Mike Cross who played a key role in ensuring that all Jaguar and Land Rover models had offered just the right levels of comfort, handling and precision has won the Lifetime Achievement Award given by Autocar magazine.
Cross started his stint with Jaguar Cars in 1984 and went on to become the Chief Engineer for both the Jaguar and Land Rover brands when the two brands merged in 2008. He took a personal interest in refining and giving the final sign-off on each and every Jaguar and Land Rover model since.
Cross has been described as “the best driver outside motor racing” and he effectively used his knowledge and expertise to develop the outstanding driving capabilities of a wide range of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles. The models he has shaped range from the Land Rover Discovery which is known for its durability and its ability to tackle all kinds of terrain to the Range Rover which is popular for its ultimate luxury and refinement. Cross was able to lend each model a unique set of driving characteristics that have global appeal.
Commenting on the award, Prof. Dr. Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO, said that Cross has been an integral part of Jaguar Land Rover’s global success. Thanks to his passion for driving and his talent, Mike Cross helped the company to develop some of the most admired models in the world. He went on to add that it was extremely special to experience Mike’s creativity first-hand. In addition to being fast behind the wheel, he drives with precision and safety and this is reflected in the cars he helped develop. The cars that he developed are critically acclaimed and consistently receive good feedback from customers across the globe. Land Rover’s models are just as good on-road as they are off-road. Range Rover is one of the finest luxury models while Jaguar is known for consistently producing models that demonstrate the sharpest handling cars in their respective classes.
With Cross at the helm, Land Rover has not only retained its position as the ultimate off-road car, but has also launched models in two new segments. Cross played a key role in the development and engineering of the Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Velar and plug-in hybrid models like the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport P400e.
Mike Cross, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Engineer, Vehicle Integrity, said that while it was always understood that Land Rovers had to be good off-road, he also focused on making them great to drive on-road, too. The first Land Rover he worked on was the Discovery 3 and he has gone on to ensure that every other model in the range as comfortable, refined and capable. Under his guidance, Jaguar has also evolved into a brand that is known for the precise handling that every model offers. He oversaw the development of Jaguar’s first SUV, the F-PACE, as well as its iconic sports car, the F-TYPE, and ensured that the performance of its ‘R’ performance models, including the XFR was top-notch. Under his watch, Jaguar also developed its first all-electric Jaguar, the I-PACE.
Cross said: “Out of all the Jaguar cars I’ve worked on, one of my favourites was the Jaguar XFR. We were going head-to-head with models that were previously thought to be unbeatable, and all of a sudden the XFR was winning magazine group tests against the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes.”
Mark Tisshaw, Autocar Editor, said that Mike Cross not only confirmed to the highest standards in the market but also exhibited a level of extraordinary consistency in the way Jaguars and Land Rovers drive. Under his guidance, every new Jaguar or Land Rover vehicle is either the best or – at the least – one of the best for ride, handling, steering and feel.
He concluded, “Whether it’s the involving dynamic package of a Jaguar saloon or the refined ride of a Range Rover, Mike’s genius lies behind it.”
Autocar’s Lifetime Achievement Award is the main prize awarded at the magazine’s annual Autocar Awards, which are meant to showcase the best new cars, most advanced new technology and brightest talents. On that same evening, the new Range Rover Evoque’s ClearSight Ground View system won Autocar’s Innovation Award.
Mike Cross said that it was a great honor to receive the award especially as it was from Britain’s oldest car magazine. He lauded his mentors like Sir Jackie Stewart and the Richard Parry-Jones.
Mike said “I’ve also been lucky enough to drive some incredible machinery over the years, all of which have – in their own way – shaped my opinions on driving dynamics. Day-to-day I ride a number of Ducati superbikes, which constantly remind me of the thrill in unadulterated speed but, almost at the opposite end of the scale, the beautifully agile chassis of the Ford Escort Mexico is enough to place it at the very top of my list of favourite cars.
He went on to attribute the award to the hard work and talent of his team that works alongside him in designing and engineering Jaguar Land Rover models from scratch and also thanked Autocar.
Cross concluded, “I’ve had many highlights in my life, from driving a Formula 1 car, to tackling the Mille Miglia but receiving this award is a memory I’ll treasure for a very long time.”
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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