Jaguar's test drives a virtual track experience

Luke Meurant, of Auckland, takes a test drive with a difference in a Jaguar  SVR XBox car in...
Luke Meurant, of Auckland, takes a test drive with a difference in a Jaguar SVR XBox car in Dunedin yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Ever feel frustrated, in taking a powerful car for a test drive, that Dunedin's traffic and 50kmh speed limit prevent you reaching that elusive 283kmh top speed?

If that sounds like your dream car frustration, Jaguar Land Rover NZ yesterday unveiled an innovative, satisfying solution.

The firm has spent $100,000 converting a new, full-size Jaguar F-Pace SUV into an Xbox gaming controller.

This development, displayed at Armstrong Prestige's Princes St outlet yesterday, aims to "game-ify" test drives.

This approach allows customers to safely experience the "capabilities of the vehicle", in a virtual environment.

Jaguar Land Rover NZ national marketing manager Luke Meurant said that the high-tech solution was a first for this country and the first of its kind in the world.

A "driver" trying out the modified Jaguar will view a high-resolution display screen in front of the windscreen and the steering wheels and pedals have been modified to respond on the virtual track as if it was real.

Customers will be able to race the SUV in the Xbox game Forza Horizon 4 - a simulation racing video game.

"It's quite exciting because we have the opportunity to be quite bold and courageous in trying something new," Mr Meurant, of Auckland, said.

"For us it's important that we do our job - a little brand up against some big brands."

Jaguar was well respected for quality and performance but was a relatively small operation compared with some massive car firms in Germany, and innovation was important in trying to compete.

The 5.0-litre car has a 283kmh top speed and can sprint from standing still to 100kmh in just over four seconds.

Jaguar Land Rover NZ general manager Steve Kenchington said that, after its Dunedin debut, the new simulator experience would be extended to the company's dealership network nationally.

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