We know what you may be thinking, but no, the picture above isn’t photoshopped. This actually happened. And by this, we mean Jaguar drove its new 2016 Jaguar XF across high-wire above the River Thames in London late Tuesday.
The stunt, to debut its new XF sedan, was pulled off with the help of a James Bond stuntman, of course. We are talking Jaguar and Britain after all.
Hollywood stuntman Jim Dowdall drove the XF nearly 800 feet over the water to show off the new XF’s lightweight design. It’s body is made up of 75 percent aluminum which Jaguar says makes it some 400 pounds lighter than its predecessor. It took three-minutes to cross the water above London’s business district, Canary Wharf.
Dowdall, a veteran of action scenes in films including Bourne, Indiana Jones and Bond, was up for the dangerous challenge.
“Over my 35 years in the industry I’ve driven Jaguars on many Hollywood movie sets,” Dowdall said of his stunt experience. “However the biggest test for me on this stunt was the unpredictability of the elements. Potential oscillation in the high-wires from wind speeds meant it added a real challenge. The wires are only 34mm in diameter so the journey required absolute precision, balance and control.”
This wasn’t a stunt taken lightly, that’s for sure. Meteorological experts and structural engineers were on hand to determine precise drive conditions, based on comprehensive crosswind analysis. Plenty of safety precautions were also taken in case something went awry, which fortunately for all involved, it didn’t.
Jaguar’s new XF is the third Jaguar to be based on the brand’s advanced aluminum architecture. The new model is 7mm shorter than the old one, however, it actually gains a bit of space inside thanks to a 51mm gain in wheelbase length.
Choosing which model you want could be challenging though because there are count them, eight different XF offerings in the lineup and they are priced starting at $50,000. Available both as a manual and a standard, they all come equipped with Jaguar’s new range of Ingenium diesel engines.
“Customers around the world are increasingly demanding cleaner-running, more efficient vehicles that maintain or even enhance the performance attributes expected of a rugged all-terrain vehicle or a high performance car. Our Ingenium engines deliver this to a new level.” said Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart, Jaguar Land Rover Group Engineering Director.
The 2015 XF heads to the states next week for its U.S. premiere at the New York Auto Show, albeit with a little less fanfare.