Jaguar for luxury in a sporty package

Today a car is the most dramatic symbol of a man’s life style aspirations

Cars are for modern people what horses had once been for our ancestors. They did much more than transport people from place to place and also symbolised power, speed, wealth, pedigree and prestige. Such was the attraction of cars that Hitler, in 1939, had evidently offered a Mercedes Benz to Judda Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana to try to persuade him to not allow the dreaded Gurkha infantry soldiers to fight against the Germans. Till the Tribhuvan highway was built in 1956 Nepal’s rich and famous used to transport their cars to Kathmandu on the shoulders of a small army of coolies but they wanted their cars regardless of the difficulties or cost.

Today a car is the most dramatic symbol of a man’s life style aspirations. Just as a Rolls Royce had once been the ultimate in prestige, Jaguar used to once be the ultimate in luxury sports cars. The elegant pouncing feline symbol of the Jaguar hides the checkered history of the company behind the famous brand. Jaguar began life as the small Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922. It was then merged or acquired by Standard Motor Company, BMC and Ford before Tata Motors took control in 2008. Jaguar, however, took the corporate bumps and potholes of this corporate journey in its stride and retained an unblemished image of sporty elegance. JLR (Jaguar Land Rover that includes the Land Rover cars) has thrived under Tata stewardship and is now Britain’s largest auto company.

Luxury sports cars are usually too expensive for young buyers but many of those who can now enjoy them still remember a time when Jaguars like the wire wheeled XK 120, launched soon after the 2nd World War ended, was the ultimate in luxury sports car and they can now fulfill their long lost dreams.

The luxury model in the jaguar range is the XJ the cars used by British Prime Ministers and sometimes even the queen. With a length of 5.255 metres it is roughly comparable to an Audi A8, BMW 7 Series or S Class Mercedes and like them can be offered in a `L’ or long version. Its lower floating roofline however makes it look much sportier looking even if it slightly reduces cabin space in the rear. The long delicate crease bonnet and sleek lines however make it stand out from the crowd. Though the limousine is offered with excellent petrol and diesel V6 engines and an eight-speed automatic transmission for great performance the prestige buyers are mostly interested in the car as a personal statement to declare that they are not only rich and powerful but young at heart as well. Needless to say, the car is provided with every automotive feature for safety, comfort and luxury. The elegant interiors with leather seats and faux wood trim radiate a faintly `Old World’ aura.

The Jaguar XF model is slightly smaller making it roughly the size of an Audi A6, BMW 7 Series or E Class Mercedes but it has a much more sporty persona even if not quite as sporty as the even smaller F-Type Jag. Its smooth 2-litre petrol and 2.18 litre diesel engines mated to eight-speed automatic transmissions provide excellent

acceleration moderated by advanced suspension and steering systems for effortless comfort and control. Its sporty persona, however, means that the lower roofline makes the space on the rear seat headroom a little tight.

The author is the region’s most celebrated automobile columnist