November 2013 Editor’s Letter Talks About Who Doesn’t Love To See The Underdog Win?

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I have got to confess, we expected the worst. After building our Jaguar XFR we had been full of confidence, but seeing it parked next to the BMW M5 with its manual transmission and all that pedigree it brings, I honestly thought we’d aimed too high. The Jag is a great car but I’d already composed the excuses in my head about why our car had finished a distant second.

After prolonged, intensive and extended development, our drive in the hills around LA was the first time I’d driven the vehicle and it would also be the last. The very overnight it was stripped, returned to stock and it is out there featuring its new owner who probably wonders why it feels so quick – we left them a small surprise!

Yet through the instant the 5. V8 fired, I knew we’d created something rather special. It was the GSR exhaust that got the spine tingling first and so i advise you to view our video at europeancarweb.com to learn just how good it sounded. A similar exhaust system may be yours if you contact the tuner…

The exhaust note wasn’t going to win the battle, and yet the first time I turned-directly into carve a canyon, I again understood this wasn’t your average XFR. The relatively simple changes of sports spring rates and grippy 21 tires on Vorsteiner’s lightweight wheels had done the unimaginable, though admittedly, the stock car is a great foundation to build upon. We’d built a car to rival the M5. Turn the pages on the main story and you’ll see that we beat the BMW in a number of aspects.

Now admittedly, it wasn’t a level playing field. We had been testing our tuned car against a stock BMW. With the same sort of mods in the M5, I’m sure the actual end result would have been closer to our original predictions. And yet, there’s an area the M5 can’t aspire to win – appearance. No matter what you do, the Jaguar is a prettier car, even with no well-placed Vorsteiner carbon pieces.

All we have now left are the photos – hopefully you saw our studio pics last month? – but it is a car we’ll certainly remember for a very long time.

Good times

Sometimes it’s hard to convince people we don’t actually have the very best job in the world – not enough staff and unrealistic deadlines see to that – but a couple of days using the new S-Class and a track day within the new 435i take some beating.

Yet for all the great stuff we do, driving through an obstacle course in a Boeing 747 for the Range Rover Sport launch probably will always be from the top ten best things we’ve done. Again, the video is in www.europeancarweb.com so that you can share the event. It was able to upstage the off-road course we’d tackled the day before, which was equally memorable but almost forgotten as soon as our 21 tires hit the metal ramp and we ascended into the belly of the Jumbo.

Aired out

Another memorable event this month was taking part in our suspension test. It’s something I’d been trying to coordinate for years without success, as well as something I’ve never seen any place else. Yet a conversation with Ben Terry at AccuAir quickly got it organized and the effects are in this issue.

Air suspension has polarized the European tuning scene, with traditionalists being suspicious of it. Yet it’s hard to overlook the advantages of being able to affect the ride height to clear obstacles. So, we finally got two identical cars together, each using the very latest technology through the coilover and air suspension sides in the business.

I won’t spoil the outcome, but please choose the feature to read the final results. We were scientific in your approach, utilizing the same test MotorTrend puts brand-new cars through. But the most crucial aspect was always going to be the seat in the pants. How could each car feel, where would each system come with an advantage?

Well, the results will be in and both technologies have something to provide driving enthusiasts, as well as the stance crowd. So even if you hate the idea of air suspension, please read the story with an open mind.