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The 2014 Jaguar and Land Rover Fleet

A desirable range.

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This doesn’t happen often. An automaker holds an event and shows up with not one, not two, not three, but four all-new cars that could each make a legitimate claim to being the brand’s halo model. Yet such was the case when Jaguar and Land Rover brought their fleet out to the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly the Mosport International Raceway).

Ostensibly, the star was the F-Type, the dynamic roadster that is grabbing the lion’s share of the spotlight this year. The manufacturer trotted out all three versions of the car—the base model, the S, and the V8 S. A drive around the daunting racetrack in the least and most powerful versions confirmed the fact that the F-Type is one of the more impressive new cars to debut in recent memory.

But there were other stars of the show: the 2014 Jaguar XFR-S is the highest-performing version of the XF, and a car that is available in very strict numbers. With 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque available from its supercharged 5.0-litre V8, the XFR-S is a very serious piece of kit.

From a visual standpoint, the French Racing Blue paint scheme of this particular model is complemented by the curves of the bulging hood, the gaping maw that is the front fascia, and 20-inch alloy wheels. There’s no question, the Jaguar XFR-S looks the part and a few laps at high speed proved that it’s not all show. Of course, with 550 horsepower available, this was never really in doubt, but the way in which this sport sedan made quick work of the 1.2-kilometre long Mario Andretti Straightaway was impressive. The XFR-S has a softer set-up than its direct competitors in the super sedan segment, but that’s nothing a bit of suspension tuning couldn’t remedy.

The rest of the day was spent manoeuvring over bumps, climbing hills, articulating over ruts, and negotiating all types of other imperfections along a trail cut through the forest next to the track. We started out in the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover LR2, before switching into high off-road mode and bigger obstacles from behind the wheel of the brand new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

The Sport, in particular, is an impressive machine. Although it’s the most track-ready of all the current Land Rovers, it’s also astonishingly capable when the going gets rough. The same supercharged 5.0-litre V8 found in the F-Type V8 S and the XFR-S makes its presence felt in the Range Rover Sport as well, proving that Jaguar andLand Rover know how to make the most of an investment and how to make a big impression in one place at one time, with four new vehicles that all rank very high in desirability.

Photos by Shaun Veltkamp.


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October 21, 2013