The most exciting Jaguar XE yet - The mad Project 8!
Now I miss my X-Type. Even though I'm currently driving a Ford Focus ST3, I still count myself as a Jag man. No, I don't wear tweed and a Jaguar tie pin, no I'm not having an affair with my secretary - I just like the cars. I COULD be tempted to a 5.0 Supercharged XJR next time, or maybe an XJL Autobiography with the media centre and massage seats in the back? It depends on how old I end up being when I next change car.
So what do I think of the announcement of the Project 8?
Well, to be honest I've always been a fan of the XE. I had one as a hire car in Spain a couple of years ago. It was only a base spec 163 BHP RWD version, but it was a really nice drive.
Okay, the boot was tiny and it wasn't that fast, but the auto box was slick and it handled really well. It felt light, nimble and SHARP! Okay the back wasn't that roomy, but my kids liked it. The boot was also tiny, only marginally larger than the pop bottle holder you get in the back of a Clio V6. However I DID manage to cram in my luggage, though the kids had to have some bags in the back row with them. Everything taken into account, I enjoyed driving it.
So, why didn't I get an XE when I changed my X-Type? Well, two factors really. Firstly I wanted a petrol and didn't want to go to a car with less power than my previous X-Type which had 230 BHP. I know, it sounds silly, but less BHP makes it seem like a downgrade. The only XE which has more BHP is the XE-S with 380 BHP. However they are still bloody expensive. Plus there's no hatch or estate, plus there's no AWD. I had to give up some things - I appreciate that. However there simply wasn't an XE that made sense. Plus the Focus ST3 is a riot to drive and sounds brilliant, and it makes a reasonable family car if you discount the fact that every prick and his best mate seems to want to race you.
So what about the Project 8? Well, yeah. Now THAT is an XE I can excited about. Bags of power, more torque than you'll ever need, an AWD system, it's only a pity they aren't doing an estate. I mean look at the thing! It's magnificent!
It looks like a freaking touring car, but you can get it with four doors and four seats! Yes, they do a track-focused 'nutter version'. But why would you?
Now that looks like a pretty sumptuous interior right? Looks a nice place to be. Okay, the Jeremy Clarksons among you might want to go for the 'pay a load more to have stuff taken out (yes, I'm that stupid)' version. And that looks pretty tasty too.
Well, I'm probably being a bit facetious. I WOULD like the track version! But my name's not Richard Hammond, so I can't afford to fill a barn with a fleet of interesting and exciting cars. I'd just have to get the multi-use, comfy 4 seat interior version.
However I wouldn't.
What? Why the hell not? I mean I know they're expensive but...
Yes, yes, I'm broke as always, I should work harder at my business or my writing career or something. NO! If I had the money to buy a Project 8, I would buy something else. I don't know what - I don't know how much they'll be. However I would buy something else.
The reason is partly practical and partly annoyance at Jaguar.
Here! This is the quote. You can read it for yourself here:-
Now I've already discussed the track pack and the road-biased version. I want to draw your attention to the second part of the quote.
"Both exclusively available in left hand drive."
Now Jaguar, I am not STUPID!
Trying to make your fancy Jaguar XE Project 8 sound exciting and exotic by telling me it's 'exclusively available in left hand drive' is a cynical marketing ploy!
What you should have put is, "We aren't making many of these babies, we're lazy buggers and we're a business - so we aren't bothering to make a right hand drive version. Tough luck!'
They wouldn't say that, because that's bad marketing. However by not bothering to make a right hand drive version, they are basically sticking two fingers up to UK Jaguar fans and saying 'stuff you!'
No matter HOW you dress it up, having a left hand drive car in the UK is a pain. It makes what would have been a practical usable car - completely stupid! Everywhere you park, you're getting out on the wrong side. Toll booths, parking tickets, WRONG SIDE! Thinking about overtaking on a twisty A road? You'd better ask your passenger if it's safe to pass and hope their judgment is the same as yours.
Yes it's a very exciting car. I'd love one, but for crying out loud Jaguar! No right hand drive? You might as well make the UK version only available in turd brown with a robotic hand in the cockpit that slaps the driver in the face every ten seconds. No matter how nice and sporty and how big an engine is, you've got get a car 'right' for people to want it.
Betraying the UK customer by saying, 'Yeah, sure you can have our new SVR XE special! But only if you'll accept having the steering wheel in a stupid place.' is NOT getting it 'right'.
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