California State Route 1 — alternatively the Coast Highway, Cabrillo Highway, Pacific Coast Highway, or the PCH — is perhaps one of the ultimate drives in the US. That is if you’re not stuck behind 10 cars trailing a diesel soot-spewing 1970s Winnebago with about even odds of summiting the next small rise.
Photo details: A then new-to-me BMW E36 M3 in Big Sur back in 2007 during a road trip from SF to LA. Shot on a crappy point-and-shoot hence the low resolution. Edited via Photoshop to remove any indication of the vacation traffic that frequently snarls what is an otherwise amazing driving route. You can click on the photo for the full resolution version.
Back in October I had the opportunity to get an early look at the brand new Jaguar F-Type roadster expected to debut later this year. Short of Aston Martin’s GTs, I think it’s one of the best looking cars out there. Designer Ian Callum has done an amazing job of creating an aggressive, contemporary take on the classic long-hood roadster while capturing many of the design elements of the E-Type that made it so timeless (dual center exhaust outlets and sculpted rear haunches come to mind).
The torque behemoth that is the supercharged 5.0L V8 also found in various -R branded Jaguars will be available, but I’m most excited for the new supercharged V6 which will be good for 340-370HP while producing one of the best sounding exhaust-notes I’ve heard in a long time.
Sadly, no manual transmission is available (yet) but at least they’ve done away with the frustrating rotary gear selector knob found in other models. When I asked about a potential row-your-own option, I did get the corporate line followed by a wink/nod hint to keep an eye on future announcements so I’m not giving up hope just yet… A 3-5 year old V6S with a manual transmission might be a great (almost affordable) roadster one day. Continue reading
A few weeks ago I ducked out early to check out the Chicago-area Jaguar Alive event. In addition to the typical presentations and street drives (in this case in the quick and luxurious XJ Supercharged), Jaguar set up an autocross course as well as an all wheel drive technology demo area complete with man-made snow and muddy chicanes. The best part, however, was the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the extremely rare XKR-S, a $130,000+ red meat cocktail of supercharged speed and track-ready hardware. The folks at Jaguar put together a brief video with two and a half minutes of product highlights surrounding 5 seconds of me in the XKR-S struggling to put 550 HP to work on a short gravelly drag strip: