Jaguar Land Rover just showed off a new Special Vehicle Operations product called the Land Rover Discovery SVX. They also recently released the Range Rover Velar, which is quite like the Jaguar F-Pace. Makes you wonder, how similar will the Jaguar and Land Rover lineup be allowed to get? Finbar McFall doesn’t think they’re close at all … nor does he see a future where anyone comes close to confusing a Jaguar for a Land Rover or vice versa. He ought to know, since he’s the product marketing director of JLR.
“The brands are very distinct. It’s one company, but two very distinct brands,” McFall said. Even in the case of the F-Pace and Range Rover Velar? “The F-Pace is a different type of Jaguar, but it looks and drives like a sports car. All Jaguars are sports cars at their heart, and the F-Pace is no exception. Land Rovers should be the most capable vehicles in their class; even the Range Rover Velar will have class-leading levels of approach, departure and brake over angles. There’s reason we give the car air suspension. We may imagine different types, different body concepts of Jaguar Land Rover, but in each instance, they’ll stay true and authentic to what they stand for.”
In other words, even if the two brands share platforms, McFall says they’ll have several differences in design and engineering to separate them. And there’s truth to what he’s saying: The F-Pace has 8.4 inches of ground clearance, compared to the V6-equipped Velar’s 9.9; approach and departure angles are also different. In a world where cars are becoming more similar, it’s important to have real differences.
That applies to electrification, too. JLR recently announced their intention to offer an electrified option in every vehicle from 2020 and beyond. But how electricity will supplement combustion engines can vary greatly.
“You can imagine in a Jaguar; the electrification is a performance reality. And that torque being instantly available translating into acceleration. The batteries sitting low in the vehicle giving a low center of gravity and inherently good dynamics,” McFall said, adding, “electrification in a Land Rover and having that ability to infinitely manipulate the torque and instantly manipulate it. Well that’s just perfect in an off-road environment.”
And, as long as we’re electrifying everything, why not the classics? After all, JLR is doing just that with the E-Type Zero, an alteration to 1968 E-Types to make them battery-electric roadsters.
“Well, I guess, it’s a good example, isn’t it, of art of performance, so the very simple way to think about it is: You should derive as much pleasure from looking at a Jaguar as you do from driving it,” McFall said. “That speaks to the design language and of course the E-Type has that, and over the years it’s become iconic. And you can reinterpret performance. The powertrain, actually, isn’t the performance story, it’s what the driver gets from it.”
We live in a fascinating time as car enthusiasts — the world around us is rapidly changing, some of it to the detriment of driving pleasure. But these new restrictions have brought interesting innovation. In the last two weeks, Jaguar Land Rover has shown the breadth of this with the Jaguar E-Type Zero and Land Rover Discovery SVX, not to mention the recently announced I-Pace. Three completely different cars in an ever more homogeneous world, all of them able to whet the appetite of the enthusiast in their own way.