Put away the rumors and illustrations--the 2017 Jaguar XE is now reality. The long-awaited BMW 3-Series fighter promises to be a true sport sedan in every sense, with rear-wheel drive, a lightweight aluminum body and initially, an exciting 340-horsepower supercharged V-6 engine. Coupled to an eight-speed automatic with shift paddles, the top-line Jag XE S is said to zip to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, and to a top speed of 155 mph. A turbo four is likely in the future. Tech features include a laser-projected head-up display and autonomous braking. The 2017 Jaguar XE goes on sale in the U.S. in calendar-year 2016.
Benz's new flagship sports car is the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT, a lighter-weight take on the same idea as its outgoing SLS. The AMG GT calms down some of the vents, strakes, and ripples of the SLS, but doesn't step back on power. Under the hood, there's a new twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 with 456 horsepower in the base car, or 503 horsepower in the GT S. Both versions are mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The AMG GT dashes to 60 mph in as little as 3.7 seconds; top speed is as high as 193 mph. Stay tuned for our first drive of the 2016 AMG GT S this fall.
Lots of automakers are promising autonomous vehicles by 2020--but this week, Cadillac said it will start to offer "intelligent and connected" technologies soon. The tech will come in two flavors. So-called Super Cruise allows drivers to set a highway speed; the vehicle accelerates and brakes in response to surrounding traffic. Add vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and Super Cruise talks with other cars to predict and avoid incidents--or just to smooth out traffic. According to GM, Super Cruise is slated to appear on an "all-new 2017 Cadillac", while V2V will come on the 2017 Cadillac CTS.
Land Rover wants to send you and three of your most adventurous friends into space. No, really. To promote the new Discovery Sport, Land Rover will give away tickets for Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic spaceflight company. Interested? Submit an essay and a video on why you should go into space, and Virgin and Land Rover will figure out who's really out of this world. The grand prize winner will nab a trip for four to Spaceport America in New Mexico, to board one of the first 1,000 space flights made by Virgin Galactic. Halloween is the deadline: click here to begin your entry.
And finally this week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation of the 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan. According to an agency bulletin, owners have filed eight complaints that allege the minivan stalls. The problem, if there is one, could be linked to a flaw in the fuel tank. If the agency determines there to be an issue, it will likely ask Chrysler to conduct a full recall.