When Jaguar was bought over by Tata Motors, I was really in doubt as to how and what would they do to a marque that had so much history and whose cars exude panache with ease.
The XF is the first post-Tata takeover Jaguar that I've driven and I am quite frankly blown away by it. The interior has plenty of luxurious leather but non of the old world charm is lost to the modern electronics that it surrounds. It doesn't have all those fancy i-drives, U-pods or palm book stuff that the younger generation are into and it is all the better for it.
The most sophisticated electronic product in the car would probably be the superb stereo system. Music and driving were meant to go together; especially in a car like the XF.
The thing I miss most about the old jags is the J-Gate gearbox. It was oddly familiar and satisfying to use. I've known many people who hated that configuration and Jaguar obviously has heard them, seeing as that the new gear selector is a simple knob, but I miss that. Really.
Performance wise, the XF is a hidden gem amongst luxury marques. Most people would get a german car or perhaps a Lexus. But not me, I'd head right over to get a Jag. There is plenty of oomph under the hood and it definitely has the refinement of an equivalent Audi or Mercedes or BMW.
The catch here, is that it does not have the requisite price tag nor, thank goodness, the notoriety of some of the customers that drive cars of the above mentioned marques.
In a way, the Jaguar that I knew as a child is dead but then again, I see so much of the good stuff that made the old Jaguar great in the new marque that I'm quite happy that the Indians are showing the Yanks how to build a proper, proper British icon.
It struck me with a twinge sadness when I read that the venerable Land Rover Defender will be stopped/replaced by 2013. A landmark vehicle that has stood unchanged for 61 Years. Thatís even before YOUR father did his NS term. For all Singaporean guys, Iím sure the Defender has touched your life.
The Defender was a tough bugger of a vehicle. Capable of traversing any rough terrain. Be it crawling up a slippery slope or bouncing over portholes, this Landie did it all in its 61 year life time. This is a REAL off road vehicle unlike many pseudo off roaders today. Manual gear box, 4X4 sure footedness and helluva rugged body makes it not just an icon of our time but as a motoring legend in its own right.
I remember the defender as the vehicle that got me everywhere I needed to go during my stint in the army. The steep sandy hills in Australia, the slippery muddy trails in Taiwan and the freezing snow of New Zealand did not stop the defender from doing its job - getting people to where they needed to go.
Although I do not know how many of you out there share my feelings for the defender but I am sure that in the course of your life, you must have seen a defender and known it simply as a Land Rover.
The definitive icon. You have my respect.
Climbs over just about anything
Simple in build thus easy to fix
Climbs over just about anything ONLY if you know how to use it properly
Very spartan interior
Cheap to tax due to small engine. But small engine delivers so so levels of performance only. It can carry 7 ppl but acceleration is acceptable and nowhere near anything to brag about.
Interior is simple and practically laid out. It properly seats 7 ppl, which is good. Most have tiny back seats that can only fit kids.
The exterior design is fresh and innovative. It looks different from the regular MPV. Having to drive the family around doesn't mean you have to drive something boring looking.
Parking is also simpler due to it's small size. When you need to park at difficult spots like a parallel parking at Geylang (My office), it is very easy and effortless.
The sliding doors also prevents kids from slamming the door into the car park walls. Paint chips = heart pain
The BMW 530i is a brute in a black tie suit. It will charm the knickers off the ladies and still fend off a bar fight without ruffling the black tie.
Itís my first experience with a beemer. Itís my first experience with 300 horsepower. Itís my first experience with a rear-wheel drive car. Most importantly, itís my first experience with BMWís famous inline six engine and its 300Nm of torque.
It snarls like a feral bulldog. The sound tickles your chest cavity as you mash the throttle and watch the world hurry by. You feel like youíre simply wafting along but to the rest of the world, youíre a psychopath travelling at 125km/h. (I actually hit speed that without nary a hint from the car except from the speedometer)
It is a phenomenally easy car to go fast in. Well, at least I thought it was easy. It was not until I tried to turn the carís safety devices off and put it int Sport+ mode did I nearly crap my pants. Everything tightened up. Like the carís taken off its jacket and folded up its sleeves; you want a fight? Youíre going to get some.
300bhp and 300Nm of torque is quite a bit of force to put behind a punch, especially when this proverbial punch is aimed squarely at the apex of a corner. The BMW takes the corner out at nearly 100km/h. (Obscure personal reference to a song. =D) The rear progressively attempts to overtake the front. We have a bit of slide but all is good. No one gets hurt, no one dies.
Once the corner is dispatched, I hurriedly turned the system back to Normal. The 5 Series folds down its sleeves and dons the black jacket again. No hassle and no sweat for the beemer though I canít say the same for myself.
It is true. Once youíve tasted perfection, youíd never settle for less. The 530i is well balanced, thoroughly endowed for a romp on open roads and looks absolutely understated.
I want to know how the 2010 5Series performs!
Torque. Sink-into-your-seat levels of torque at 2750rpm!
Smooth and comfortable ride quality