While I can admire a classic ‘72 Stingray, muse at a ‘72 El Camino SS pickup or gaze at the long-nosed ‘72 Buick Riviera, none apply to this situation.
Nor is it a palate pleasing Château Climens Sauternes or Coutet Sauternes, each ’72 Bordeaux sweet wines. It's not anything close to Hurricane Agnes, the ’72 hurricane that devastated the East Coast, either.
Well, what then?
The answer is not so obvious for anyone counting themselves a James Bond fan and recent patron of the smash hit "Skyfall." The illusive 72 is actually the number of screen shots featuring Jaguar and Land Rover cars during the film.
It would take an avid Bond fan - or, as I discovered at a recent media event, a Brit engineer from the Jaguar Land Rover Coventry plant - to do the counting. Moviegoers may recall the Jaguar sedan used to chauffer ‘M’, the Bond matriarch and head of British Secret Service, Judi Dench, between harrowing scenes.
Bragging rights on the 2013 model go to a first-ever, all-wheel-drive system available on the XF sport and XJ luxury sedans and two new engines designed for fuel economy and performance.
Jaguar models range from the XF sedan, XK sports coupe and convertible, to the flagship XJ sedan. Ownership of the brand has switched from Ford in 2008 to Tata Motors of India.
The philosophy behind the new, all-wheel-drive system is straightforward. With lagging North American sales, the world-class auto manufacturer needs a sedan to run with the Mercedes-Benz E350, Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series. Each offers all-wheel drive configurations with fuel-saving engines. For years, Jaguar has been producing luxury, but in gas-thirsty V8 sedans with rear-wheel drive.
The XF and XJ models solve both problems and bring to the table a pair of world-class cars starting at under $47,000.
Driving dynamics are enhanced significantly with the AWD system featuring power transfer control technology. The system shifts power between front and rear wheels, and from side to side, in miliseconds as it detects wheel slippage and applies braking as needed.
Default driving mode remains at 10/90 split, front to rear power ratio, to retain the sporty dynamics of rear-wheel drive. A switchable winter mode preloads additional torque to the front wheels at start-up and defaults to a 30/70 torque split to maximize traction on slippery surfaces.
On wintry track conditions with snow and ice, I drove the the XF uphill, downhill, through a cone-lined obstacle course and even a circular ice rink with full grip, power and precision. Impressive.
Two new engines, an inline four-cylinder and supercharged V6, are available on the XF and XJ. Replacing last year’s gearbox is an eight-speed automatic transmission that enhances performance and fuel economy. The 0-to-60 sprint is achieved in 7.5 seconds with the four cylinder and in 5.7 ticks with the V6.
Luxury appointments abound on the XF model. Standard equipment includes an aluminum dashboard with satin or gloss-wood veneers, tailored instrument and door panels with twin needle stitching, plus Phosphor Blue halo illumination and interior mood lighting.
Leather seating and multi-adjustable seats are also standard.
A full cast of option packages are also available and include navigation and HDD music storage, premium audio with up to 17 speakers, rear camera view, blind spot monitor, larger alloy wheels, sport seats with perforated leather and black piano veneer interior trim.
For the performance minded, the 2013 V8 equipped Jaguar XF and XFR will reach 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, using its 510 horsepower. Starting at $83,200, the XFR also accelerates from 50 to 70 mph in just 1.9 seconds.
If price is not a limiting factor, the XJL Ultimate, a 5-liter supercharged V8, can be yours for $155,000.
Now that Jaguar has an all-season car to compete with U.S. and other foreign all-wheel-drive sedans, all it needs is consumers willing to switch brands. "Skyfall" viewers have plenty of chances to see the car in action. The question that remains is, will it Bond?
Len Ingrassia is an automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at email@example.com)
2013 Jaguar XF
Engine: 2-liter, turbocharged inline-four-cylinder, 240 horsepower
EPA mileage: 19 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, 23 mpg average
Base price: $46,975
Assembled: Jaguar cars are engineered and manufactured exclusively at the Castle Bromwich plant in the British Midlands.
Crash test ratings: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have not yet rated the Jaguar XF.
Warranty: 4-year/50,000-mile, bumper-to-bumper and roadside assistance; first scheduled maintenance.