Friday, January 23, 2009

Paying Attention To Jaguar Again - The XF

As a kid my dream car was an E-Type. How could it not be? What's not to like about a long, low, sexy front end and four tailpipes sticking out of the back? Throw in the smooth inline six or the powerful V12 and you've got the perfect lust-mobile. Teenage economic realities kept me from buying a used one back then and by the time I was an adult, E-Types had become expensive collectible cars and adult economic realities set in.

In the seventies and eighties Jaguar made the XJS, which, while a nice "grand tourer" type of car with a 12 cylinder engine, was not in the same league, looks and performance wise, as the E-Type. They also made the original (Series 1, 2 & 3) XJ6, which, as I wrote in an earlier post, was a very nice car that blended sportiness and class in one package. Maybe I should have bought one, but my tastes ran more towards smaller cars back then. (You still see quite a few of these turn up on eBay and on Craigslist. They are not selling for a lot of money yet. The original XJ6 - especially the Series 3 - can be a very practical classic)

In my mind Jaguar lost its way in the nineties. The new XJ6 and XJ8, while nice enough, were not as classy or sporty as the original. It almost became an "old man's car". A British Lincoln. (The VERY notable exception were the XJR sedans - very sporty and VERY desirable cars). I found little likable about the S-Type, and the X-Type was, to me, just a thinly disguised Ford. The XK series of sports cars were very nice, but nowhere near as sexy as the E-Type. I was actually mad at Jaguar. The brand of car I had once lusted after and so aspired to own had become bland, nothing special. Starting in the late eighties I bought a Peugeot, I bought an Alfa, I bought an Audi, I bought a Saab, I bought the BMW I still own... I paid little attention to Jaguar.

Maybe it's time to start paying attention to Jaguar again.

In 2008 Jaguar introduced the XF. A mid-size sedan, the XF mixes sportiness and class like no Jaguar has since the original XJ6. I would have liked to have seen a smaller, lower, more "Jaguar-ish" grill, but other than that (and, of course, that's strictly opinion) the styling is perfect.

Best of all, this new Jaguar backs up its style with performance. 0 - 60 comes in 6 seconds on the normally aspirated XF, in around 5 seconds on the turbo model. After winning the "WhatCar?" '2008 Car of the Year' award in Great Britain, it was just announced the it repeated this year as the "WhatCar" 'Best Executive Car' for 2009'. Starting around $50,000.00, it's not cheap, but price-competitive with similar BMWs, Audis, and Merecedes'.

Why am I mentioning this in a blog that's supposed to be dedicated to more affordable cars? For one thing, I thought for awhile we may lose Jaguar all together. While in this economy nothing is certain for any auto manufacturer, introducing a car like the XF at least keeps Jaguar competitive. Secondly, these will start turning up off-lease and used in a few years. They will be affordable to the average car geek. But best of all, there is now another car from Jaguar to lust after ("lust" being my favorite of the "Seven Deadly Sins", followed closely by "sloth" and "gluttony"), and that's always a good thing.

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