Jaguar the cat without 9 lives

Whilst the Jaguar car company was going through its darkest days, there was one fact that we could all cling onto in the history of the once proud 89 year old Coventry based car maker that was founded by Sir William Lyons. The fact was that out of all the thousands of BMW 5 series cars that were sold in the UK, more than 80% had four cylinder diesel engines beneath their bonnets.

It speaks volumes about the mismanagement, lost opportunities and lack of both funds and gumption at Jaguar hasn’t bothered to offer the choice of a four cylinder engine in neither the XF, nor its S type predecessor. The mastodons at Fords Michigan plant have poured squillions into rejuvenated production, fancy marketing campaigns and racing in and out of F1, but the product spectacularly failed to deliver.

Making cars that sell and make money isn’t rocket science, ask the public what they want, make it efficient, reliable, attractive and a market it at a good price and hey presto, customers will come flocking and cars will sell. Now under Indian ownership, Jaguar have finally promoted and recruited people who have these principles.

Their latest car, the XF four cylinder diesel is the new trees first fruit and with this vehicle, Jaguar are hoping that finally the telephones in their fleet sales dept. can be reconnected and a considerable amount of metal will shift from the forecourts. So will the public and the company drivers turn up for this? Possibly. Ian Callum’s classic XF design is loved by many, except for the grille, that only a mother could love.

News is that a wider and altogether more attractive grille, to go with the higher arches over the headlamps. The new bonnet can only be described as curvaceous, the lower grilles benefit from a wave effect going on and there are side vents in the wings ala Aston Martin. It looks great, but unfortunately, like its predecessor, seems to be allergic to any other colours bar black and white.

If you are feeling rebellious and want a shiny red model, be prepared for your wallet to lose £650, have the audacity to request a ‘special’, a different black or a nasty blue, and you will instantly be relieved of £1300. The first thing that springs to mind here is that at least Dick Turpin wore a mask while robbing you.

The interior of the XF was always a classy affair, and this too has had improvements, get rid of the daft bits such as the electronic glove box is a big plus. Callum has previously admitted that the silver switches didn’t sit well on the silver fascia either, so that has been improved. This car is a good first effort from the new team at Jaguar, but its ultimate success, or failure, depends on one sector only, the motorist.