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The Mercury Cars Guide : July 17th 2010
16--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, July 17, 2010 COVER STORY Jaguar's new flagship Cool cat ready to pounce Neil Dowling DRIVEN HEADING OUR WAY: After creating a real stir in British and Chinese showrooms, the new Jaguar XJ is set to turn heads in Australia. Jaguar gets a more luxurious cat that is sure to dazzle the Australian market JAGUAR'S style queen, the XJ flagship, has walked the Australian catwalk this week to rave reviews. The saloon, priced from $198,000, aims to hit hard at the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class Australian market after crunching its rivals on the UK and China showroom floors. Jaguar Australia boss Kevin Goult says he wants 120 sales in 2011 and expects the six months left in 2010 to attract at least 60 buyers. The first Australian delivery is due this month. In Jaguar's 75th year, the XJ appears as a fluid extension of designer Ian Callum's 2009 Jaguar XF model, despite the XJ being penned before the XF, and so presents as an extremely attractive car that shines over the more masculine shape of the 7-Series. ''We are getting a lot of interest from existing Jaguar owners but, more importantly, a very big audience from BMW, Audi and Mercedes drivers,'' Goult said. ''I expect it to reproduce the success, but on a slightly smaller scale, of that in Britain and China.'' While its bread-and-butter rivals include the BMW and Mercedes, Jaguar believes the high- performance 375kW Supersports will also appeal to buyers who are looking at the Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin Rapide and Maserati Quattroporte. Goult said one of the XJ's biggest attractions was its ability to be customised. ''Even the badge at the centre of the cabin's dash can be individualised to be inscribed with your name, your wife's name, anybody's name,'' he said. The XJ initially arrives with three engines and will be boosted later in the year with the awesome Supersports 375kW/625Nm supercharged five-litre V8. There is also talk of the XF's three-litre V6 petrol coming later as Jaguar prepares this engine for the diesel- hating US market. The three engines for Australia now are the 202kW/600Nm three- litre V6 turbo-diesel; the 283kW/515Nm five-litre V8; and the low-boost supercharged five-litre V8 with 346kW and 575Nm. The engines all mate to ZF six- speed automatics with three driver modes and steering column- mounted paddle shifters. Jaguar then bolts these drivetrain choices into standard 3032mm wheelbase and long wheelbase (3157mm) aluminium bodies that weigh as little as 1755kg --- a far cry from many of its steel-bodied rivals and remarkably about the same weight as its sister XF models. Volvo thinks outside the square with V60 IN PASSING IMPRESSIVE: The new coupe-looking Volvo V60 station wagon has plenty of appeal. BOXY Volvo wagons are dead forever and the proof is in the coupe- looking all-new V60. The mid-sized newbie is developed from the latest S60 sedan, one of the more-impressive European introductions of 2010, and finally dumps the squared- edged treatment that has been a Swedish trademark since the 1970s. Volvo has even slapped a sports wagon label on the S60, just as Holden did with its Commodore family carrier. ''We've never had this kind of wagon before --- it's much more sporty,'' says the managing director of Volvo Australia, Alan Desselss. ''This is not just a wagon conversion on a sedan. It's a totally different car. These days there are companies who can deliver a fridge for you so there is no need to have a Volvo wagon to carry one around.'' The V60 picks up the same mechanical, technical and safety package used in the S60 and will land in Australia in the first half of 2011. Engine choices will range from a CO2-friendly powerplant to a turbocharged 3-litre T6 motor with about 220 kilowatts of power. There are six- speed automatic and manual gearboxes, front and all- wheel drive, and Volvo is promising the same enthusiastic chassis tuning as the S60 sedan. Desselss says the vehicles will have the same appointments and safety aspects too. ''We're pretty confident that it will be a pretty dynamic drive.'' Desselss refuses to talk about prices or final engine choices, except to say the car takes the same approach as the S60, which is likely to have a basic bottom line close to $50,000. He believes a deal with Sweden is close, but is not committing to anything on price until the car is nearly ready for Australia. The S60 will be seen first at the Australian International Motor Show in October but Desselss says the Sydney event is too early for the sports wagon. ''We should get the S60 in December then the V60 towards the end of the first quarter of next year.'' Volvo's global boss Stephen Odell says the design of the V60 is closer to a hatchback crossover than a traditional. ''The typical sports wagon customer is an S60 buyer who would like some extra space and flexibility, but without the slightest compromise on sporty design and exciting driving properties,'' Odell says. ''Our sports wagon does not aim to compete with the traditional estate car. For the customer who wants a lot of load space, there is our V70 or XC70.'' Volvo has done more than just a tail-end job on the V60, although some people say its new nose looks more like an aardvark than anything else in the Swedish range. Desselss says the S60-V60 combination will be a major pillar for Volvo from 2011 and he hopes their acceptance in Australia will be a breakthrough for Volvo. ''We desperately need these replacements,'' he says. ''The old S60 just wasn't strong enough. It did well at the start but that was a flash in the pan. ''The two cars will be a very significant proportion of our volume. They will be between 25 and 30 per cent of volume so it's quite a significant move for us. And the bottom line for the S60? ''We are getting closer on price. A call around the $50,000 mark is pretty strong. But it still has to be approved by Sweden,'' Desselss says. PAUL GOVER
July 10th 2010
July 24th 2010