XF Saloon 2,000 mile storm chase through 7 states
A Jaguar XF has chased tornadoes through America's north-west and its efforts can be seen via a short film. At the helm was storm chaser Tim Baker – nicknamed "Tornado Tim" – who collected data to predict where and when tornadoes might strike in the future. Such information can be used to save lives and minimise property damage.
Storm chasing was quite the adventure for this mid-size, luxury, saloon that sat above the XE and below the XJ in the manufacturer's range. It faced flooded roads, extreme wind, heavy rain, storm debris and dodged hailstones the size of a baseball. It travelled 2,000 miles in 7 states including Colorado, Minnesota and Illinois.
Engine, performance and on-demand all-wheel-drive
The XF Saloon had a 3.0-litre, V6, 340hp, supercharged petrol engine teamed with 8-speed automatic transmission (with manual mode). This combination propelled it to 60mph in 5.1 seconds and it could reach 121mph. The XF also had "torque on-demand" all-wheel-drive which enabled it to conquer extremely challenging conditions.
In normal circumstances – specifically when the vehicle had enough traction – torque on-demand sent all engine power to the rear wheels. This contributed towards the sporty handling which is typical of the brand. However, when it hit slippery surfaces on-demand transferred a percentage of engine torque to the front axle.
Short film showcases car's credentials
The online film opened with a statement: "In mid-west America, storm chasers are a vital part of the network that helps protect people from tornadoes". Exterior and interior shots then showed the Jaguar XF – and Tornado Tim, of course – face lightening and rain as he gathered data to help scientists better understand tornadoes.
Mr Baker then explained how tornadoes form. Moisture low in the atmosphere, higher wind shear (variation of wind speed at certain angles), plus a trigger such as low pressure above combine, he explained. During the trip, he found a Category EF 0 (60 to 70 mph winds) west of Chicago that flooded the roads and scattered debris.
Mr Baker claimed that the car's torque on-demand system was invaluable while storm chasing. "When you find yourself on gravel or mud roads, having all-wheel-drive keeps you on the road safely", he argued. Some routes were blocked, so he used the XF's, 3D, sat-nav that included a "pinch and zoom" feature to find alternatives.
The XF Saloon also incorporated a wi-fi router that connected 8 devices to the internet simultaneously. Baker said: "When you're storm chasing you've got so many gadgets that you have to load into the car." He added: "It's really nice to be able to jump in a car that already has connectivity built-in – you have wi-fi instantly."
Click to see the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDL7npTQFdA