MURRAY CRANE , JAGUAR NZ AMBASSADOR AND FOUNDER OF CRANE BROTHERS TAILORS TRAVELLED TO SPAIN FOR THE INTERNATIONAL LAUNCH OF THE XF SEDAN. HE TELLS DRIVEN ABOUT HIS IMPRESSIONS
Tell us a little bit about the launch.
The launch took place in Spain. I flew to Bilbao and was driven to Circuito Navarro, a designated track for the day. We then overnighted in Pamplona followed by a day driving through the Pyrenees up to Roncalia on the French border. The launch was incredible and run with absolute precision. It was great to speak with Sir Ian Callum about the new car and his motivation and inspiration. For me, as a business owner, it was inspiring to see commerce being conducted on such a great scale.
What was your first impression about the look of the XF?
Impressive, the evolution is strong. Still the same aggressive nose and high haunches but a slightly more angular body. Its sits slightly differently on the road and feels more nimble.
Did you have any preconceptions about it?
It was difficult not to as I was familiar with the current XF as part of my relationship with Jaguar. I was expecting advances in the cockpit technology and wasn’t disappointed.
What was the interior like?
The interior was very good. It felt like quite a leap forward from the current XF in terms of functionality. The technology is dynamic around personalisation of music and maps as well as the functionality around location and security. It’s a very smart car.
The all-new Jaguar XF on track at the Spain launch (left and below left); The new Jaguar XF line-up. Pictures / Supplied
What was it like to drive around the roads?
Once I shook off my jet lag and got used to the left hand drive it was superb. The roads had obviously been specifically selected for their inclines, declines and tight cornering. The 3-litre diesel has torque to burn, meaning the power ratio never really drops or feels like it’s lagging. It’s a consistent surge even when decelerating. The tiptronic gearbox means a true driving experience isn’t compromised like in many modern marques. Plus it’s fast, especially on the straight and on the track with extremely good braking.
How did it handle at speed?
Quick, really quick with a nice rattle on the downshift. Big brakes and really receptive. Traction control is very trustworthy and it’s easy to know the car’s limits. It is always a treat to be able to drive these cars in a controlled track environment and push the odometer and rev counter. Obviously we are in an unmodified vehicle but you really appreciate the racing pedigree.
You are now driving a Jaguar XF in NZ?
Yes I am, a black one [as pictured]. It is really exciting. After driving it in Spain I am confident that it’s the ideal set-up for New Zealand streets and roads.
Anything you’d like to modify/personalise on the XF?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Jaguar factory and speak with their designers so I am quite intimate with what can be done. There are a number of aspects of the cabin that can be modified and the surface finishes, materials and technology can all be adapted. Personally I like my cars to be a little more stealth and black. I’ve gone for a black pack on the new one.
What do you think Kiwis will think about the XF?
I think New Zealanders will love the all new XF. Jaguar has a long tradition of great British, engineering and this car is no exception.