At the beginning of this month, the brand new 2016 Jaguar XF was unveiled in a fashion befitting of its uniqueness: atop a high-wire crossing the River Thames. The stunt took place on the Royal Victoria Docks and involved an engineering feat nearly equal to the incredible efforts Jaguar has put into their newest sedan.
Suspended sixty feet over the rushing waters at Canary Wharf, Jim Dowdall drove the XF roughly 787 feet across two carbon-fiber cables, each about the width of a human thumb. The two-inch wide cables swayed in the wind as Dowdall, a veteran Hollywood stunt coordinator, performed the world’s longest high-wire water crossing using only a keel and grooved wheels to assist him. Even though Dowdall has performed stunts for productions like the James Bond, Bourne, and Indiana Jones films, he admitted that he was a bit nervous. “You can’t eliminate that risk factor. Anything can happen,“ Dowdall told AdWeek. The stunt was broadcast live online and has been viewed by nearly half a million users on Facebook.
Chris McKinnon, Jaguar’s Product Marketing Director revealed that the whole thing was inspired by the documentary film Man on Wire: “Turns out the film actually has a real cult following within Jaguar. I can’t remember who came up with the idea originally but it just gained support massively. Obviously the guy in the film was much higher up, but he only went 60 meters – we went 240 meters.” Agility and creativity are, after all, huge parts of the Jaguar lifestyle. We’re not surprised to learn that adrenaline junkies and the creatively-obsessed have made themselves right at home working for the luxury automaker.
The high-wire stunt was designed to show off the XF’s lightweight aluminum body and its corresponding grace. Jaguar is clearly moving towards a greater emphasis on aluminum construction, which results in weight savings of up to 265 lb compared to the first generation XF. Built using a two-stage framing process, the aluminum construction is combined with magnesium alloys and advanced high-strength steels to create a completely evolved version of seven-year-old first generation XF.
Jaguar has also introduced a suite of sleek, new technological advances into the XF, including all wheel drive with adaptive surface response. The new tech allows the vehicle to tell the difference between driving conditions and change accordingly. The XF also includes Electric Power-Assisted Steering, which dampens the effects of uneven roads and compensates for changes in ambient temperature. There’s also Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and a Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) system that uses a stereo camera to read road signs and advise the driver of speed limits. Combined with the Intelligent Speed Limiter, the XF will be able to automatically slow or accelerate the car to match the posted limit.
To find out more about the XF and watch the amazing high-wire crossing, check out Jaguar’s XF exclusive hashtag: #NewXF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also stop by Elmhurst Jaguar to take a spin in one of our 2015 XF models! You don’t need to cross a high wire to feel the adrenaline rush of a driving a new Jaguar.