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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Lyonheart K Is The "Growler E 2011" Without A Hairy Name

What a difference a year makes
Just over a year ago, way back when SBV8 was a baby, I showed you the first renderings and details of designer Bo Zolland's Jaguar E-Type revival, called the Growler E 2011. While the name "Growler" refers to the Jaguar badge that depicts an angry cat's face, TopGear decided it was named after the colloquial term for when a lady decides to keep her lower regions... as nature intended. So now, closer to production and without the, ahem, hairy name, here we have it again, now called the "Lyonheart K". The misspelt "lion" in the name actually refers to Sir William Lyons, who founded Jaguar, but what does the K stand for? It may forever remain a mystery......

So aside from the name change, what's different? Well, you will by now have noticed the new headlights, which, if I'm honest, don't look very Jaguar-ish, but some people will prefer them to the S-Type style four-circle arrangement. By the looks of it, the dial housing has been changed from one big hood to two little cylinders, and there may well be further changes to the interior. The side heat vents have also sprouted bigger chrome flicks, which might look a little Aston Martin-ish to some. The rest is more or less as-is on the outside, but the specs have changed a little too.

It seems the operation building this car couldn't quite meet their targets of lopping 200kg out of an XKR and giving it 600 horsepower, but they are still going to make an enticing proposition - the 5.0 supercharged V8 from the current XKR, XFR and XJ Supersport now produces the same 542bhp as the rabid XKR-S, but it weighs only 1575kg, meaning they've still managed to shed 178kg off the base car.

That gives it a power-to-weight ration of 344bhp/tonne, enough to worry a Nissan GT-R and eclipse the XKR-S's 309bhp/tonne. This extra performance should be enough to get this beautiful artwork from 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds (courtesy of a 6-speed automatic) and easily into the electronic barrier of 186mph (300km/h), beating the XKR-S's 0-60 time by 0.3 seconds but with the same limited top speed. I don't like limited top speeds, but hey. I do like the Lyonheart though, and I think it looks better than the frankly overdone XKR-S (stick-on aero bits and lipstick-red brake callipers on a Jaguar? Really?). The thing is, while it may edge it in a straight line and will definitely out-dance it in the corners - assuming they get the suspension right - the price of entry is rather steep for this car, what with all the custom work that goes into it.

You may need to sit down for thi-- wait, you're at a computer. Er, you may want to continue sitting down for this, because it may be as painful as getting your growler waxed: The Lyonheart K costs €495,000, which is £418,000 or $654,780. Yeowch. Plus, of course, it doesn't even have the market of "high-end E-Type revival" to itself now.

I know it interrupts the flow of the article, but this needs to be spread across the whole page. It just does.
This, as I'm sure you know, is the Eagle Speedster. While the new XKR-S weighs 1753kg and the Lyonheart weighs 1575kg, the Eagle Speedster weighs 1008 kg. While the 'K' is based on a Jaguar's modern-day interpretation of the E-Type, this car is based on the real deal, a 1960s original. The 4.7-litre straight-six and the stunning, stop-you-in-your-tracks bodywork are hand-made from aluminium, and it has modern suspension, brakes and other fixtures, fittings and "reliability upgrades" to stop it feeling like it's 50 years old, while still making it feel like a Jaguar E-Type. It costs around half a million pounds (a number Jeremy Clarkson didn't believe existed, despite having driven an £850,000 Bugatti Veyron...), which sounds like a lot in isolation, but isn't that much more than the £420k Lyonheart, certainly not to the kind of people who can actually afford these things.

The 310bhp and 340lb/ft of torque are indeed trumped by the Lyonheart's 542bhp and 502lb/ft, but the weight difference means its 308bhp/tonne is at least on par with the £94,000 Jaguar XKR-S. 0-60 in under 5 seconds and a top speed of 160mph is enough, but not spectacular. To be honest, though, this car is not about performance figures. It's about everything else. People look at an old Alfa Romeo or Ferrari or Aston Martin and say it's sexy, or joke that it gives them a hard-on or whatever, and I don't doubt how good-looking some of those cars are, but it's been a very long time since a car actually, genuinely made me feel physically excited like this does (not "down there" though, that would still be weird). It's just... perfect. Not only is it perfect to look at, but when you hear its 4.7-litre aluminium straight-six, your heart will sing like the Eagle does. It's one of those rare cars that's genuinely spine-tingling... and I haven't even driven it! Jeremy Clarkson has though, so I'll post his review of it below so you can hear it too.

Uploaded: 8/10/11
Running Time: 8:05
Views When Posted: 168,043

So where were we? Oh yes, the Lyonheart K. Well, to be honest, I'd almost forgotten about it, and I guess that says something. Nice try Bo Zolland, really, but I'm afraid that in the last year, you have been outclassed by people who specialise in taking Jaguar E-Types and making them even more special than they already are.

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