I remember it like it were yesterday, I was 7 when I was formally inducted into a conversation that would lead to an important family decision. A new car was at stake, but which one was the bit that was unanswered, and an opinion poll was what was required to come to a well rounded conclusion. The conversation continued for a couple of days, and it was one day after dinner that dad popped the big question – “So which one do we buy?” As the buck passed from one member to the other, it was obvious that I was in the midst of a crowd that pondered over only Indian-manufactured cars. Finally, it was my turn to place my opinion in front of the honourable judge who was presiding on the day and I obliged. My words were clear, crisp, and loud enough for everyone to take note – “how about the Jaguar XJR-S?”
Now, amidst my friends, this statement would have been followed by golden words like ‘hmm, interesting choice, a two-door V12, nice,’ or even something to the extent of ‘you know your cars.’ But this was family, and I still have to gather why these 5 words generated quite so much laughter that it’s lasted two decades – not to mention the fact that I’m still not included in any of the decision-making in the family. A Jag in the family would have been good, but, at that time, it was simply a childish dream to own the masterpiece that replaced the E-type – and I wasn’t exactly born with a silver spoon in my mouth.
In literature, we were taught that art is a reflection of life, and this is one reason why I understand paintings of Michaelangelo, Donatello, and Leonardo (no, I’m not referring to the Ninja Turtles), but that whole theory goes topsy-turvy once you’ve laid your eyes on the new face of the Jaguar XF. Once the car is out on the road, the person behind the wheel becomes virtually invisible. It’s the same reasoning with music, it’s the song that you like and you’re not bothered about who’s conducting the orchestra. This car is all about making a statement with its redesigned front grille, which makes it look more like its bigger brother – the XJ.
In fact, I preferred it to Sachin Tendulkar’s Nissan GT-R, which was plying up and down Worli Sea Face where we stopped for a bit. It’s just so elegant and in-tune with the times – it’s evolved. It’s classy and oozes attitude, and no one can resist a second glance. It deserves every bit of the appreciation it gets. It’s like the trophy wife that you’ll never admit to wanting – put simply, it serves the purpose of making others jealous, which brings a smile on your face along with an expression that only a Himesh Reshamiya song can describe, No touching, only seeing.
However bad an example that might be, there’s no denying that the Jaguar best describes neighbour’s envy and owner’s pride. The Jaguar XF captures every bit of your heart with its touch-sensitive cabin lights, plush leather interiors, Bluetooth connectivity, sunroof, and the sheer charm it offers. Everything’s well spread out and elegant in the cabin. The only complaint is that the seats are a little too firm for comfort. The great thing, though, is that the ride is sublime like all Jags. All the while, the aluminium body ensures that it’s extremely light on its feet. Speaking of which, the steering is light as well, but it’s also extremely direct and responsive. You throw it around a corner and, my word, it’s planted. It’s well behaved, and everything just works as one cohesive unit.
And the Jaguar XF has got a big heart – a 3.0-litre V6 that manages to induce a spine-crunching, G-force emitting surprise through the accelerator pedal. With 271bhp beating under the hood, it’s so unlike a diesel – it leaps, it jumps, and it’s always in go-mode. The VGT is always up to the task, and the secondary turbo kicks in whenever you’re looking for that burst of additional power. With 600Nm of torque up for grabs from as low as 2000rpm, it’s only when you check the speedo that you realize that the needle is in the vicinity of figures that would permit you a free one-night stay at the closest jailhouse. And, if you know your cars, the first thing you would do is turn the knob to ‘S’ and turn on Dynamic mode, after which the paddle-shifters come to good use to work yourself around town.
It purrs in the city, and is ever willing to go out on a stretch that allows it to just run freely. The territory is fairly well demarcated – the city is for luxury, and the open road is all about sportiness. To those of you who spotted a blurr on the highway, you’re damn right it was the Jag. You can’t imagine how often I was tempted to take on other cars on the highways – about 20 at a time that is. And after going past about two dozen cars within a blink of an eye, you just settle down to think to yourself, ‘Oh, that was fun, where are the next 20?”
It is a cat after all – a big one at that – and it’s good to see that its natural instinct are retained. It’s a silent hunter, and you often see people wondering what the hell just passed them. And, if you’re wondering that it’s going to put a dent in your wallet with fuel bills, well, Jaguar has managed to keep the fuel consumption and carbon footprint relatively low.
So, with all this going for it, I don’t know why people would opt for any other car on offer. Yes, this is certainly pricier, but it’s just more special – the Germans are mundane in comparison. Yes, the crystal white daytime running headlamps are a bit much. And the fake chrome exhausts tips (the real exhausts exit downwards just behind them) are plain ridiculous – granted, they do look good if they’ve got you fooled!
But, with a lot of ‘ifs’ like: if I had the money, if I wanted a luxury sports car, and if I were allowed once again to partake in the family decision making process, I would go for the Jaguar XF blindfolded. It casts a feline spell after all. But, I’m a mere mortal who has no choice but to deny myself the pleasure of this leaping cat.
|Engine||2,993cc / V6 / DOHC / 24 valves / Twin Turbocharged|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic / Rear-wheel drive|
|Power||271bhp @ 4000rpm|
|Torque||600Nm @ 2000rpm|
|Price||Rs.52 Lakhs (Ex-showroom)|
|XFactor||Contemporary in design, style, and features, the Jaguar XF has the perfect blend of ingredients. It is pricey though.|