Reminiscent of the post-Woodstock Mad Dogs and Englishmen rock ‘n roll tour, Jaguar’s Art of Performance Tour rolled into the Detroit area with a lively mix of showbiz and new-for-2018 cars and SUVs.

Launched at last November’s Los Angeles Auto Show, the tour has made seven subsequent stops, culminating in the show in Novi, Michigan. It’s a promotional program Jaguar plans to repeat in 2018.

New model highlights

Headlining the show are Jaguar’s prime newcomers for 2018—E Pace and Sport Brake—both of which have already had some media exposure. The E Pace is a five-seat all-wheel drive luxury SUV, smaller than the F Pace, and less expensive, starting at $39,995. Due in early 2018, it will be offered in two performance levels, both propelled by a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder, both with 9-speed automatic transmissions. The standard E Pace has 246 horsepower on tap, while the R Dynamic version operates with 296.

For its part, the Sport Brake, a body style still fairly common in the U.K., represents a major change in Jaguar’s U.S. model policy—the first-ever Jaguar station wagon in American showrooms. Like Jaguar’s new SUVs, the Sport Brake is clad in sporty sheetmetal and includes the promise of sporty performance. The Sport Brake nomenclature is derived from shooting brake, an obscure term in U.S. automotive circles—in the U.K. it was coined to describe a vehicle conceived to transport hunters—Jaguar marketers, like their opposite numbers from other companies, presumed it to be preferable to “station wagon,” a term that still suggests the family vacation behemoths that hogged American highways in the 1950s and ‘60s.

The Sport Brake will join a sextet of existing wagons (none of them bearing the dreaded name, all of them of European origin) late this year as a 2018 model. Thrust—delivered by a 380-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6, will go to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic. Max interior cargo is pegged at 32 cubic feet, a lot more than the corresponding Jag sedan, and the roof rack is rated to accommodate up to 220 pounds. The Sport Brake is expected to debut with a base MSRP of $71,445.

Also: Get your first look at the new and redesigned cars of 2018

Upgraded XJR

Zooming along under the radar with the barest mention at Performance Tour presentations is an upgraded edition of Jaguar’s premier XJ sedan, the XJR, which will pick up its already formidable pace with a small uptick in the output of its supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 engine. With 575 horsepower on tap, it becomes the XJR 575, a big sedan that can be even bigger in its long-wheelbase edition, and probably a wink quicker than the sub-4-second 0-to-60 mph times the current version has already recorded in contemporary road tests.

The XJR owns only a small share of a market dominated by German heavyweights from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. But the XJ series continues to have a presence, and increased performance helps Jaguar keep pace with its German rivals. The XJR 575 will roll into 2018 with a base MSRP of $122,000.

A more significant takeaway of Jaguar’s Art of Performance Tour is the breadth of the 2018 lineup. With the addition of the E Pace and Sport Brake, this is the most comprehensive and varied lineup of vehicles Jaguar has ever fielded in the U.S. And this is with the iPace battery electric vehicle, (Jaguar’s first electrified offering), yet to make its debut. That’s expected sometime next year. 

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