Thursday, March 29, 2012

David Gandy Drives: Jaguar XJ Supersport

GQ032812 Jaguar XJ Supersport (3)The top model reviews the top models

Male supermodel and Car Correspondent David Gandy spends four glorious days with the supercharged, no-pussycat Jaguar XJ Supersport.


So, the Jaguar XJ Supersport: my new daily transport for the next three months. A strange choice, people might think, but I've actually been driving Jaguars since my early twenties. The Gandy family has always had a Jaguar XJ in the garage - until now, that is. The immaculate 1999 XJR that I sourced eight years ago has just been replaced with a Discovery. Weird then that the minute our old Jag goes, I get offered an XJ... Maybe it's just destiny that I will always drive a car with a leaping cat on it somehow.
One can't help but stare at the XJ: it's a fabulous piece of design. I was there in London in July 2009 when Jay Leno unveiled it to the world. The stunned silence of the audience said it all: the design was far removed from XJs of old. When I went to Paris a few months later and was driven around in a convoy of them, the Parisians couldn't have stared any more if Elvis Presley had risen from the Seine singing "Love Me Tender" whilst riding on the back of the Loch Ness Monster - that was the impact the car seemed to have. Ian Callum is a genius designer and one doesn't fully appreciate the brilliance of his work immediately; rather, it grows on you over time and never gets tired. It's almost like re-watching a great movie: there is always something new to notice. With the XJ, the sloping black "C" pillar hides the lengths and bulk of the car, making it more like a large sports coupé. It simply makes rival cars look, well, boring and a little cumbersome - with the exception of the Aston Rapide. This particular Supersport, in black metallic and smoked grey alloys, has a menacing beauty.


GQ032812 Jaguar XJ Supersport (2) by by Louis DoI can't wait to get into the XJ this morning. Maybe it's the novelty value. However, I know if it was a Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series or Lexus LS waiting for me, I'd probably choose the bus to get me around London today: the Jaguar doesn't make you feel like you should moonlight by chauffeuring weddings on the weekend, like they do. Thank the Lord that Jaguar has found someone who can design and build a great interior - or maybe it finally has the funds to not have to use indicator stalks that you'd find in a Ford Fiesta. The XK interior was better, the XF surprisingly good (even though I've never really taken to it) but the XJ really feels as if it's in a different league. The dark wooden oval that outlines the cabin - something I would expect from a classic, half-a-million-pound Riva speedboat - is just beautiful. The soft, subtle brown leathers are something Mulberry would be proud of - although the "virtual" instruments screen is just awful and seems cheap and nasty. More chrome and real dials for me please - what's wrong with "actual" instruments?

Sunday ...

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Photographer: Louis Dowler


Really cool he loves cars and talks about his passions a lot which is refreshing. :-) Gandy is talented but for some reason I always get this feeling he's secretly full of himself maybe that's just my opinion otherwise great article.

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