I’ve been fortunate enough to do a lot of interesting things in my business career, but when BQ asked me to become a budding Clarkson, I couldn’t pass it up. Not when they offered me a brand-new Jaguar XJ to take out on the open road.
The car was jet black with a sumptuous leather interior that was a pleasure to sit in. On driving it both on the motorways and in the centre of Edinburgh, what struck me was just how smooth and quiet it was, even on acceleration. I felt at home straight away. My usual drive is a five-year-old Mercedes e320, which was at the cutting edge of technology when I bought it.
Heading up a leading IT Services company – Atos Origin in Scotland – this is something that is important to me. I was pleasantly surprised how far things have progressed when it comes to gadgets. My eight-year old son Scott was impressed too. It was right up his street with all the mod cons – from the massaging, heated seats to the TV screen, he absolutely loved it.
For a Dad, it’s important to have a youngster’s approval. But then to his disappointment on returning home from Cubs and finding the shiny XJ in the driveway, the initial assumption that this was my new car wasn’t the case. I drive about 12,000 miles every year on business and could envisage me easilytravelling to and from meetings in this XJ.
Our customers range from private sector and public sector clients such as NHS Scotland, Skills Development Scotland, FirstGroup and Aberdeen City Council, covering the length and breadth of the country, so the high levels of comfort the car delivers allow me to arrive feeling prepared.
I had a meeting scheduled with a supplier when the Jag was dropped off so decided to hold the meeting in the car. Well, time management is an essential skill. Driving around West Lothian, the only thing that was missing were the tea, coffee and chocolate muffins. There was probably a button for those somewhere in the Jag but I didn’t manage to find it.
The XJ takes a sustainable approach to motoring, with a more stringent approach than standalone measures like fuel consumption or CO2 emissions focusing on the “lifecycle” of the vehicle.
These credentials fit well with Atos Origin’s environmental approach, encouraging green practices across the business where we can. Although I wouldn’t describe myself as a car buff, I do enjoy Formula One (watching, not racing) and I rarely miss an episode of Top Gear.
My dad was a mechanic so I’ve always had an interest in cars. Growing up, I was never interested in a Jaguar – but that was then. I am considering buying one and waiting to see who can do me the best deal. The only real downside for me was the slight lack of leg room in the back. I don’t think my boys would be too happy after I’d pushed my own seat back, I’m six foot three. But, all in all, a great car, a modern classic, understated, stylish, stacked with technology, and a pleasure to drive.
Car Supplied by Taggarts Jaguar, Motherwell, 0844 659 9066, www.taggarts.co.uk/jaguar/