Product Type: Jaguar cars
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Words are not enough (updated)
Member Name: JaguarMLS
Date: 26/07/00, updated on 16/09/00 (1423 review reads)
Advantages: Ambience, engine
Disadvantages: Fuel consumption, rear space
I am lucky enough to own an XJ8.
But I'm not you're average Jaguar owner, far from it. I'm told the 'average' Jaguar owner is in his early fifties and probably has a couple of grown up children and a large detached house in Kent. Forget the image you may have of Jaguar as stuffy and old-fashioned. Forget the days when it was part of British Leyland and the build quality was laughably poor. Forget the Arthur Daley association, and open your mind to the possibility that these days, Jaguars are cars that are there to be driven.
Many Jaguar 'owners' don't actually own their cars at all. They are company directors whose presence in the office car park is denoted by the leaping cat logo. But do they love their cars? Is it just a mode of executive transport to waft them up and down the motorways between high-powered meetings? To them, maybe. But not to me. Its much more
than just a car. Its an experience.
I don't work for Jaguar, nor am I affiliated to them in any capacity. I'm not a salesmen, (and if I were I'd be a poor one) but I'm not trying to sell you a Jaguar, merely to put
my thoughts about my car into words. But as the title suggests, the words don't come easily when describing cars like this. Maybe I've grown attached to my car in a way other people don't, but I tend to see the good things in it, and overlook the minor issues that detract from making it the perfect car.
It isn't perfect. It drinks too much fuel, something which is of increasing concern, especially in light of recent events, but only because I drive fairly short journeys and
I do 'press on' when I am on the road. On a long trip, it can do 30mpg, but typically averages nearer 20, which compared to modern small-engined cars doing 50+ is rather poor. Having said that, I knew this when I bought it, and I most certainly didn't buy it as a shopping trolley anyway. When compared to o
ther cars in the same class, it is about the norm for economy, but in the world we live today, I often wonder whether the future will be filled with cars like this. It seems unlikely.
Which is a shame, because cars like this are what motoring is all about, to my mind. I have heard it say from passengers that there isn't enough room in the back, and that the leather seats are too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, and that very long journeys in the back can be a tad uncomfortable, so if you have children, this is not really the car for you. I suppose in a way, the XJ8 is a drivers car, and I certainly have most fun when I am out on my own, in part perhaps because I don't have to worry about the passengers with me in the car and whether their bum is being fried by the seat! Perhaps the one thing the vegetarians or animal lovers among you may find upsetting is the thought of sitting on those seats, and I wouldn't blame you, but unfortunately you don't get an option in the XJ8, and sometimes there is a tendency for your backside to wiggle about more than I'd like - perhaps one of the few real downsides of this car.
So whats the best feature of the XJ8?
The stereo? Hardly. Its good, and I have no complaints -
its not intended to be cranked up to 30000dB, even though I have a tendency to have it turned up a bit *too* loud sometimes - sorry peeps.
The big fat tyres? Well, very nice and certainly very grippy with Pirelli P4000's that help it stick to the road like glue, something you may not expect from a 17 1/2 foot long lumbering beast weighing in close on two tons with passengers, but at £150 a throw....
The curvy lines? Well, its certainly a site to see parked, having just been washed and waxed, under a street light. I can't help looking out of the office window and seeing it
sitting there in the car park. Don't ask me to explain exactly why that is, but those amongst you wh
o have sentimental attachments to your cars will know what I mean.
But the real answer? The engine. 3248cc of V8 (for the petrolheads amongst you it pumps out a useful 240hp) that sings to me when I press the accelerator. Perhaps in a slightly gravelly kind of voice, but sweet music nonetheless. Why is it that every time I stop the
engine and get out I feel a little bit sad? The wonderful engine note has gone. The ambience fades. I want to get back in and drive it again, just for the sake of it. Why?
Don't ask me to explain it here. You have to sit in the seat; feel the chunky steering wheel and soak up the atmosphere. You CAN waft up and down in comfort along dull motorways. But that's not why I bought it. I like to DRIVE it.
I've had my XJ8 coming up to a year now, and its due for its first service - nothing has gone wrong or fallen off with the exception of a bit of interior trim coming a bit loose round the passenger door, but that is easily fixed! Build Quality is very important to Jaguar - when I went for a trip round the factory in Coventry, the place was spotlessly clean and I found out practically every worker has the option to say "No thats not right" in reference to a part about to be fitted - they certainly take pride in their work. And the results speak for themselves, although I was slightly concerned recently to hear about a survey for the consumers association which said that 1 in 4 XJ series models develop a serious fault in their first year which makes them undriveable! I haven't seen evidence of that in mine, and I hope I never do, but perhaps a bit of love shown on my part is returned by keeping me on the road!
Sure, there are faster cars, cars with more buttons, more gadgets, louder exhausts, more legroom in the back. But I can forgive it these things. If I'd wanted a big boot,
I'd have bought an estate. If I'd wanted a nightmarish electronic cabin, I'd have boug
ht something with a black plastic interior from a Japanese manufacturer. Nice cars,
no doubt. But there's a certain something I've only found in one car. And the XJ8 has it.
The others can only be runners up. Driving is believing.