To Drive or Not To Drive: Jaguar
My thoughts on the Jaguar Alive Driving Experience
The XJ, Jaguar’s flagship model, is simply a beautiful automobile. From the design, the materials choices, the fit and finish, the artistic use of wood and leather and polished metal – the feeling of luxury in the cockpit of the XJ surpasses the new BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S Class. While the XJ manages to feel both modern and classic, the German’s interior aesthetic is more austere, the controls overly-complicated, and technology seems over-emphasized.
The XF, however, is a harder car to sell. It’s hard to tell whether this Jaguar is competing against the 3 or 5 Series BMW, or the C or E Class Mercedes, but the fact is it just doesn’t outmatch any of them. Although the fit and finish is nice, the interior is comfortable, and the powertranes are solid (particularly that supercharged V8!), it’s just not very special. The XF is a competent car, sure, but I didn’t get the feeling that it was really a contender.
The XK coupe is an order of magnitude better to drive than the previous generation. Particularly in R trim with the supercharged V8, it is a fantastic automobile – beautiful, comfortable, focused and pleasing to drive. The XK offers nearly the experience of an Aston Martin Vantage, at 2/3 the price. It’s everything you would want a grand touring car to be.
The top of the line, 550 horsepower XKR-S is joy to drive, and drive hard. The aero-influenced styling may be a bit overwrought—not as clean as you might expect from Jaguar, maybe a bit too Boy Racer—but what an exciting car when behind the wheel. The engine is enormously capable, and the roar from the exhaust reminds me of an AMG Black Series. But at $125,000, you would really have to be a devotee of the marque to purchase one over its competition. Cars like the Audi R8, Aston Vantage or Porsche 911 Turbo that are even faster, or more dramatic, or carry more cachet.
Is a Jag for me? Not really, at least not until my kids are out of the house. But I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend one.December 11, 2012, 5:31pm Permalink