Episode #392 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, and Chris Paukert talk about recent confessions by Autoblog Editors, the unconfirmed rumors that the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat will show up at the Woodward Dream Cruise, and the release of the North American Car and Truck of the Year long list. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the new rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #392:
Autoblog editors come clean
Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to debut at Woodward Dream Cruise
NACTOY long list released
In The Autoblog Garage:
2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe
2015 Subaru Legacy Limited
2015 Audi S8
2015 Alfa Romeo 4C
Hosts: Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, Chris Paukert
Intro and Garage - 00:00
Editor Confessions - 34:48
Hellcat Charger Unveil - 59:56
NACTOY Long List - 01:09:51
Q&A - 01:25:43
Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
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There's no doubt that Tesla is downshifting while Fisker has been grinding its gears. But it wasn't always that way.
In the wake of Tesla's recent success, it's easy to forget that there were once two California electric carmakers with bright futures.
Remember Fisker Automotive?
Both companies were back in the news this week. Tesla confirmed it will team with Panasonic to build a battery factory, and Fisker won approval of its bankruptcy plan to pay creditors and allow it to have a fresh start with Chinese investors, Wanxiang Group.
There's no doubt that Tesla is downshifting while Fisker has been grinding its gears. But it wasn't always that way.
Five years ago, many observers thought Fisker had just as much potential to make a go of it as Tesla. Elon Musk was still known as the SpaceX and PayPal guy who supposedly knew nothing about cars. Fisker, meanwhile, was founded and led by Henrik Fisker, an industry celebrity who designed sexy sports cars like the Aston Martin DB9 and the BMW Z8.
Separated by about six hours of California highway, Tesla and Fisker were billed as the new wave of American manufacturing, two electric carmakers that could do what the Rust Belt-anchored Detroit Three could not. Their rivalry became so heated, Tesla even sued Fisker in 2008 alleging theft of technology, with Fisker emerging as the nominal victor, netting $1.1 million in court fees from Tesla.
As recently as 2012, Tesla only had one car, the Roadster, which was built on a Lotus chassis with an electric-powered motor in place of a traditional engine. It was the definition of a niche product. That year, however, Tesla followed up with another car, the Model S. With an all-electric range of 265 miles and the capability to sprint to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, the Model S was a runaway hit. It had the size and power of a BMW 5-Series, and it didn't burn a drop of fuel.
Continue reading Weekly Recap: The divergent paths of Tesla and Fisker
Jaguar has a bunch of projects in the hopper, from the replacements for the XJ sedan and XK coupe/convertible to its very first crossover. But arguably the most important among them is the XE - the British automaker's upcoming new sports sedan. Coventry has given us all sorts of peeks at what to expect from the new XE, from a shadowy rendering of the front end to a photo of a camo-wrapped prototype. But this is our best look yet.
As part of an announcement of a planned audio-visual spectacle scheduled to herald the arrival of the XE, Jaguar has released the image you see above, showing the undisguised XE in apparent S specification. From what we can see, it sports a fascia that looks pretty much exactly as we'd expect, though that's no bad thing. The XE is set to introduce the new Ingenium family of 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. Whether the XE S shown here would carry a version of that (with a potential supercharger) or transplant the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 from the F-Type S remains to be seen, but whatever's under the hood, we'd expect it to hold the top end of the XE range - at least for the car's introduction before a potential R, R-S or SVR version might come along to supplant it.
One way or another, don't be surprised if you see some BMW 3 Series sedans pacing down the street nervously for the next little while. In the meantime, you can scope out all the glorious details of Jaguar's planned collaborations with the likes of Emeli Sandé, Stella McCartney and Idris Elba as part of the FEEL XE campaign in the press release below.
Continue reading Jaguar shows the face of its upcoming XE S sports sedan
With around a month away from its world debut on September 8, Jaguar continues to issue a constant drip of updates about its upcoming XE compact luxury sedan that's aiming to take on the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. Where the company's last bit of info focused on the car's suspension setup, this time Jag's putting the spotlight on the new model's modular platform and making some big promises about it, too. How big? Try over 75 miles per gallon big.
That's the headline figure that Jaguar is claiming for its new sedan, but it's keeping mum on just what powertrain will realize that figure. Furthermore, that result is on the European test cycle, which is more lenient than America's EPA testing regime. In any case, when the XE hits the road, Jag says it will be the most efficient vehicle from the company, ever.
