Tag Archives | JAGUAR

Dacia Logan MCV, Jaguar XFR-S & BMW 435i M Sport Driven at SMMT North 2013

Oliver Hammond motoring writer editor Keith Jones Petroleum Vitae blog & SimonsCarSpots contributor - SMMT Test Day North 2013 photo - entrance

Okay, there’s no Alpine Hill Route or High Speed Circuit to take the cars for a spin on, but SMMT’s smaller, regional Test Days are still amazingly good fun and a great chance to network with car manufacturers and fellow motoring scribes. I had four cars in mind to drive this year at Wetherby and managed to get behind the wheel of three of them. I’ll start with the tamest…

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Logan MCV Lauréate Tce 90

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  • Cheap, from only £6,995 in Access trim
  • The Lauréate model I drove today is priced at £11,150 inc. options
  • It came with metallic paint, alloy wheels and a 7” touchscreen multimedia system with Bluetooth and European maps
  • An estate car and a boxy one, at that – but don’t forget, boxy means practical!
  • I think it looks cute and kind of cool in a utilitarian way
  • Inside, durability is the ethos, with rather basic surfaces and controls
  • The large boot had a proper spare tyre underneath.
  • I didn’t find it particularly easy to find a comfortable driving
  • The electric window switches are located under the central stack
  • The touchscreen sat nav and multimedia system with Bluetooth are nice touches
  • Visibility was a strong point
  • The gear lever had a nice action to it and the gears ratios seemed well –judged
  • This 90bhp TCe 90 model has a 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol 898cc engine
  • The clutch required a lot of travel to find the bite
  • Its little petrol engine picked up pace relatively keenly when pushed hard through the five gears
  • Ride quality and handling were pretty good considering it’s basically an ‘A to B’ car
  • Wind noise on the motorway annoyed me
  • Dacia claim 56.5mpg for combined fuel economy
  • Boot capacity with the seats down is said to be 1,518 litres
  • Overall, I thought the Logan MCV acquitted itself quite well in all departments

Jaguar XFR-S

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  • In one word, amazing!
  • Has the same abundant power as the XKR-S i.e. a 5-litre V8 supercharged engine, 550PS, a 0-60mph time of 4.4 seconds and a limited top speed of 186mph
  • The XFR-S has 40PS more than the XFR saloon, without compromising on the green credentials
  • The cabin with blue piping and ‘R-S’ logos embossed on the seats felt special
  • Rear legroom and headroom were fine but the transmission tunnel means it’s better suited to two occupants than three.
  • It’s slightly quieter than the XKR-S coupe and felt wilder and less manageable, somehow more powerful and brutal than the coupe, with wheel spin and tail sliding more likely.
  • To drive it fast required sharp wits all the time, which can sometimes be a little tiring.
  • I’m not complaining, I’m just observing, and I still love this car to bits. The XFR-S is a wonderful, wonderful car – don’t get me wrong. I would just need to drive it several times, like I have the XKR-S, to form a rapport with it.

BMW 435i M Sport

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  • Technically replaces the 3 Series coupe but is pitched as a standalone, new model
  • The 4 Series is longer, wider and lower than the 3 Series and is styled conservatively in my view
  • I was instantly struck by the contemporary interior, perfectly engineered and tight in a precise way, with the dashboard angled towards the driver
  • Sitting in the back briefly, headroom was very good although legroom might be a slight issue for tall people sat behind a tall driver
  • The 435i’s 306bhp and a 400Nm of torque felt more than adequate for having a hoot, and the whole package continued to impress in every department.
  • The 2,979cc engine provided plenty of punch in a smooth, linear fashion and had a throaty exhaust note to match
  • It handled excellently, cornering at speed with ease and providing heaps of fun down twisty country lanes.
  • The Twin Scroll turbocharger and other technical wizardry incorporated by BMW certainly did provide torque on demand right the way through the rev’ range and made it a joy to drive.
  • The ratios of the 6-speed manual gearbox felt nicely calibrated and the brilliantly-tuned chassis is complemented by the ability to select a driving mode to suit, from ECO PRO to Sport+.
  • The throttle response was obviously reined in by ECO PRO mode, whereas Sport+ sharpened everything up quite noticeably.
  • 29.9mpg after pushing it hard, versus BMW’s official 35.8mpg figure, is pretty good in reality
  • The price tag of under £50,000 surprised me
  • Despite being more clinical than, say, a Jaguar, the BMW 435i M Sport did bring a smile to my face and I’d drive one again in a heartbeat

© Author: Oliver Hammond



Olly’s First Drives in a Jaguar XF Sportbrake, Evoque 5dr auto & the New 2013 Range Rover SDV8

Just because I’d already sampled the delights of Jaguar Land Rover’s wonderful cars and equally superb hospitality last year, didn’t mean I wasn’t equally as excited about visiting Gaydon again. Their cars and cakes are the kind one would never tire of, the PR team always ensure a great day, and besides, I had some model gaps to fill – namely, the Evoque and XF Sportbrake.

