When I received the invitation to test drive a Jaguar, I was delighted. I have never owned one but have long been an admirer – after all they made one of the most elegant cars in motoring history in the E-Type.
I have to confess that my first criteria of buying a car is what it looks like and in particular whether it excites me when I see it in a car park. If I further confess that my first car was an Opel Manta GTE and I have recently been hunting down a brightly coloured two door sports car you may understand that the XJ Portfolio, a stand out leader in the luxury saloon class, was not originally on my shopping list. However, when the XJ arrived, I was impressed. As well as retaining some classic Jaguar lines, it appeared muscular and futuristic. As ever, beauty is always in the eye of the beholder so I will leave it to you to decide whether it excites you.
The weekend I had been given to test drive the Jaguar, Tanya and I had promised to take my dad to Bolton Abbey for a spot of lunch. My Dad is 96 and Tanya is eight months pregnant with our first child – this was precious cargo for me so perhaps BQ had been doing some thinking for me. To start with the four doors were certainly better than the present two!
Inside there was plenty of space for everyone and whilst I have heard reports that the room in the rear is a little limited, it was certainly more than adequate for the mum-to-be. While it may not look like a sports car on the outside, inside it certainly feels like one. As you would expect with a Jaguar there was plenty of high quality stitched leather, sweeping chrome and polished wood – it oozes class. The dashboard is futuristic and there is every gadget you would want including a very impressive touch screen media centre and a 20 speaker sound system that was perfect for Miles Davis. And now for the important bit – how was the drive? I had the 3.0 V6 Diesel.
This is a large car over five metres long with a diesel engine and so I was mightily surprised at its acceleration. It gets to 60 MPH in just about six seconds and that is plenty quick enough for the Yorkshire Dales. The handling was remarkably light and agile and for such a large car the steering was really accurate. It is easy to slip into the sports mode and the paddles were light to the touch. It shifts effortlessly through its eight gears. However, whilst you know the engine is roaring, I would prefer to hear a bit more of its growl – others may enjoy the peace and quiet. Ultimately this is a driver’s car taking on any roads you may care to throw at it. For a car that competes in the luxury saloon category it could easily give many sports cars a run for their money.
After lunch, I asked my dad’s opinion and he was certainly impressed with the car. The Jaguar XJ was spacious and comfortable but because it is designed for sports performance, the ride was a little firm.
So mission complete. Precious cargo returned and I have learned some valuable lessons –looks can be deceiving. This luxury saloon is classy, comfortable, considered but importantly it was a whole lot of fun. Maybe it’s time to rethink my plans.
The car Roger drove was a Jaguar XJ 3.0 D Portfolio from £67,870. It was supplied by: H.A. Fox Jaguar Leeds 39-41 Barrack Road Leeds, LS7 4AB