Jaguar Land Rover Experience Day 2013

A line up of Jaguar cars

A Jaguar Land Rover Experience Day for PR purposes is not one you can buy,unfortunately. On average, a petrolhead will rarely get to enjoy days like the one we’re going to write about, so we thought we’d share ours with you. As devoted car enthusiasts, it’s what we’d want to have a read about, so, enjoy!

An email from Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) drops into the inbox with a cheerful ping noise. We’re working hard on our latest car test and time is tight, so any distractions are pushed to one side while we crack on. However, as it’s titled ‘Jaguar Land Rover Experience Day‘ we’ve suddenly decided it’s time for a break anyway, and a KitKat and a cup of coffee later and we’re reading the details. Phrases and words like ‘V8’, ‘Supercharged’, ‘New Range Rover’, ‘510PS’ and ‘F-TYPE on display’ jump out the screen to visually slap us.

Jaguar land rover experience day

A list with all the cars available to play with is attached to the email, and it’s making us slightly happy. Instead of a boring old list let’s paint a picture; Imagine this. You’re inside a huge Jaguar Land Rover dealership, looking at an array of sparkly new models including the brand new Range Rover, Jaguar XFR Supercharged, Evoque, XKR, XF Sportsbrake and a whole lot more. A rather well-dressed assistant comes over, and simply states you’ve got access to every vehicle in the showroom and a full day to test as many as possible. You would weep with joy.

We’re sold, and the day comes around quickly. It’s a bitterly cold day in February, but it’s dry and bright at least. After a three-hour drive we arrive at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon, England, where the event is held. Gaydon is home to research and development centres for both Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin, and there seems to be one of the marque’s model’s for every few hundred yards of road at times. We spy new Discovery’s (?) being tested, covered in black and white camouflage-effect vinyl wrap to disguise the design lines.

After a quick sign-in and meeting a couple of the nice PR people,  it’s onto the first and most important thing of the day – excellent coffee and pastries. Thank you JLR for providing these for us weary travellers. We sit with the provided list of cars to test, and it’s not an easy decision. Choosing which is your favourite child would be easier. In the end, we decide on a new Evoque and go to see what’s available – a hoard of car-hungry journalists are ravaging the key-box, and it’s high time we got in there too.

Because of the demand, there’s a half-hour limit to each test so we’re not going to give you a full review here, just some of the highlights of each car.

After an epic battle mainly involving simple queuing and perhaps a thrown spear or two, we’re handed the keys to a 5-door Evoque SD4. Out onto the press car parking area and we’re greeted by row-on-row of beautiful machinery, along with a host valeters keeping the vehicles sparkling. Sorry we got the spanky-fresh tyre walls muddy boys.

Four photos of the Range Rover Evoque SD4

We spy our Barolo Black Range Rover Evoque Prestige SD4 and wander over. Even in five-door guise this is still a looker, possibly down to the fact it appears factory-fresh, but there’s also no denying the 10-spoke satin-silver alloy wheels, slippery black paint and panoramic roof make heads turn. Opening the doors, we’re greeted with the massively high standard Land Rover are known for (barring, of course the Defender). Beautifully soft Ebony-coloured leather covers the seats and dashboard, alongside brushed aluminium and gloss-black trim. It’s a nice place to be.

Onto the road and the 2.2 diesel engine gives a surprising turn of speed. 0 – 60 mph is just eight seconds, which is at least three faster than most SUV’s on the European market. It’s a smooth ride, and the tight handling and poise gives confidence.

Jaguar XKR convertible parked.

After that it’s onto the next car, and we’re lucky enough to swipe a Jaguar XKR convertible. A veritable beautiful monster of a car with a 5.0 litre V8 Supercharged engine. I’ve been chatting and my colleague has nipped off. I find him sat in the Rhodium Silver XKR grinning like he’s just been given a million pounds. As I get closer, he blips the throttle and the XKR’s exhaust barks and crackles. Now I’m grinning too.

Inside, it’s as you’d expect from a luxury GT car costing over £85,000. The gloss black and chrome controls on the doors for 16-way adjustable leather seats catch our attention, as does the superb Bowers & Wilkins sound system. It’s all loveliness, and that’s as much as we’ll say until we get one to test properly. Taking off the electric handbrake, we’re off and it’s instantly and unsurprisingly very, very obvious that we are driving a car with 500+ bhp.

Six photos showing details of the Jaguar XKR convertible

The zero to sixty run takes a mere 4.6 seconds, but we’re more interested in the real speed – accelerating on the move. Yes is the answer to all speed-related questions. Yes, you will be glad of head restraints to stop your neck snapping like a brittle twig, yes the turn of speed from 30 mph to erm, much higher than that is simply mind boggling and yes, 620 Nm (427 lb ft) of torque will propel you past the car you’re overtaking faster than you can shout ‘what the flip’. The five-litre supercharged XKR should come with two extra letters; ‘LL’. Licence Loser.

We wander back to the desk to get another car, and are hugely fortunate in that another journo has just handed the keys back to the ‘all-new’ Range Rover. We snap it up quickly, and run away before mob rule ensues in order to get a turn in it. There’s a reason that everyone wants a go in the RR, and that is because it is utterly brilliant from top to bottom.

2013 Range Rover TDV6 Vogue SE in Siberian Silver

Outside, we take a few minutes out of our precious half hour simply to take in the looks. This 2013 TDV6 Vogue SE in Siberian Silver (light blue), is an absolute beauty. Many are still of the opinion that the last version looks better. No, it doesn’t. Take a good walk around the next time you get chance, and you’ll see we’re right. This isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s fact.

