중앙데일리

A mean driving machine, with a growl

The engine roar was like music to my ears, now that most vehicles are trying to tune down the engine noise.

Nov 30,2009
Jaguar XF. Provided by the company
“Varoom!!”

That was the first sound I heard when I stepped on the gas. The engine’s roar was like music to my ears, especially in this day and age, when most vehicles are trying to tune down the engine noise.

The engine’s deep growl took me back to the days of high-powered driving machines with ear bursting engines.

The Jaguar XF 3.0D Premium was clearly designed to race down the road like a predator after its prey, rather than offering a soothing comfortable ride. It is for anyone who loves to feel the rush of adrenaline as you speed down the road with the wind in your hair.

According to the company, the vehicle has increased its engine power by 33 percent compared to the 2.7-liter engine in the previous model, while cutting its carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent.

The vehicle is comparable to Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class, BMW’s 5 series and Audi’s A6.

On a recent test drive, the XF zoomed down the road, going from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) in just 7.1 seconds.

It felt very much like being thrust into warp drive like a spaceship from a Star Trek film.

At high speeds the vehicle maintained its stable sense of balance and the steering wheel grip was firm. That made quick adjustments possible even during acceleration, which also contributed to my enjoyment of the overall driving experience.

On the outside, the vehicle looks like a slick animal on the attack. The chrome grill is what gives the vehicle its aggressive look and the gentle curves of its aerodynamic frame make the vehicle look like it can defy gravity.

Unlike the slick and aggressive look on the outside, however, the vehicle’s interior has a soothing appearance that stands somewhere between futuristic design and classic style.

The steering wheel, the navigation system and an air conditioner that flips over when the engine is turned on all have the look of a spaceship from a sci-fi movie.

The most noticeable thing, however, is the gearshift - or rather the seeming lack thereof. When the engine is turned on, a knob emerges from a panel next to the driver’s seat. That knob is the gearshift.

A turn of the knob is all it takes to change gears, which is confusing at first. The act of turning the knob is like adjusting the volume on the radio. It feels very awkward and sort of takes the fun out of shifting gears. Vehicle performance is not affected, however.

Another unique feature of the vehicle is the passenger side glove compartment. It is different from that of any other vehicle I’ve driven. To open the glove compartment, one usually needs to pull a small lever or handle on the outside of the glove box, but in the XF the button is so small and blends so well with the car’s interior that it is like searching for a secret door.

Still, every corner of the vehicle exudes the kind of classic craftsmanship for which the company has come to be known, from the leather seats and the plush carpet to the wooden armrest next to the driver’s seat.

It also has that sense of heaviness that comes from a classic high-end driving machine.

However the biggest problem with the XF is the narrow view from the windshield. As the vehicle is designed in the form of a coupe the view from the front is not as wide as it should be. In addition, the slightly elevated bonnet and dashboard made it that much more difficult for me to see what was in front of me. This was the most difficult to deal with when I was trying to park the car, and elevating the seats didn’t really help that much.

If the XF could improve its vantage point it would be a machine that would definitely be hard for a speed junkie such as myself to resist.


By Lee Ho-jeong [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]




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