Read Sam Smith’s comments on driving the 2008 Jaguar XJ Vanden Plas.
Wow. Haven’t driven a true old-school Jag – for me, at least, the XK doesn’t count – in years. What an eye-opener. No other luxury car makes you feel as important, makes driving as much of an occasion, or surrounds you with such a dignified atmosphere. Aside from a few chassis niggles – rebound damping is too soft for my tastes, causing a bit of unnecessary floating during bump recovery and high-speed cruising – things are largely perfect. It’s a nice combination of driver’s-car chassis and I’m-old-and-I-deserve-this refinement. Aging interior? Sure; it’s saddled with a hideously outdated and slow touch-screen, not to mention a decidedly late-’90s feel to the controls. And I hate the styling refresh; it makes the car look like someone slapped an Elvis mask on Queen Elizabeth. But by and large, there are a great many luxury brands that could take a lesson from this car. Lexus? What the hell is that? Isn’t that the name of a porn star?