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LA Show: Jaguar to debut wild XKR-S drop-top

Open top: Jaguar will release the first images of the XKR-S convertible next week (coupe version pictured).

XKR-S drop-top to headline Jaguar’s LA stand while Land Rover tweaks DC100 concept

Jaguar logo11 Nov 2011

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

JAGUAR will debut a convertible version of its sledgehammer 300km/h XKR-S sportscar at next week’s Los Angeles motor show, where sister brand Land Rover will unveil reconfigured versions of its DC100 Defender replacement concept.

No pricing or arrival date have yet been announced but if the drop-top super-Jag maintains the usual $24,000 price premium charged for convertible variants of the brand’s XK line-up, expect it to cost around $364,000.

While the XKR-S coupe’s electronically limited top speed falls shy of the 349km/h claimed for the short-lived XJ220 supercar of 1992, the new convertible will almost certainly be the fastest drop-top to wear the big cat badge.

The convertible is expected to share the coupe’s supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine that thumps out 405kW of power and 680Nm of torque – some 30kW and 55Nm more than the XKR on which it is based.

Jaguar’s hottest convertible is also likely to feature an aggressive-looking aerodynamic bodykit echoing that of the coupe, while the revised (10mm lower, 28 per cent stiffer) suspension set-up, recalibrated steering and lightweight 20-inch forged alloy wheels are also expected to feature.

The XKR-S convertible will be joined on the Jaguar stand by its coupe equivalent and the smaller, hybrid-powered C-X16 coupe concept from September’s Frankfurt show, which will be making its first North American appearance.

6 center imageLeft: Land Rover DC100 concept.

Land Rover’s DC100 concept, designed to open a dialogue about how the iconic six decade-old Defender should be replaced, will make its North American debut in both hardtop and open-top Sport body styles as unveiled at Frankfurt.

However, the concepts will be altered to “emphasise their all-terrain capabilities”, with new Heritage Blue paintwork plus a more realistic wheel and tyre package “optimised for off-road driving”.

Land Rover Australia marketing and public affairs manager Tim Krieger told GoAuto a further iteration of the DC100 is likely to be shown at the Geneva show next March and that reaction to the DC100 had so far been “polarising”.

“From people who may not have owned a Land Rover before, it has been positive and there is real excitement about the car,” he said.

“With rusted-on Defender owners, there has been a bit of negative comment from them but this car was really intended to start the conversation, to get feedback and people’s reactions.

“(The DC100) is not what the new Defender will be, it’s a starting post to really get that dialogue going, so for that purpose it’s been very popular, but there is a lot of fine-tuning that can be done before the final version gets drawn up.”

Meanwhile, Land Rover is also in the advanced stages of testing its next-generation Vogue full-size luxury SUV in preparation for launch late next year.

In a bid to improve fuel efficiency, the brand aims to strip around 450kg of weight from the Vogue, which will share some of its looks with the stylish but much smaller Evoque.

“The design cues that have come out on the Evoque are a pointer to the design direction for Range Rover from this point forward,” Mr Krieger told GoAuto.

However, the new Vogue – which is expected to arrive in Australia next December – will retain a more upright appearance rather than the sleek shape adopted by the Evoque.

At least one further Range Rover model is also on the cards, with the gap between the new Evoque and Range Rover Sport a prime candidate to be filled by the Indian-owned brand.

“Suffice so say Tata wants to grow the Land Rover brand,” said Mr Krieger. “So there are a number of initiatives on the table about which way to go.

“(A model between the Evoque and the Sport) potentially is one, smaller is potentially one, but nothing is confirmed at this stage.

“A number of different ideas are available with scope to move in different directions as well.”

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