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Jaguar Land Rover Show F-Type Manual and AWD, Discovery Sport at L.A.

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/20/2014 Scott Evans
Jaguar Land Rover Show F-Type Manual and AWD, Discovery Sport at L.A.

Jaguar Land Rover took full advantage of the proximity to America's top sports car market and one of its top SUV markets to launch the new Jaguar F-Type all-wheel drive and manual transmission models, along with the Land Rover Discovery Sport compact luxury SUV.

Most exciting for the driving enthusiast is the F-Type with manual transmission. The ZF-sourced six-speed manual will only be available on V-6 F-Types, which while disappointing for V-8 enthusiasts, makes sense to us as we've said in the past that the higher-powered V-6 is the driver's car of the lineup.

While the manual transmission may be more exciting, adding all-wheel drive to the automatic transmission F-Types will undoubtedly attract more sales, particularly in colder climates. Being a Jag, though, the all-wheel drive system is performance-biased, sending all power to the rear wheels until the fronts begin to slip. At that point, the computer will send up to 50 percent of the engine power to the front wheels.

Jaguar also sent a shiver down the spine of toupee enthusiasts in announcing the 550-hp F-Type R will now be available in the convertible body style as well as coupe, for even more wind in the hair.

With speed on the mind, the company also used the opportunity to speak about its partnership with the Bloodhound SSC world land speed record project, which seems to hit 1000 mph on the South African desert. More than just a sponsorship, an F-Type R engine will drive the jet pump fueling the land speed record car's rocket engine. Jaguar also helped design and develop a 3D-printed titanium steering wheel for the car and lent its noise damping expertise to the cockpit design.

2016 Jaguar F Type R AWD© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Jaguar F Type R AWD

Land Rover also made a splash in L.A. with the all-new Discovery Sport. Replacing the old LR2, the Discovery Sport is the first vehicle of the new Discovery "family," which will focus more on utility while the Range Rover "family" focuses on luxury and performance. Similar in design and construction to the Range Rover Evoque, the Discovery Sport uses a unibody chassis, transverse powertrain, and full-time all-wheel drive system. Impressive packaging allows for three rows of seating despite its small size. Your author's 5'9" frame fit in the third row with the sliding second row moved forward slightly, though getting in and out wasn't easy. Best leave it to the kids. Naturally, Land Rover claims it will be the best vehicle in its class off-road.

Discovery Sport is also the first Jaguar Land Rover product to feature the company's new entertainment and information system. Its touchscreen interface is substantially more user-friendly than the company's current system and reacts much more quickly to your inputs and commands. It's difficult to overstate what an improvement this system is over its predecessor.

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