If you’re a car guy, or girl, this is what dreams are made of!
Words can never fully explain or express the feelings that I experienced over the course of the Jaguar drive. But I'm going to give it go and take try take you on a journey and give you some highlights from the day.
As an automotive brand, Jaguar is steeped in history with a reputation for exceptional quality and craftsmanship with its origins firmly rooted in motorsport. They were known for their innovation in using materials such as aluminium for weight saving and rigidity. They were probably most well known for producing the eternally classic E-Type what Enzo Ferrari is quoted in saying as “The most beautiful car ever made”.
I’m not really sure where Jaguar went, but being honest they dropped off the radar of many with the exception of the most loyal purists.
Do I care? ...hell no!! They’re back and in a big way. Growing up my old man always professed his love for Jaguar and I never fully understood it. I definitely understand now and unashamedly haven’t stopped talking about their cars since the drive day.
Our day starts with a welcoming coffee and some fresh pastry,
If you know me then they’ve already made me a convert! We sat around a table while ex-European Racer and now Jaguar Head Driver, Tim Jones, delivered inspiring and passionate stories of Jaguar, their history and what they're doing now. I was almost ready to buy a car right then and there. If Top Gear ever reads this please give Tim a job.
An overview of the cars sitting in the driveway waiting for us along with the video of the F-Type being steered around the streets of Barcelona, had us all chomping at the bit to jump and hit the road. Do yourself a favour and watch the video, turn the volume up loud because not only is the F-Type a beautiful looking car, it's one of the best sounding cars I’ve heard for a long time.
First up for us was the range-topping flagship that is the XJR. At limousine proportions of a whopping 5.2m long, I thought I’d sitting behind the wheel of something more suitable for driving Miss Daisy around in. Again how wrong could I be? Sitting in the driver’s seat you feel like the car has been built around you, it certainly doesn't feel as big as it is. This is down to the smart design elements that can be found through the entire range, in this case, the ‘Riva Hoop’ which gives the interior a gentle ‘cockpit’ feel much like the classic speedboat brand after which it is named.
We were told that when you get out of the XJR we’d have a grin from ear to ear and that we’d fall in love with the car. Yes Yes and Yes. The surprising thing about this car is the performance and handling, actually, that can be said for their whole range. In particular, the 404kW from the Supercharged 5.0L V8 in the XJR give this car incredible punch. There were plenty of grins and certainly no “Driving Miss Daisy” coming from our car when we at the wheel.
The only downside to the car was the disappointment when we had to get out and hand over the keys. However, this quickly disappeared when we set off in the XE S with its Supercharged 3.0L V6 Engine.
Sitting in the XE feels very similar to the XJ, just not quite as refined, its much smaller but certainly doesn’t feel like it, They’ve really got this design thing down pat here. Being so much smaller in stature but still with an incredible engine under the hood, the double wishbone suspension and all the fancy aluminium bits underneath, make the XE S certainly worth some serious consideration if you’re on the lookout for a car in the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class area.
Being so much smaller in stature but still with an incredible engine under the hood, the double wishbone suspension and all the fancy aluminium bits underneath, make the XE S certainly worth some serious consideration if you’re on the lookout for a car in the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class area.
The XE S is far from an ordinary car, but unfortunately sitting amongst the company its in here it does feel like the most ordinary that we got to drive, its a bit hard to compare the range-topping XJR, the super sporty F-Type and an SUV that are all exceptional cars in their own right to Jaguar’s smallest Saloon the XE. Having recently spent some time in a C-Class, again the XE S is a serious contender in this category.
Big grins are now well and truly back with the keys to a bright red F-Type coupe. Amazing handling, outstanding performance and again that feeling like you’re in a cockpit make this a truly outstanding car. We’ll post some videos soon that go the the F-Type in more detail as this car is definitely worth its own write-up. One thing that really surprised me was how snug yet roomy the car feels when you’re behind the wheel. I’m not a little guy and at no stage did I feel that it was cramped.
Getting out of the Coupe and heading into lunch at Birches Restaurant on top of Mount Mee one of the things that have stood out for me so far is the attention to detail in these cars. It’s in those little details, the 1%er’s, the things that at first glance that you don’t notice, that make Jaguar stand out for me. I can't really put it in words, it’s a feeling that it gives you and it’s good, really good. Zipping around the twists and turns going up and down the mountains, windows down, you’re feeling a really solid car underfoot, the only soundtrack you need from under the hood, they all put that grin on your face, and it just feels right.
You could feel it at lunch, everyone chatting about the cars they had driven, which was their favourite. I didn’t hear once that someone had had a steer that they didn’t enjoy. Tim and crew from Jaguar made the day an amazing experience and at this point, we were only halfway there.
If you’re ever tempted to take a drive out to Mount Mee and enjoy those twists and turns and the scenery, if you’ve the time to take your eyes off the road, then you have to head to Birches Restaurant . The food we had was outstanding, and the service friendly. It would be a great spot in winter with the log fire in the middle of the dining room roaring and that awesome view back down to Brisbane. He'll grab your Jag and take off now, ask for the lamb shanks!
Of course, Tim and the guys didn’t just leave us stranded out there after lunch. We got thrown a set of keys for an F-Pace that topped off my day. Having a new addition the family recently has had me throwing around the concept of joining the SUV brigade. After my drive last week in the F-Pace, I'm pretty certain now that if it's to happen it's going to be in one of these. For a car guy, there’s always been that hesitation of leaping into an SUV that it just doesn’t drive how you want it to. Not the case in this thing. For me, it out drove and outperformed the XE. Behind the wheel, you forget you’re in an SUV.
For good reason, it has just won not only the awards for 2017 World Car of the Year but also World Car Design of the Year. It's simply a brilliant car. Getting around some of the bends on the way down from Mount Mee the F-Pace takes anything you throw at it in its stride, I have no idea where the limit is, nor do I want to find out on a public road because it felt like we were never even close to it. So much bigger than the F-Type but steering, like every car today, it just doesn't feel like it. Don’t ever drive one if you don’t want to buy one because I now get depressed getting behind the wheel of my car.
For me, the Jaguar Experience can be summed up in two moments that happened after it was all over. My mate, Ben, who shared the cars with me on the day, sent me a message on the way home. It simply said “My Car is Shit”, it seems he want’s one now just a bad as I do. The other is when I met my old man for breakfast on the weekend, remember when I said he was a Jaguar fan, well he didn’t let me forget, he called me a few choice words that I shouldn’t repeat here and didn’t really talk to me much.
I think I can safely say that all of us on the drive day have a newfound respect for one of the most underrated by best automotive brands on the market today. Jaguar has well and truly fired some shots over the last few years, if they ever were lost, don’t worry they have been well and truly found now.
Check out the guys at Brisbane City Jaguar…
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