When you get a call asking if you’d like to test drive the latest in the Jaguar portfolio (obviously a regular occurrence in one’s day), there is only one answer: when? Off I trotted to the dealer – R.A Creamer – tucked away up a narrow, cobbled mews street in the heart of Kensington. There I witnessed the embodiment of everything that Jaguar stands for: luxury, elegance and unequivocal British style. Hands on, I was about to experience all these elements of Jaguar encapsulated. Walking through the showroom, open for more than fifty years, one is surrounded by royal warrants and photos on the walls of earlier classic models which affirm the trust that many customers place in this dealer’s hands.
The new XJ 3.0 Diesel SWB ‘Premium Luxury’ sat waiting, its engine warmed and purring. In its lunar grey exterior and jet leather interior you can see why so much fuss is made of the style. Immediately captivating to the eye, this sleek saloon encourages countless green-eyed gazing onlookers. Inside, the XJ is splendidly bedecked with everything you could possibly want, not just need, and more. A driver’s dual vision touch screen means your partner in motoring crime can watch TV whilst the driver concentrates on a projected image of the rear view – making parking something of a dream. Keyless entry ensures hands can stay on important documents, precious shopping, or possibly children whilst the car self-unlocks and then starts with a simple touch of a button. Wipers and lights turn on automatically and the car’s intelligence is furthered by the driver’s seat inbuilt memory – recording the settings of up to four drivers and avoiding time-consuming re-adjustments when you’ve let the butler park it.
The traditional features are there – dashboard clock and iconic Jaguar fans, but these have been mixed up with a much more chic and savvy appeal – praise can be given to their senior designer of previous Aston Martin fame. Expect to see walnut veneer surrounding its entertainment panels – all wireless, of course, iPhone4 connections and BOSE speakers – the best that money can buy in a car of this class.
Perhaps the most famed Jaguar moment of recent times was when David Cameron arrived in an older Jaguar XJ model, to be promptly updated by a newer shiner version. And whilst the version I was driving didn’t quite have the bullet-proof glass and bomb-protection armour, I still felt every bit as safe and secure. And a little bit like a foreign diplomat, or Sam Cam – minus the children. But that’s what makes this car special. In comparison with competitors’ versions, what you get with the XJ undoubtedly is a strong sense of occasion. Cruising smoothly along with power and finesse, you feel almost chauffeur driven – except it’s the car itself that’s driving you.
Along with the shift in governmental perspective, Jaguar is attempting a shift in their customer demographic. Creamer’s recent deliveries have been made to clientele that include a twenty-something couple, looking for a little luxury with added dynamism. But of course the car is favoured by families and business types alike. The image of solo older golfer as owner and driver is slowly disintegrating, and the cars are being more and more recognised for their elegance impeccable.
Voted best Green Car 2010 thanks to its lightweight aluminium structure, it manages around 50pmg on the motorway. It’s every Englishman’s preferred vehicle. A dream to drive. I’ll be putting in my order just as soon as I get paid for this article.