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AutoRAI 1999:the new cars

Hyundai, Jaguar & Lotus

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Hyundai_XG.jpg (21636 bytes)One car you wouldn't want to waste a car alarm on is this Korean Hyundai XG. It's their top of the range car in Europe, it has about the price of a Mercedes C-class and the size of an E-class (length is 4.86 metre). Apparently it's very luxurious with almost all the gadgets you can imagine and its fitted with a 2 or 3 litre six cylinder engine combined with a tiptronic automatic gearbox.
Problem is, it's butt-ugly! The very annoying saleslady that entered the picture after this photo was taken asked rhetorically "do you see yourself driving this car?", implying that it would feel good. Well, I don't. Terrible waste of money, this car.

Jaguar_S.jpg (40423 bytes)This is how it should be done, designing a top class car with a huge amount of feelgood-factor built in to it: the Jaguar S-type. Very stylish and elegant and I can definitely see myself driving this car (my wallet on the other hand doesn't).
The S has a lot of retro elements worked in to its design, but all work in favor of the car. It looks sleek and fast and you'll recognize it as a Jaguar at a glance. This car has only one major drawback: its incredible high price. In my opinion prices should start about 15% lower than they do now, and then we're still talking prices in the region above that of the Hyundai XG. The cheapest S-type costs about as much as a Mercedes E 280 or a BMW 528i, which are stiff competition for a marque that enters this segment for the first time.

Jaguar_S_side.jpg (23732 bytes)Two kinds of engines can be fitted in the S. The smallest is a reworked Ford Mondeo V6, now measuring 3.0 litre displacement. It delivers 240 hp and gives the car a top speed of 234 kph and an acceleration from 0 to 100 kph in 7.5 seconds. A Getrag lightweight manual gearbox is fitted to this engine. The top engine is the 4.0 litre V8 known from the XK8 and the XJ, delivering 285 hp and giving the car a top speed of a factory limited 240 kph. Acceleration from 0 to 100 kph in 7.1 seconds and fitted only in combination with an automatic gearbox.

Lotus_Esprit_S350.jpg (30476 bytes)Last call for the Esprit? It has been around for ages (23 years or so) and will probably be built till 2001. To give it that final push over the millennium, Lotus has decided to tune up the Esprit one more time.
It certainly looks good and beefy with those wide tires, the lightweight rear spoiler and the air intakes in the side skirts. The car is lightened (80 kg worth), the chassis is stiffened, brakes have been upgraded (now AP Racing discs of 32 cm diameter front and rear) and the V8 engine has been (slightly) modified.
The engine produces 354 hp (hence the name "Sport 350") at 6500 rpm, giving this 1300 kg car a top speed of 282 kph and an acceleration from 0 to 100 kph in a very short 4.6 seconds. If you have the bucks and really need more power Lotus will crank up the engine to a maximum of 550 hp!

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