Friday, September 5, 2008

Jaguar's XJ Super V8 is All Class


“Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?” I’m sure you remember these commercials from a few years ago. This is precisely the phrase that crossed my mind the first time I laid eyes on the Jaguar XJ Super V8. I know, I know, the pretentious Brit uttered the phrase from the back seat of a Bentley. But, you get the point. Jaguar’s XJ, while less expensive than a Bentley, Rolls Royce, or Maybach, is still built with one group in mind, the uber rich. From its supple leather interior to airplane-style tray tables mounted on the backs of the front seats, the XJ is all about sophistication and class.


The XJ Super V8, not surprisingly, comes equipped with a V8, though “super” might be a bit of a stretch. Don’t get me wrong, this 4.2-liter V8 is by no means weak. Its 400 horsepower comes on swiftly and smoothly. Frankly, compared to Audi’s A8, the Mercedes S class, and the BMW 7 Series, the Super V8 is quite competitive. Maybe it’s my state school pedigree and penchant for the small block V8 talking, but it just seems like you should get more horsepower for this kind of money. I guess it shouldn’t be shocking to anyone that XJ buyers might fancy me white trash.


If your idea of ride quality means that you want to be able to hit a curb at 100 mph and not spill your tea, the XJ is your kind of car. Every time I drive a Jaguar at speed around corners I’m amazed at their ability to get around a corner with speed and precision, yet not feel stiff in day-to-day driving conditions.


The exterior of the XJ is certainly classic Jaguar. Clearly designers in Coventry aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel with this car, and their loyal buyers wouldn’t stand for it, either. The exterior can only be described as sophisticated and sporty. Big 20 inch rims, an aggressive stance, and its wire mesh grill help toward this end. If you are trying to imagine the interior styling, just think of a cross between first class seating on a trans-Atlantic flight and a modern luxury car. It should also be noted that its floor mats feature a kind of shag-type carpeting that makes driving barefooted so relaxing as to almost become a distraction.


Those who would be interested in this kind car probably have very little in common with me. Therefore, I suspect that their hot buttons likely relate more to styling and image than performance or handling. On this basis, a Jaguar certainly communicates a certain message about someone that may be particularly attractive to this kind of buyer.

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