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Goodwood FoS 2015: Why Jaguar Taking Us For A Ride is a Good Thing.

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Jaguar used to be a very stiff-upper-lip kind of company. Rightly proud of their past, their heritage, but quite often a bit backwards in moving forwards. They would do things a certain way. The Jaguar way.

And it was fine. Jaguars sold pretty well, because they were pretty good. And the “R” models were pretty formidable. But they didn’t exactly have their fingers on the pulse. Jaguars were nice enough cars, but would they have been better if the brand values were stretched a little?

Well, TATA thought so, and on the basis of the Jaguar Land-Rover stand, they’ve proven that they judged what Jaguar should stand for absolutely perfectly.

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For a start, this is the new XE class. The Jaguar Three-series, if you will. This is exactly what I always thought a smaller Jaguar should look like.

It actually looks like a Jaguar I would want to drive. In fact, all Jaguars do. I used to want to drive a Jag because I knew they were good. I never minded the way they looked, but to appreciate their styling you had to have a fondness for Jaguars of old. You had to know a bit of the back story. I mean, the basic outline of the XJ series was broadly unchanged for forty years, and the (good but dogged by its relationship with the plebian Mondeo) was just a scaled down version of that.

Now Jags are much easier to like. There is no longer “a Jaguar Shape” which probably displeases some, but it makes for a far more accessible, less divisive product. And, crucially, if it perhaps varies from old Jag fundamentals, at least it doesn’t slavishly copy somebody else’s success story. There is no longer whiff of The Establishment about them. They can be bought by people with youthful outlooks. And yet Jaguar has managed to hang onto  slightly raffish, caddish reputation. They’ve done well.

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They’ve also realised that Hooliganism Sells. AKA Hoons Buy Cars.

At Goodwood 2015 the colossal Jaguar Land Rover complex is complete with its own mini drift-circuit, all unspoilt blacktop. The perfect place to show potential Jaguar customers just exactly what kind of mischievous exploits you could get up to if you went for the leaping cat.

A team of drivers, who looked like they knew what they were doing, were on hand to do the actual driver. That left the passenger to concentrate on grinning wildly and feeling nauseous. Watch the video for sight and sound of a Jaguar going round and round.

Now I think that’s a pretty effective way to sell Jags.

In this post Top-Gear world, increasingly, burning rubber sells wheels. Nice one Jaguar. Good luck to you.

(All images and video copyright Hooniverse / Chris Haining 2015)

  • Spin on Sunday, win on Monday?

  • Batshitbox

    They’re darned good looking cars, and they seem to perform admirably. Those are two statements usually said about Jaguars. For some reason, though, they just don’t say ‘Jaguar’ to me. Maybe because they’re actually Tatas (heh, looking at attractive ta-tas on the internet!)

    They’re not good looking in an unusual way, though, the way Jaguars of old were. Their design cues come from all the other companies in this market, and not from their heritage or from straight out of the blue. I’m not looking for pepperpot wheels and burled walnut dashboards, but there should be something Jaguar-ish about them, shouldn’t there?

    “Oh, look… 5 spoke rims and calipers painted the color of a prostitute’s knickers. Didn’t see that coming.” Couldn’t they at least paint the caliper British Racing Green? Just to stand out from the crowd?

    There’s also no surprising level of performance or luxury at their price point, which Jaguar used to offer; that’s probably due to a more modern and sustainable business model, though.

    • Isn’t the problem (and my problem) that we’ve decided what Jaguarness was?

      This is the New Jaguarness. I’m cool with that.

    • tonyola

      The problem was that the old Jaguar-ish styling was no longer selling. Sales of the last old-school XJs had fallen off a cliff.

      • nanoop

        I think the former buyers died out in a morw natural fashion: some 20 years ago, the only brand that topped Mercedes in the category age of buyers in Germany was Jaguar. Mercedes made the A-class, freshened their design language, and renewed itself rather successfully. Ford began this process for Jaguar, and Tata seems to follow through, luckily.

      • Batshitbox

        Well, like I said, I’m not looking for pepperpots and burled walnut, but I don’t want to have to look twice to determine if it’s a Jag or a Maserati or an Aston.

    • Maymar

      I’d argue that, to an extent, something like the F-Type can be pretty easily connected to the XK8 before it, and way back to the E-Type, and going the other way, the F-Type at least looks like it belongs in the same family as the XE, XF, and XJ.

      In addition, some of the design elements are slightly feline – the squinting headlights, the slightly exaggerated, ready to pounce hips (although not as pretty as the last XK8), and the grille sort of looks like a big cat’s nose,

      For my sake though, the best testament of how well Jaguar’s current styling language is working is how well the current XJ worked as M’s ride in Skyfall, or how well it it blends into the world of Benedict Cumberbach’s Sherlock (as Mycroft’s transport).

      • Batshitbox

        See, that’s just it. A Jag or any British car should be good looking in a Benedict Cumberbatch kind of way. I mean, the guy looks like he spent his formative years testing soccer balls for how well they bounce off a forehead, but all the lads and ladies swoon over him. That’s the way Jaguars were, if one was in even your peripheral vision you knew there was a Jaguar there; they had a presence these models lack.