The Jaguar XF S looks like it has been styled by computer rather than emotion


I spent yesterday afternoon with the author, Hunter Davies. HD has ghosted many autobiographies – Wayne Rooney, John Prescott, Gazza and the only authorised biography of the Beatles.

The book is still in print today and some of the money from that 1968 book was used to buy a £5,000 house in Highgate and a car, a Jaguar.

Back in the sixties and seventies, a Jaguar was the height of middle class aspiration. Instantly recognisable, the distinction shape was very much part of the attraction.

So the fact HD couldn’t tell what car I’d parked outside his house says buckets about car styling these days. He wasn’t sure if it was a Mondeo, a Hyundai or a VW.

The Xf is a pretty car but it has slipped into that wishy-washy world of rather faceless machines, styled by computer aerodynamic rather than emotion…

The gaping gob front grille of modern cars deserves some bite…


Who was it that started the wide bonnet grille thing? I think originally it was a ‘nose’ that belonged to Aston Martin.

So you can imagine my absolute horror when Ford decided to copy it – across their entire range. Nightmare scenario.

Since then everybody has been at it. Head on, I’ve confused a Mondeo for a Vantage on more than one occasion.

The XF has the best shark-eyed headlights I’ve ever seen. Yet Jaguar too has succumbed to the gaping gob.

I’m amazed some enterprising accessory maker hasn’t come up with a set of teeth-like decals to really give a bonnet some bite…

Diesel bonkers – what about the Jaguar XF with a big petrol engine?


Let’s be honest, not that many buyers will opt for the petrol XF. We’ve all gone diesel bonkers, despite the harm it is doing to our environment and paying more to fill the tank.

And that’s a terrible shame because with both 335bhp and 375bhp versions to choose from, this is one Jaguar that stuffs the best of BMW for driving dynamics in every department.

I’ve only driven the car a dozen miles but I can’t wait to find an excuse to climb in again. Not bad considering I have a 911 and a Harley-Davidson squeezed on the drive too.

There’s going to be a storming SVR model along soon with 550bhp on tap but I think our 375bhp test car has the balance just right. It’s an absolute belter of a car and the best Jaguar in years – including the F-Type.

Friday – The Startling Truth


Last night I travelled to Salisbury to interview the wonderfully charismatic scientist, Dame Wendy Hall.  Her team invented an internet system that pre-dated the web and we sat in her garden chatting until dusk. Waving goodbye, I squeezed past her Jaguar XF and started up the 2008.

As I looked back over my shoulder, I was startled to discover the roof ‘wave’ decoration cut into the headlining was illuminated brightly by LEDs in the dark! It’s quite the most bizarre design feature I’ve encountered in any car for years. Peugeot would call it a unique selling point but I would have preferred that part of my £17,245 to have been spent on a sat nav system instead.

Equally as startling but in a rather more appealing way was the fuel economy I achieved driving back from Salisbury. Car manufacturers make claims about fuel consumption that are impossible to match but without even trying I managed a quite incredible 68.8mpg!

This figure, of course, has now given me the incentive to go for my highest mpg ever – the magic 70mpg! I have driven on several fuel economy events in the past and been pleased with 50mpg but the 2008’s consumption was in normal conditions.

Which means I didn’t have to push the door mirrors in and take off the windscreen wipers to improve aerodynamics – or remove the seats to reduce weight!