February 2013 Jaguar Land Rover JLR media day writeup review Oliver Hammond Simons Car Spots photo - Gaydon museum

My ride down to Gaydon from Manchester was courtesy of the new Ford Ranger (full review coming very soon), and the often-nightmarish M6 was unusually kind to me on the way down. It wasn’t exactly what you’d call a warm day, though. ‘Bloomin’ freezing’ would be a better description. On my way through the car park, I stumbled into two of my main sidekicks for the day, my colleague Nick Johnson at MyCarCoach, along with marketing whiz and lovely lady, Mandy Kaur. We were lucky enough to hear the stunning new Jaguar F-type start up outside, while we feasted our eyes on its awesome styling and interior.

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Last time at Gaydon, most people restrained themselves and filled up on coffee and cake before hitting (not literally, obviously!) the cars – but not this year. My attention was only diverted for a few minutes and Nick and Mandy had already grabbed the keys to…

First Drive: The new XF Sportbrake in 3-litre V6 diesel guise

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Jaguar struck gold when they launched the XF saloon and the whole XF lineup has regularly received praise throughout the model’s life to date, from the 3-litre diesel and 5-litre ‘normal’ petrol versions, to the monstrous XFR and latterly, the 2.2-litre diesel aimed at business fleets primarily. But the XF lineup never felt complete until Continue Reading →


My Jaguar And 1 LandRover experience day from Simon Ford @sf4d74,

It all started with a 6.30 Am Start from Oliver Hammond (@Renault velsatis) house in Manchester, for what would be the Blueprint for one of the Most exciting days I’ve looked forward to in a long Time,

We hit the Motorway in the Vauxhall Zafira Sri Touring kindly provided for us by Grimshaws Vauxhall in Eccles, (more on that in a seperate blog/review)

We hit the Entrance to Jaguar-LandRover around 9.30Am parked up took a few pics in the carpark then went to the Visitors entrance to book in only to be told “Sorry we don’t have you down”

With the Thought of having to turn around and go home, we were worried, then we heard the words that sounded beter than winning a tenner on the lottery “Your at the wrong Entrance”   Yesss!! was all I could hear in my Head, and when I turned around standing right behind me was Twiter Buddy and www.Simonscarspots.com Guest spotter Robert Griggs-Taylor @Robgt2,

So After making our way to the RIGHT entrance and Meeting Faye Goldstraw, (@Jaguarukpr) and Chris Auty, (@DrivingSpirt) it was time to Pick a car to drive,

Now our Brief was quite Simple, Pick something Non Supercharged, as there would be queue’s of people waiting to Testdrive them, So what did I choose first?  Continue Reading →


Cake, Cars & More Cars! SimonsCarSpots at Jaguar Land Rover, Gaydon

Having picked up a new Vauxhall Zafira Tourer the day before, kindly provided by Grimshaws Vauxhall of Eccles, Manchester, Simon and I got up at 05:30 to head down in the early hours to Gaydon, Warwickshire, to the Motor Heritage Museum and Jaguar Land Rover, for the JLR Experience Day. Here’s the short introductory video we made on our way down the M6:

Simon Ford & Oliver Hammond from SimonsCarSpots-com at Jaguar Land Rover JLR Experience Day March 2012 - Vauxhall Zafira Tourer SRi from Tilly at Grimshaws Eccles Manchester

As we got closer and closer to Gaydon, we increasingly felt like we were in motoring heaven, even whilst we were still on the M40. Jaguars, Land Rovers and Aston Martins were everywhere! On the drive down, we were in Twitter and SMS contact with Rob Griggs-Taylor (for PetrolBlog) and Chris Auty (Driving Spirit), who were also attending the JLR day.

Nearing the JLR site at the Motor Heritage Museum, we put aside any temptations the National Herb Museum stirred up in us, and resumed our infamous car spotting obsession the minute we parked up in the car park – A Maserati 3200GT, Audi S8, Hyundai Veloster… the list goes on!

Simon Ford & Oliver Hammond from SimonsCarSpots-com at Jaguar Land Rover JLR Experience Day March 2012 - Rob Griggs-Taylor

We were delighted to meet fellow Tweeter and SimonsCarSpots.com contributor Rob Griggs-Taylor (there on behalf of MajorGav’s PetrolBlog) a few minutes later, and had many a good natter with him throughout the day, over the abundance of wonderful cake, tea/coffee and lunch provided by Jaguar Land Rover. We also enjoyed meeting Chris Auty from Driving Spirit, who bravely tackled the off-road course straight after lunch! Our “Twitter table” was later joined by Andrew Merritt-Morling and another nice guy called James, and it was interesting to find out about their own motoring passions and involvements.

Simon Ford & Oliver Hammond from SimonsCarSpots-com at Jaguar Land Rover JLR Experience Day March 2012 - with Chris Auty from Driving Spirit

But enough of the waffle – what about the cars? Simon duly plunged straight in, his first car of the day being a white Jaguar XKR-S convertible, which he will be covering in his own blog post along with his drives of the Continue Reading →


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