“A man can get away with anything because he’s got a Jag” ~. Jeremy Clarkson
Now i wouldn’t, or rather couldn’t say the above quote by the fearless ex-bbc presenter was true or not. In essence what the banter was about during the episode was how striking Jaguar has always had their designs.
And the fact that I have never driven one before, meant i probably could not fully comprehend what they meant.
In the last week, an opportunity arose for me to test the 2013 model Jaguar XF. Sadly, not the V6 model but hey, its a Jag.
Now i’ve driven many cars before, and i sure know how an executive saloon is supposed to feel like, and handle. But with the XF, throw the stereotypes away, because it impresses.
Now lets hit you with some specs, the british manufacturer gives you a 2-litre, 4-cylinder in-line turbocharged engine for your money. Not a cheap car per say too with a $200K SGD price tag AFTER DISCOUNTS.
That being said, it gives you 237bhp and 340nm of torque. It does the 0-100 run in 7.9 seconds. The XF sports a 8 speed transmission (yes.. 8) and a rear wheel drivetrain. Its kerb weight at 1660kg makes it a 100kg more than its german rival the c180. Which sets your mind thinking holding the specs sheet, this lumbering heavy british car, how would it fare?
Pretty damned good.
The interior is as professional as any other Jag, fitting for the luxury seeker, the seats hold you snug and nice, and a steering wheel that feels weird in both design and feel, however after awhile you just get used to that and let everything soak in.
The power. Oh. The power. That is what makes you completely understand, the feel, the james bond villany, the love for a Jaguar. Of course, coupled with the edgy and fierce arched design of the car.
Accelerator depressed, long stretch of road, the car builds up revs slowly, and when your mind just about registers “hey, why hasn’t the power kicked in ye….” And whoosh! The turbo kicks in pushing the revs incrementally higher, the sporty exhaust rumble sings a tenor tune, and gradually, in all its stylish and luxury fashion you are slowly forced into the leather seats, in control of a british cat charging at its prey.
Pretty difficult to wipe the smirk off your face after that.
Lets talk bends, by looking at the car, first thought springs to mind would be “body roll.” But again, no. Roll is minimal, if not, muted. Suspension is stiff but the folks at Jaguar did a pretty good job at not allowing any compromise to the passengers and the driver in the cabin. And its cornering capabilities, lets just say, it comes close to MINI territory.
Now I have been rambling on about how great the car is and all, and how could i not? I’m excitied, i have finally found the reason, the meaning and the experience behind the brand.
But the bubble always has to burst, here are its shortfalls.
The 8 speed transmission, unless you’re in sports mode, is hopeless. It sure is fun when you paddle shift the british pussy(cat) around but then again, the gear ratios doesn’t allow you to remotely touch top gear. Well unless you’re driving at 200km/h on the autobahn then yeah perhaps but for its use here in Singapore, nope.
The brakes are good, but a slight dab on the pedal sends the occupants in the car lurching forward with much haste. Also the risk of the seaweed soup you had for dinner being thrown from your mouth onto the interior dash. Again, don’t get me wrong. The brakes are good, but the pedal setting is rubbish.
The throttle, seems to be useless until the engine jumps revs and the turbo starts to spool. Which means you’re either going super slowly, or in a spurted acceleration.
Now an 11.2km/l FC isn’t good nor bad. A trip to the pumps will set you back a good mid-100s. The 70L fuel tank too only adds on to its weight. But even at that weight. It sure can run. Fast. Enough to get you into trouble.
And seriously, how can one not enjoy the looks of the car. Its a design beauty, one to be marveled at.
I enjoyed driving the car, i really did. And am glad I was finally able to experience what its like to drive a Jag. The Jaguar XF manages to capture the essence of luxury and sportyness. It is able to impress, though with a few shortfalls, you probably wouldn’t mind. And i don’t.
Now, anyone’s got an F-Type?