Wolf in Sheep's clothing

I make no secret that the Jaguar XJ is the car of choice for me, so when Graham turned up to the office in a 2007 XJR I just had to take it for a spin and remind myself what it is about the XJ and the XJR in particular that sends me back to my teenage years. This is a car that brings out a split personality in me, on one hand I want to waft along and enjoy the fact I am in a Jaguar XJ, meanwhile there is a less calm side urging me to use all 400 BHP and its a loud voice.

Understated?

One of the aspects of the XJR's I have always loved are the understated looks. There are no extra wide wheel arches, huge tail fin spoilers, striking colour schemes. Just a mesh grille, and a few small badges whispering to the unsuspecting boy racer next to you at the lights that when they change the world will stop spinning on its axis. The amount and the way an XJR delivers it's power means that one moment you are sat stationary, the next, the world is now spinning the other way and everything else is going backwards. All this from what is essentially a five seat luxury saloon, perfect for taking my three children and wife on a shopping trip. I feel more like Han Solo at the controls of a fully working millennium falcon.

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This for me is what makes them so very appealing. The fact it doesn't shout in everyone's face "look at me". I drove around for a short while just enjoying the sensation of knowing I was where I enjoy sitting, in a low slung executive saloon. No one noticed or even bothered looking at the car. Its nothing like driving a more classic Jaguar when people look, point and even wave (OK I may be painting a more romantic picture than needed, but you get the point). In the X358 you just melt into the crowd and enjoy the peace that comes with a contented solitude. The rush of the day just disappears and you can ease this quite sizeable indulgence around at a very genteel pace.

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Supercharged Luxury

With the recent revelations on emissions and "Diesel Gate" there is an attitude shift back towards petrol power being the fuel of choice, with that I no-longer feel a small amount of guilt I used to while driving a 4.2 ltr supercharged fuel consumer. On this point, it is surprisingly efficient for a car of its size, 23 mpg stated as average, drive it carefully and a claimed 32 mpg is achievable. You do not buy an XJR because fuel consumption is your main concern. Ian Callum in a statement around the future of the XJ said, "....the XJ is an indulgence....". That is why you buy an XJR. Quite capable of smoothing you along at 30 mph and taking the strain of the day, cruising along the motorway for miles and miles, or if you fancy spending a bit more money, taking you from 40 - 70+ before you have had chance to say "I will just pull out and pass these cars". The ultimate indulgence does not compromise, it ticks all the right boxes, does everything you hope a car will do.

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Ultimate split personality?

So when Graham bounced into the office saying "I'm in love, you need to take this for a drive", it was a no brainer. Is it an XJ? Tick, Is it an "R"? tick, is that the ultimate combination in my eyes? tick. So my reply was "I'm off to find a bank to rob, need this in my life". I dont go around robbing banks, I just need to clarify that point. It is what a car like this does, it takes all your good points, shreds them up and turns you into that villain of the 1960's using their MK2's to evade the police. To enjoy a car like this takes enormous self restraint, in an almost perverse kind of way (may just be me here). It is really the ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing. From a glance, its an XJ, for those not in the know, its just a big Jaguar, oh the poor sheep. You really do need to look deeper with an XJR to discover the wolf.

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