The Jaguar XF is a sophisticated mix of power, comfort and aesthetics, says tarun goswami

CLOSE your eyes and imagine being behind the wheel of a car that goes from zero to 100 kmph in a mere 7.9 seconds. Even better, that it has a top speed of 250 kmph. This, then, is the Jaguar XF — anybody&’s dream car. It really was a lifetime experience for me to drive a Jag along National Highway 2. The speed may have been affected because of road diversions but the punch and power of the two-litre engine could be felt at every opportunity room for acceleration presented itself.
Jaguar represents the upper echelon of the British auto industry, symptomatic of engineering perfection and beauty. Jaguar is a symbol of prestige, pomp and a genuine love for cars. Nawab Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was a connoisseur of Jaguars. I still remember a golden Jaguar with a huge footboard that I would see parked in Palit Street while on my way to St Lawrence High School. Indeed, Jags were popular mod coms among the Rajas and Maharajas.
What&’s interesting is that the company was founded by two motorcycle enthusiasts on 11 September 1922. Sir William Lyons and William Walmsley&’s SS Jaguar with a 2.5-litre  saloon became instantly popular because of  its majestic looks and impeccable performance. Earlier, the duo would manufacture motorcycle sidecars under the name Swallow Sidecar Company. The car they produced was famous for its absolutely noiseless engine and top class shock absorbers.
During World War II, the company was busy making army truck and when the war ended, the company name was changed to Jaguar to avoid any unfavourable connotation of the SS initials. The car became equally famous in Europe and the USA.
With huge headlamps and sloppy back, it could be driven on any terrain because of its power. Bad, potholed and muddy roads were no difficulty.
Till the early 1970s, Jags were seen in Kolkata but their numbers fell after a ban was imposed on imported cars that had to be bought through the state trading company. Jaguar began its second innings after foreign car manufacturers were invited to open their factories in India following economic reforms introduced by then Union finance minister Manmohan Singh.
If the Jaguar XF is a thing to behold from the outside, the interiors are no less brilliant. With plenty of head and leg room and with the airconditioning on, it is a real pleasure to travel in the vehicle. The driver&’s cabin and the instrument panel are so aesthetically designed that one gets the feel of being in the cockpit of an aircraft. At 140 kmph, the car does not show even the slightest nervousness. The steering is so good that manouevrability affords no strain. And the safety features are remarkable — highly sophisticated shock absorbers, thick tubeless tyres and balloons are installed for the safety of passengers. There&’s also a steel cage that comes into play in the event of a side or head-on collision.
If you get a chance to travel in a Jag, never miss it because the care is a sophisticated mix of power, comfort and aesthetics.