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Grace… Space… Pace
Thursday, 13 December 2012 00:00


It’s not just small, agile sports cars that can be fun – large, luxury saloons can be too. Take my favourite experience with an X350 generation of XJ. In 2003 I followed Jaguar Heritage’s entries on the Mille Miglia using a then new XJR. My first impression on collecting the car was that it wouldn’t be ideal transport for such an event. Obviously it had the power to keep up with the small and nimble C and D-types, but its size would stop it from navigating Italy’s narrow roads and tight villages. And yet thanks to its aluminium body, the big, black car darted effortlessly though the corners while its menacing presence forced drivers to make way for me as I followed the famous green racing machines. Yet my fondest memory is the reaction it received from the partisan crowd. Due to it being instantly recognisable as a Jaguar – a brand the Italians simply adore – the thousands of spectators that lined the route gave it a huge cheer wherever we went.

Driving an XJR, the Editor follows a D-type through Brescia on the 2003 Mille Miglia Driving an XJR, the Editor follows a D-type through Brescia on the 2003 Mille Miglia But then that’s always been one of the X350’s many strengths. Although many criticise the car for being old-fashioned, the upshot is it couldn’t be confused with anything else. Whereas other luxury saloons of the era are all very similar, the XJ looks singularly like a Jaguar.

Yet the same could be said for all of Jaguar’s models, even the current ones. The latest generation of XJ may be totally different from the X350, yet due to its size, presence and beauty, there’s no way it could be confused with an offering from another marque. The same goes for the new F-TYPE – could you imagine any other company producing such a classically designed two-seater sports car? From our interview with a lead engineer on the F-TYPE programme (p66), it’s clear a lot of people within the company have been waiting a long time for this car. And so there was no way Jaguar was going to produce anything other than a two-seater worthy of the F-TYPE name.

On the face of it, the X350 and F-TYPE have little in common, but when it comes to continuing Jaguar’s tradition for grace, space and pace, they’re kindred spirits..

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