That's thanks in no small part to the aluminum-intensive monocoque chassis underpinning the sedan. It's constructed from a new grade of the lightweight metal called RC 5754 that uses a high portion of recycled material. "The Jaguar XE body uses over 75-percent aluminum content, which far exceeds any other car in its class. This gives us a body structure with unrivaled low weight: it's light but also immensely strong with extremely high levels of torsional stiffness," said Dr. Mark White, Jaguar Chief Technical Specialist; Body Complete.
Considering that the XE is also using some of Jag's cutting-edge Ingenium family of engines, maintaining a low mass and high efficiency should be easier goals reach. The real question is still how it feels will feel to drive. Europeans get to find out in 2015, but North American buyers will have to remain patient until 2016. Hopefully, it'll be worth the wait. Scroll down for a video explaining more about the platform and for the full release.
Continue reading Jaguar XE promises to net 'over 75 mpg,' just not for us [w/video]
Whether you're looking at Bertone going bankrupt or Spyker facing (and subsequently resolving) a large tax bill, it's saddening to see an automaker having to sell off its factory collection. That's why we're glad to report that there are still some acquiring historic vehicles from their pasts. Like Jaguar, which has just bought the largest private collection of classic British cars in the world.
The collection of 543 cars was painstakingly assembled by one James Hull, a British dentist with some 50 dental clinics to his name across the UK and who was keen to find the right buyer to take possession of his life's work and preserve it for years to come.
Of those 543 cars, the majority are of British origin, including over 130 Jaguars. The collection includes seven XK120s, several C- and D-Types, a rare XKSS, eight E-Types, thirty Mark-series Jaguar sedans, nineteen XJS coupes and convertibles, some twenty XJ sedans as well as some pre-war SS models and Swallow sidecars and coachbuilt specials from the company's early days. Among the many noteworthy examples are a rare SS100, an alloy-bodied XK120 and an MK X owned by company founder Sir William Lyons himself, as well as Winston Churchill's Austin, Elton John's Bentley, and racing driver and motorcycle rider Mike Hailwood's E-Type.
The collection was acquired by Jaguar Land Rover through its new Special Operations division - the same unit responsible for the F-Type Project 7 and which now incorporates Jaguar Heritage. It will be housed at a new facility at Jaguar's historic home at Browns Lane in Coventry, the cars to be used at future events to promote the brand and highlight its history.
Although most of the cars were made by other manufacturers, Jaguar spokesman Dan Connell confirmed in correspondence with Autoblog that "the collection will stay together for the foreseeable future." As for the final price, neither party is saying, but while it was reportedly listed for sale at £100 million ($170m), we're told that wasn't the price which JLR paid for the collection. As Hull put it in the press release below, "My primary motivation was not to get the maximum price but rather to secure the future of the collection in this country with the right custodian." Evidently Jaguar was deemed to be "the right custodian."
Continue reading Jaguar buys world's largest collection of British cars
Automakers conduct driver training programs on racing circuits around the world for a variety of participants: journalists, customers, even celebrities. And at a recent session of the Jaguar Performance Driving Academy at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, the Leaping Cat marque had a couple of the Hollywood types in the paddock.
In addition to the various (evidently well-heeled) members of the public, learning how to pilot the new F-Type Coupe R on the track this time around were actors Sebastian Stan and Mena Suvari. You might recognize Stan from his roll as Bucky Barnes in the Captain America movies and Suvari from such red, white and blue favorites as American Beauty and the American Pie franchise, but both got a first-hand taste of one of Britain's finest courtesy of Jaguar.
So how did it go? Well, as one of the less-famous participants put it, it was #awesomesauce." We couldn't possibly reproduce in words her enthusiasm in person and on camera, so you'll just have to watch the video below to see for yourself.
Continue reading Jaguar teaches Mena Suvari and Sebastian Stan how to drive the F-Type
The Gas Guzzler schedule, with mpg ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam.
I started thinking about the "Gas Guzzler Tax" - considerably less well known as The Energy Tax Act of 1978 - when I was driving Dodge's new Challenger SRT Hellcat last week. Unsurprisingly for a car that can burn 1.5 gallons of gas per minute at max tilt, theoretically able to empty a full tank of premium in about 13 minutes, the Hellcat will be subject to the Gas Guzzler Tax schedule when it goes on sale.
Beyond knowing that it existed, and occasionally seeing a surcharge for it listed on the specification sheet for a press car I'd been loaned, I didn't really understand how the GGT worked or was calculated.
Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency makes learning about the GGT (and a lot of other stuff) pretty simple. EPA.gov has a clearly written explanation of the tax and the tax schedule. That schedule, operating with miles-per-gallon ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, clearly lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam. Basically, if a car's combined fuel economy rating is 22.5 mpg or higher it's off the hook - trucks, minivans and SUVs are all exempt from the GGT - if the rating is lower, per vehicle taxes range from $1,000 to $7,700 for the very thirstiest.
Continue reading 40+ cars that barely avoid the gas guzzler tax
The Tour de France is typically a two-wheeled affair, dominated by cyclists yearning to capture the prestigious yellow jersey. While the 2014 event winds its way through Europe, Stage 20 will see an altogether different conveyance wind along the route between Bergerac and Périgueux - the Jaguar F-Type Coupe.
As part of its partnership with the British cyclists of Team Sky, Jag has enlisted its new Special Operations division to build a one-off F-Type Coupe, based on the 550-horsepower, supercharged R model.
SpecOps has removed the rear glass and come up with a creative solution to mount a pair of Team Sky's racing cycles in the back. Aside from that upgrade, the cabin boasts new upholstery in the colors of Team Sky's traditional livery. A separate power supply has been established below the bikes in what's left of the trunk, which provides juice for a set of radios and microphones, so that the team's director can communicate with the riders.
Now, before the wealthy amateur cyclists of the world dial up their local dealer and attempt to order their very own F-Type with a bike rack in place of the rear window, Jaguar has already stated that it will not be putting this one-off into production.
Scroll down and take a look at a video of the new car's build process, as well as a the official press release from Jaguar. And keep an eye open for the F-Type on July 26, when Stage 20 of the 2014 Tour de France is ran.
Continue reading Jaguar builds F-Type to support Tour de France team [w/video]
Since buying Jaguar Land Rover, Indian automaker Tata has generally left its luxury arm's platforms and technology alone. However, those days might be gone. The two of them are gradually growing closer with coordinated development and rumors of shared platforms. And it looks like all of that work and money is finally going to pay off with an actual vehicle in the near future.
According to Australian website Drive, Tata wants to make its cars more attractive to buyers outside of India, and to do that the company knows it must improve quality. The Indian company is being careful, though, because it doesn't want to dilute the Jaguar or Land Rover brands with cheap models. "You're going to see in the future a lot of sharing of technologies and platforms over time, but you won't see a JLR with a Tata badge on it," said Darren Bowler, managing director of Tata's Australian distributor, to Drive.
According to Bowler, these future vehicles are already on the way. Tata and JLR have a global platform in the works for 2017 that both companies could use for cars or crossovers. He also hinted that Jaguar's new Ingenium engines could be shared among the brands in the future, too.
The latest pronouncements align rather closely with previous rumors. Earlier this year, reports emerged that Land Rover and Tata were considering a shared platform for the next-generation Freelander. The Landie would be aimed at its normal luxury, off-road market, and the other would be cheaper and more mainstream.
For athletes, the cold is often a powerful ally in treating injures, with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) a popular means of treating muscle pulls, bruising and other common forms of discomfort. Did you know, though, that frosty temps are also popular tools for simply recovering from a rough training session?
Well, we're guessing Jaguar Land Rover knew that, as the British company was kind enough to loan out its climactic testing chamber to Jaco van Gass and Luke Darlington, a pair of veterans wounded in their service to Queen and Country. Van Gass, a former private in the Royal Army, and Darlington, a Royal Marine, are attempting to earn a spot on the British Armed Forces cycling team for the upcoming Invictus Games.
The Games, inspired by the Warrior Games held in the United States, are a sporting competition reserved for injured servicemen and women, either active duty or veterans, and is slated to take place from September 10 to 14 in London's former Olympic venues. Van Gass lost his left arm below the elbow after getting hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (he also suffered from a collapsed lung, punctured internal organs, severe shrapnel and blast wounds, a broken tibia and a fractured knee). Darlington, meanwhile, suffered a traumatic brain injury during action in Afghanistan, and he now suffers from weakness in his right side and cognitive issues.
As for why a pair of cyclists opted to take the military lingo "stay frosty," to its literal extreme, it's all because of cryotherapy. As explained in the video, full-body cryotherapy is an increasingly popular form of recovery training for professional athletes, as it forces the body to saturate the blood with powerful (and natural) endorphins, which can alleviate the stress and strain from training. That means quicker recovery times and, consequently, more training for athletes like van Gass and Darlington.
Scroll down to see the pair in action, as they prepare for the 2014 Invictus Games.
Continue reading Jaguar Land Rover puts the freeze on wounded soldier-athletes [w/video]