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Old 22nd April 2017, 18:03   #1
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Default Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley

Can you imagine a better use of an early summer weekend afternoon than ripping along smooth tarmac in one of these?

Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-art-performance-tour-aamby-valley-7th-april-2017-1.jpg

Disclaimer : Jaguar Land Rover invited Team-BHP for the track day. They covered all the expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by Aditya : 22nd April 2017 at 18:05.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 18:03   #2
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Video Preview of the Art of Performance Tour:


The inaugural event of the 2017-18 The Art of Performance Tour was held at Aamby Valley airstrip, which is about 90 minutes' drive from Pune:
Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-dscn2608.jpg

Jaguar's flagship sports car - the F-Type convertible parked alongside the newly-launched F-Pace on the tarmac set the scene nicely for the fun to follow:
Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-dscn2612.jpg

But first, the formalities. Here, Ankur Kansal, Brand Director, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), briefed us about the drive event targeted at select customers and auto enthusiasts, including the media. JLR plans to conduct 32 such events this year and expect to cover 19,000 km across India. This is a follow up to previous JLR events in similar vein, including moderator Manson's track day at Buddh International Circuit nearly 5 years ago. The main difference here was that the entire model line-up of Jaguar cars sold in India was available to for us to drive:
Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-dscn2617.jpg

The second half of the briefing was a walk-through of the 3 driving exercises designed for the event. In sequence, these were as follows:
  • An obstacle course with traffic cones set up to test the agility of the vehicles
  • An emergency lane change maneuver culminating in a hard braking stop to test safety
  • A no-holds-barred straight run down the airstrip tarmac to test outright performance

A team of 10 racing instructors dressed in Jaguar colours guided us through the entire set of exercises, which took about 90 minutes to complete.

Last edited by Aditya : 22nd April 2017 at 18:06.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 18:03   #3
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Activity 1: Obstacles Ahoy!

The first driving exercise was a nice warm-up for things to follow. I started off in the XF, Jaguar's executive sedan with a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine developing 237 BHP and rear-wheel drive, followed by the XJ-L luxury sedan, F-Pace SUV and finally the XE compact executive sedan. As things turned out, it was the perfect sequence.

The extremely well-trained and polite driving instructor in charge did the first run around the course while I sat in the passenger seat and observed. Then we swapped places. The opening run was, as expected, a little awkward and I was overcautious. But the XF handled well:
Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-art-performance-tour-aamby-valley-7th-april-2017-10.jpg

Gaining in confidence now, I moved to the XJ-L. Different car and different instructor - this one seemed especially proud of his ward and took the trouble to explain that it eclipsed competitors like the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class when it came to outright torque (700 Nm from a 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel power plant in the Portfolio variant). I was a little concerned about the long wheelbase, which made it a little scary to chuck around the corners. While I managed this without a mishap, I thought I spotted a hint of a disapproving frown at the hardness of my braking. Oh well...!
Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-xjl1.jpg

Next in line was Jaguar's latest offering in India - the 5-seater F-Pace SUV. The R Sport version, which I drove, shares its engine with the XJ-L Portfolio (lower variants get a 2.0-litre, 177 BHP, 4-cylinder diesel unit). What surprised me was how agile the F-Pace was, despite its 1.8-ton weight! Actually, I had the most fun chucking the SUV around the cones among all the vehicles on offer:
Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-art-performance-tour-aamby-valley-7th-april-2017-11.jpg

Ending the exercise was the XE - Jaguar's entry-level offering that competes with the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. After the opulence of its siblings, the XE felt underspecced and a little boring. But, it performed quite well around the cones. I tried the back seat as well, just out of curiosity (it's the only Jaguar that comes close to fitting in my budget ). It's not spacious at all:
Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-art-performance-tour-aamby-valley-7th-april-2017-13.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 22nd April 2017 at 18:06.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 18:04   #4
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Activity 2: Changing lanes, the hard way!

Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-img_1710.jpg

The next exercise was meant to train you in executing an emergency lane change / hard stop maneuver and emerge intact. The cars' braking ability and stability were both put to test here:
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The course consisted of a short straight along which, you engaged maximum throttle. The orange cone represents the lane blockage. You use the steering alone to turn right hard into the adjacent lane, straighten out and immediately brake hard to a complete standstill:
Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-img_2254.jpg

Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-img_1718.jpg

Warning: This is a track exercise performed under controlled conditions. Do not try this on public roads. Blind lane changing and stopping is extremely dangerous.

This vehicle was the one I actually think I performed the best in, even if I say so myself :
Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-img_2246.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 22nd April 2017 at 18:07.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 18:04   #5
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Activity 3: Highway to Hell!

What's the point of hosting an event on a not-in-use airstrip if you can't rip along at speeds the maker intended?

And what better car to do it in than the F-Type? Not just one, but two of them!

The concluding exercise of the day was a no-holds-barred run down a lengthy straight of pure flat tarmac. We started with the F-Type S convertible, which sports a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine that develops 375 BHP:
Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-art-performance-tour-aamby-valley-7th-april-2017-2.jpg

Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-art-performance-tour-aamby-valley-7th-april-2017-15.jpg

No demo run on this one (duh!) Just get in, strap up and put the pedal to the metal. The objective was to hit 200 (at least!) before gently braking to a standstill at the other end of the straight.

We did this activity in pairs, with another guest driver at the wheel of the other car - an F‑TYPE R, powered by a 5.0-litre, supercharged V8 petrol engine pumping out 542 BHP and 680 Nm of torque. This engine propels the car from 0-100 km/h in 4 seconds. We swapped cars at one end of the straight, took a U-turn and completed the run in the other direction. I had Team BHPian Jalsa777 as my instructor on the concluding run. It was nice catching up with him:
Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-art-performance-tour-aamby-valley-7th-april-2017-5.jpg

Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-img_1536.jpg

Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-img_1534.jpg

Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-img_1598.jpg

Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-20170408_221210.jpg

This was easily the most fun I've had with my clothes on, even if it ended much faster than I'd wanted!

Last edited by Aditya : 22nd April 2017 at 18:08.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 18:04   #6
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The Art of Performance driving experience left me wanting more, so I can well imagine somebody signing up for a test drive immediately after attending one of these. It was an afternoon well spent. I even got a certificate at the end of it:
Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley-edit2.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 22nd April 2017 at 18:08.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 18:11   #7
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Default Re: Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Supercars & Imports Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th April 2017, 21:21   #8
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Default Re: Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley

Fantastic write up and surely a good event. Was a part of it on Day 03 and it was worth driving down from Bombay or I'll say maybe a little more comprehensive would have been the cherry on the cake. For eg, the cars were changed quite quickly in the first couple of runs and I for one would have prepferred spending some more time in each of them.

That aside, I guess the modern day Jaguars are really not taken very seriously by the enthusiast even though these 2L four pots once are very capable and best handlers in there segments but I guess its because of lack of trim and engine options from the brand for instance the S Trim, R Sport trim and engine options which gives an impression they are not targeting the enthusiasts. That aside, I sorely miss an official India review of XE and XF on this forum as well
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Old 1st May 2017, 00:50   #9
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Default Re: Driving Jaguars at the Art of Performance Tour, Aamby Valley

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Activity 3: Highway to Hell!

..... We started with the F-Type S convertible, which sports a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine that develops 375 BHP
Hey, glad you had fun at the event

One important correction, the F-Type S Convertible that you drove has a
5.0L V8, supercharged, 500bhp engine.

We don't have a V6 engined F-type in the Art of Performance fleet.
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