3’s styling introduces a brand identity that will make every future model instantly recognisable as a Qoros.  Under the leadership of Executive Director of Design, Gert Volker Hildebrand, a team of designers in Munich and Shanghai have created distinct and precise styling based on modern European design tastes.

The GQ3 has a sporty, elegant profile with a long wheelbase, short overhangs, a coupé-like silhouette and a roof that flows smoothly into the strong rear quarters.  While horizontal lines emphasise the car’s impressive stature – at 1839 mm, it is one of the widest cars in its class – a striking swage line rises dynamically from the headlamps via the door handles to the rear lights.  A prominent matt aluminium strip above each side sill adds to the visual stretch of the side profile, while muscular arches – accommodating alloy wheels up to 19-inch in size – and the car’s wide track reinforce its purposeful stature.

The face of the GQ3 sets the template for the Qoros model family, with wide headlamp units extending into the flanks of the car, framing the central upper grille at the same height.  Horizontal LED bars feature at the upper edge of the headlights and in the distinctive rear light clusters.

The standard alloy wheels feature a triple-split eight-spoke design, which will become another signature design element for the Qoros brand.

Refined interior featuring an advanced infotainment system

The GQ3 will offer generous interior space, and the horizontally arranged ‘floating’ dashboard will further enhance the impression of space in the cabin.  In its ergonomics and quality, the Qoros GQ3 sets new standards for cars produced in China and will be comparable with the best-selling cars in Europe.

Prominently occupying the GQ3’s central console is the innovative eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system that represents an automotive industry first.  The advanced software, technology and graphics were designed and developed in-house to safely manage information displays for minimal driver distraction and to optimise ease-of-use while on the move.  The intelligent and powerful package was created specifically with the young, aspirational, always-connected target Qoros customer firmly in mind.

Replacing the array of switches and buttons that blights many modern car interiors, the capacitive touchscreen enables users to manage entertainment, navigation, ‘Cloud’ connectivity and in-car networking functions with intuitive finger ‘swipe’ movements that will be familiar to smartphone users.

The system allows drivers to book dealer service appointments, features an automatic emergency services alert in the event of an accident, and supports usage-based car insurance services.  The state-of-the-art navigation system includes best-in-class traffic information and an advanced points-of-interest search.  Integrated social networking connectivity enables drivers to share their driving experiences, points-of-interest, favourite trips and photos via social media through the intuitive interface.

The immensely powerful fully-featured infotainment system will be fitted as standard across the GQ3 range.

Targeting maximum safety

The Qoros GQ3 is engineered to achieve maximum European and Chinese crash test ratings thanks to advanced safety technology.  The car’s structural architecture incorporates the latest developments in the field of crash safety.  The precise arrangement of supporting structures, as well as large-scale deformation zones, prevent intrusions into the passenger cell during collisions.

In addition, occupants are protected by a comprehensive package of state-of-the-art safety measures, including front, side and curtain airbags, as well as highly-effective seatbelt restraint systems.

GQ3: the name explained

As Qoros plans the introduction of a large family of cars, its three-digit model naming structure has been carefully considered.

The first letter designates the body style: all sedans will carry the first letter 'G‘.  All Qoros models will feature the second letter 'Q‘ – an unmistakable reference to the 'master‘ brand.  The third digit will always be a number and indicates the segment in which the model range sits.  The number '3‘ denotes that the model is in the compact / C-segment.

After its world premiere in Geneva, the Qoros GQ3 will be exhibited at the Shanghai Motor Show in April 2013.