Now if I were to shut my eyes and drive it at city speeds (not exactly, but you get the point) - you know, the pace Gordon Brown or the new UK PM twins would like most drivers to be in - the XJ Supersport feels like any other domesticated purring cat. It smoothly glides between other cars, fills up narrow country lanes and patiently stops for little grandmas waiting to cross the road. The engine ticks over at a relaxed pace as the six-speed automatic transmission makes no demands for shifting another cog. The low-end torque from the V8 motor is what makes this car driveable at low speeds.
When it comes to its looks, of course, the Jaguar is dramatically different from the German competition and I like it for that. The feline feel that all Jaguars should have has been carried over in such a large car, and that’s really remarkable. When the first pictures filtered over the Net, I thought that the grille was a bit too in-your-face while I felt the rear was a bit bland. In real life, well, the grille is quite all right, but the rear... it does feel a bit bland. The tail-lamp treatment is unique and it also evokes the claw marks of a cat, and the C-pillar treatment with the blacked-out plastic section is nothing less than daring in a car in this category. The reason for its streamlined roof is that the car has been designed with a panoramic glass roof that’s integral – so there’s a bit of a concern with that considering our hot weather conditions.
Grace, space and pace is what defined Jaguars of yore, and it’s true with the new XJ as well. And I like it all the more because, to borrow Maggi Sauces’ immortal line: It’s different!