I lust after just two modern cars: the Aston Martin D89 and the Jaguar XK Coupe. However, I accept that both vehicles are well outside my budget, and even if I could afford them, I'm not sure I'd spend my money to own either one.
This week, I spent some time with a third car that tugged at my heart strings, the new Jaguar XF. What's really paining me is that owning (or leasing, anyway) this car is not a completely unrealistic goal.
Our friends at Fields Jaguar saw me drooling over the XF when I visited the dealership to do a blog on the new Range Rover a few weeks ago, so they knew they didn't have to do much persuading to see if I'd like to borrow one to evaluate for a little while. And they were smart about it, because not only did they lend me one Jaguar, they sent me two: first, the "base" XF, then, a few days later, the supercharged, 340 horsepower V6 version.
If the four-cylinder Jag is a beautiful, spritely drive, the supercharged one is a masterpiece. Plain and simple, the fastest car I've ever driven. Its acceleration and handling left me downright shaky. Zero to 60 in 5.7 seconds is fast. Insanely fast.
Which is to take nothing away from the base model. Frankly, I was more impressed with the lines and aggressive styling of this car than its ergonomics and performance, which felt only slightly better than my previous all-time favorite car I've owned, a 2008 BMW 328xi coupe. I mean, this was certainly a nicer car through and through, but with an MSRP of a $46,975, I wouldn't call its rear-wheel drive 240 horsepower, 2.0 liter i4 engine a tremendous bargain.
It certainly turned heads, though, and from the outside, it looked as beautiful as my new dream car, the Jaguar XF 3.0.
It's a little hard to describe this car, but I actually, literally, felt like James Bond while driving the British Racing Green four-door coupe. When you fire up the ignition – a red pulsating button that beats like a heart – the air vents automatically retract and a round shifter rises from the console. Unfortunately, this Jag only comes as an automatic, albeit, with paddle shifters. But when you step on the gas, you immediately cease caring what kind of transmission you're commanding.
The acceleration on this beast is nothing short of jaw-dropping. It throws you back into the seat, its firm European suspension allowing you to somehow feel the road while also dampening the bumps. The inside feels like like a supple baseball glove, with a luxuriously carpeted roof and warm wood throughout. The level of luxury in this model could not be higher.
Keep in mind that Jaguar is no longer owned by Ford; like Range Rover, it's owned by India's Tata Motors. But this car remains all British, and its new stewards have improved build quality; this car feels so solidly constructed with quality throughout.
I'm a stickler for ergonomics, and I didn't adore the XF's instrumentation layout, but that's really my only minor gripe. I feel like the dash is a little minimized, while the touch screen is a bit cluttered.
And, I guess, the car is extremely long. Even though it doesn't feel gigantic while driving it, it barely fits in my garage.
But these are the smallest of nitpicks. To think that this $50,000 car also comes in an AWD version (for $53,000), gets 28 mpg on the highway, and is a visual masterpiece – well, it's no wonder I'm swooning for the Jaguar XF. I cannot even imagine what the 470 and 510 horsepower variants drive like; it's probably for the best that I don't.
Of course, my wife points out that owning a Jaguar is rather pretentious and ostentatious, and she's probably right. It depends on whether you take the "life's too short not to drive a beautiful car" philosophy ... or the "point A to point B" one.
You can tell by now where I stand on this.
Let's just say I was sad to return the XF today. So was my 4-year-old daughter, who mostly likes the angry cat emblem on the humungous grill.
Time will tell whether I've got the guts – and the checking account – to pull the trigger on my new dream car. Not so secretly, I'm hoping I will.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published Aug. 27, 2014
Back in June, I wrote about the five summer kids trips I couldn't wait to take. Well, summer got busy, and despite my best intentions, I only made it to one of my top five suggestions. But that's not to say I was a deadbeat dad this season. My almost-6-year-old and I had lots of fun this summer, and in fact, we found a few other places to visit as the calendar inched closer to the return of school. All three were just within an hour from home.
Published Aug. 19, 2014
I recently interviewed a former boss, a courageous woman who once hired me as an intern. She's now affiliated with the Milwaukee Masterpiece, a high-end car show. Meet Bev Jurkowski, my mentor, and the woman crazy enough to ask me to be a "celebrity judge" this weekend at the show.
Published Aug. 19, 2014
Chicago native Molly Fay didn't expect to host a talk show. But the former investigative journalist, mother of three and self-described introvert, found herself doing just that eight years ago when WTMJ-4 launched "The Morning Blend," and she hasn't looked back. We caught up with Fay over coffee last week to discuss where she's been and where she's going. And why every person, even if their job seems mundane, has a story to tell.
Published Aug. 13, 2014
I quite enjoyed the "Garlicmeister" last time, but I'm pretty sure I'm now partial to their $9 "Baconmeister" meal. With 1/3 pound of Angus beef, topped with bourbon bacon, onion, lettuce, tomato and cheese (I opted for cheddar), it's the brioche bun that makes the difference to me. It comes with homemade chips or fries and a drink.
Published Aug. 12, 2014
I could pretty much eat falafel every day of my life and never get tired of it. The fried chickpea dish is close to the perfect vegetarian dish, and whether you claim it's Israeli or Arabic, it's one meal that everyone in the Middle East can agree is great.
Published Aug. 6, 2014
Last weekend, I talked my wife into joining me on my adventure - we hadn't visited Door County together since we first started dating in 2002. It turns out that showing off old favorites, discovering new memories and cultivating another Door County fan is a wonderful, relaxing way to experience this magical place. After all, even as a entirely different kind of trip, Door County remains my "happy place." Scoring points with the wife makes it even happier.
Published Aug. 5, 2014
This time around, Spacehog returns to Milwaukee in a larger venue, joining Everclear, Soul Asylum and Eve 6 in the Summerland Tour at State Fair Thursday night night. It's easy to call it a `90s band reunion - and it may be - but listen to Spacehog play, and then ask yourself if this is a band just cashing a paycheck. Pretty sure you'll come to the same conclusion I did. We caught up with Spacehog drummer Jonny Cragg from Denver, as his tour moves to the Midwest. He talked about life on the road and what's next for a band that did so much more in its four albums that just what you heard on the radio and saw on MTV.
Published July 22, 2014
It's easy to complain about highway construction in Milwaukee. After all, it's pretty much a constant. When one project finishes, another begins ... if we're lucky. More often, it seems like every interchange or stretch of freeway is being worked on all at once.
Published July 9, 2014
Milwaukee's homegrown sausage chain, The Dogg Haus, has reached an area development agreement with Minneapolis-based Freestyle Enterprises, LLC, to expand into the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.
Published July 8, 2014
I can't believe it's true, but the iconic Gobbler in Johnson Creek is coming back. On May 22, Daniel A. Manesis, of Manesis & Associates of West Allis purchased the long vacant restaurant, that last was, as I recall, a barbecue place and served one of the worst meals I ever had in a restaurant.