The Range Rover is big, but not bulbous or overweight. If we remember correctly, it’s 400 kilograms in weight lighter than the last model, thanks to an all-alloy body. That’s nearly a half ton. A lot. Open the doors and instantly, all in your little world is good. We thought the interior on the last Rangey couldn’t be topped for comfort and build. How wrong we were. It’s simple and opulent at the same time – check out the photo’s for proof.

Interior details of the 2013 Range Rover TDV6 Vogue SE

Firing the 3.0 litre turbo diesel V6 engine into life, there’s a distinct lack of noise. This is quite possibly the quietest diesel made today. It’s so super-silky it feels like you’re driving a car which uses silk pyjama’s to power it. All of you thinking that it must be slow or sluggish beacuse of its ‘small’ three litre diesel engine are completely mistaken. yes, it only has 258 hp, but packing 600 Nm (442 lb ft) of torque, that’s very nearly as much as the Jaguar XKR…

2013 Range Rover TDV6 Vogue SE grille

The Range Rover glides along in a stately manner, and putting your foot down makes it flow up to speed strongly. It does not list like a ship on corners either, and feels way more lithe than its size lets you think. Being in the Vogue SE and switching on the massaging seats, we suddenly had an urge to not give Land Rover this vehicle back, and to just drive very far away. We also both agreed that the instant you drive the new Range Rover, you do feel slightly more aloof than the average person. This cannot be helped! An inner-struggle starts ‘I feel aloof, but mean for feeling aloof at the same time’. Sorry old chap, you’ve no choice y’know – it’s a Range Rover after all.

After returning the keys and leaving the masses to fight to the last person to get them, we moved onto the Freelander 2 SD4 190PS. It’s hard to move straight from a £85,000 RR to anything else and not be disappointed, but that’s life and move on we must. The first generation Freelander we did not like, at all. It felt too cheaply built, too weedy to be a ‘real’ 4×4, looked pretty much awful, plus it didn’t exactly have an A1 track record for reliability either.

Four photos of the Land Rover Freelander 2 SD4 HSE Lux

This Freelander 2 though, is a whole new ball game. In the right spec such as the SD4 HSE Lux we tested, it has good looks, an interior that is comfortable, and has easily enough luxuries to make you feel you’ve bought something worth it’s money. At least that’s the impression we got from 30 minutes driving. The whole car feels solidly-build and sturdy, much more 4×4-ready than the first model.

Next, we had a look around the parking bays and saw something that pulled on our li’l heart strings. Two Land Rover Defender models (a 90 and 110) sat side-by-side in a corner of the car park, looking forlorn and forgotten. While the newer, flashy cars went out, these two went pretty-much left out. Blinking back the tears, we went and collected the keys to the 110 Station Wagon.

Land Rover Defender 110 Station Wagon jaguar land rover day-0638

Now we know why they were left there. If you every feel sorry for a dejected-looking Defender on a PR day, don’t fall for it. They are horrible. An icon and cool-looking, yes, absolutely crap to travel in and drive, also yes. I don’t know where to start really. Let’s go with every single button, switch and knob. They look like they’ve been pulled from a Ford parts bins dating back to 1982. There is so little elbow room for the driver that the window has to be down to be comfortable. The six-speed gearbox can possibly be found in a 1974 Massey-Ferguson tractor, as can the brakes, and the engine noise and lack of power from the 2.2 litre unit tells you this is certainly an engine designed for a van.

Four photos of the Land Rover Defender 4 110 Station Wagon

All said though, this is still one of the most capable 4×4’s on the market today, and its party-piece is certainly off-roading. People love them for that, and the character they exude. Should we get one to test, we’ll just drive it around hills and quarries all day, then we’ll be happy!

After hobbling away from the Defender 110 to find a qualified masseuse, shaking my fist at it and cursing the day it shattered my dreams of ever wanting to own one, we moved onto the final car of the day. Most of the models were back now, as the experience was drawing to a close, and we got to take one final charge into the breech with the help of the mighty 5.0 litre V8 supercharged Jaguar XFR.

Jaguar XFR Supercharged in red

The XFR is an iron fist in a velvet glove. A wolf with a sheepskin cover. Essentially, what you have here is the engine from the XKR with an 8-speed automatic ‘box and all the comfort of a cruiser. It’s a mile-mucher capable of taking you comfortably across entire continents while still severely bruising the ego of many ‘fast car’ owners on the road, should they wish to try it on with you. It’ll wipe the floor with most vehicles, and still leave you feeling refreshed after travelling across France or Italy.

Jaguar xfr supercharged

The exhaust note is more muted than the XKR, and personally we’d like those baffles to be open a tiny bit wider please. On the move it’s pretty quiet, and even when you open the taps there’s only a faint, cushioned roar. Stop next to a café and give the juice pedal a hefty push though, and you’ll likely be forking out for clothing cleaning bills and fresh coffee’s as people empty their drinks over themselves and passers-by. Ah, but at least it was worth it just to hear that wonderful tuned V8 bellow, roar and crackle.

Jaguar XFR Supercharged jaguar at the Jaguar/Land Rover experience day

Sadly, after this we’d ran out of time. We missed out on trying a few others such as the Discovery 4 SDV6, an XKR-S, the XF Sportbrake and the XJ long wheel base, and we’d also not been able to go on the off-road track either. Still, this was an outstanding day and if you ever know anyone fortunate enough to be invited to a Jaguar Land Rover Experience Day, do whatever is needed to go. Whatever!

Many thanks to the Jaguar Land Rover PR team for the invitation.

Words: Chris Davies | Tested by: Nath Fielder, Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies.(non-watermarked photo’s courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover)




2 responses to “Jaguar Land Rover Experience Day 2013”

  1. Andrew Collin

    Wow!!!Amazing cars with awesome interiors…With the looks, the interior of such cars are attractive as well as heart catching…I wanna purchase any of them in future as I really like its interior as well as its exterior also….Thanks for the post…

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