Cleveland, Ohio – It’s speed day in the automotive world with two automakers vying for bragging rights on tire-spinning performance. Ford engineers are bragging that the 2018 Mustang GT will hit 60mph in less than 4 seconds – a performance breakthrough for the venerable pony car. Across the pond, Jaguar engineers are also bragging about 4 seconds… well, 44 seconds – the time it takes the XJR575 to reach its top speed – the fastest 0-to-top-speed rating of any Jaguar.
Getting the V8 Mustang to highway speeds in less than 4 seconds is a 7.5% improvement from the ludicrously long 4.3-second wait needed to get the 2017 model to 60mph. Chief engineer Carl Widmann credits engine improvements and other enhancements for a performance stat that tops Porsche’s $94,000 911 Carrera.
For the 2018 model, engine enhancements to the 5L V8 boost horsepower to 460hp from 435hp in the 2017 model (up 5.7%), and torque to 420 lb-ft from 400 lb-ft (up 5%). Couple those boosts with the Mustang’s new 10-speed transmission, performance tires, and a Drag Strip mode that electronically manages engine and transmission settings to maximize acceleration, and longstanding performance barriers fall.
“Typically, when you shift gears, you give up time,” Widmann says. “In Drag Strip mode, the engine torque doesn’t drop when you’re shifting. You get peak engine torque and horsepower straight through thanks to our new Ford-built 10-speed transmission.”
Compared to the outgoing 6-speed, the 10-speed automatic has quicker shift times and better low-speed tip-in response.
“Gearing matters, and in Drag Strip mode, this car launches better than ever off the line,” Widmann says.
It will take Jaguar’s XJR575 an entire 4.2 seconds to hit 60mph (Ford hasn’t worked that stat into its marketing yet, but give it some time), but Jaguar engineers are more focused on bragging about the speed at the 44-second mark – 186mph (although company officials note that you shouldn’t do that and instead should obey all posted speed limit signs).
Jaguar designer Wayne Burgess says the XJR575, Jaguar’s performance flagship for the XJ range, has a 5L supercharged V8 engine that produces 575hp (hence the name).
Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum adds, “This is a performance vehicle, but that doesn’t mean we have had to cut any corners when it comes to comfort or design. Jaguar is the standard bearer for interior refinement and the XJR575 is no different. It can go very quickly, but it does so with the serene comfort customers expect from a Jaguar sedan.”
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 17 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.