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2009 Jaguar XF 3.0 Diesel S Portfolio

Nov 2011 - First Report (17,000 miles)

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2009 Jaguar XF 3.0 Diesel S Portfolio 2009 Jaguar XF 3.0 Diesel S Portfolio 2009 Jaguar XF 3.0 Diesel S Portfolio

I have a very good friend who, when drawing up her list of attributes for the perfect man, was very particular in what was required - of course she ended up falling in love and marrying someone with just a few of the many things on the list. I had a list when looking for a replacement for the Subaru.

Here was my must have list:

  • Driver’s car
  • 4 Wheel drive
  • Estate or at minimum hatchback
  • Sunshine roof
  • Manual
  • Great stereo
  • Must feel special

So my new car is a big, automatic, 2 wheel drive saloon with no sun roof but it does have a truly awesome stereo. I am now the owner of a two year old Liquid Silver Jaguar XF 3ltr Diesel S Portfolio with warm charcoal interior. I can’t tell you how happy I am about this. It’s just fabulous.

How did I end up buying it? You may know I am a card carrying member of the Ian Callum fan club - I admire his designs which, like the creations of all great designers, have that characteristic look that link all their work - as good as an artist’s signature in the corner.

I loved the DB7, lusted over the Vanquish, drooled over the DB9 and went weak kneed when I saw the Vantage (you can see his influence in the design despite what the PR team at Aston Martin say). He moved to Jaguar and when they launched the XF I knew he had worked his magic - it looked stunning; taught, lithe, purposeful and with just a hint of menace. There was the odd Lexus remark about the headlights but it was an instant hit and at last we have a credible British alternative to Audi, BMW and Mercedes. I kept looking and trying to dismiss it as car for me but I just loved it.

Back to my list and a replacement for the Subaru, I looked at Subaru’s Forrester and Legacy, but consider them too expensive, the quality of the interiors is shocking, allied to the reliability history of mine and I was less than keen to buy another.

How about a second-hand Audi A4 or A6 Quattro? I love the quality but they are just so "popular" I wanted something different, something else.

The Mazda CX7 was high on the list, I liked the look of it, thought it would be a good compromise between a "true" 4x4 and a car with 4 wheel-drive. As a fellow DA runs a Mazda 6 and loves it I knew it would be reliable and fun to drive. Like "My name is Earl" I set out with my list to the local Mazda dealer and was greeted with a lukewarm response to my request to look at the CX7. When I mentioned I had a less than perfect Subaru to P/X I was as good as shown the door.

Undeterred I went off to another dealer only to be treated in a similar fashion but they did say if I came back in a hour I could take a look at one. I was looking to spend best part of £29k on their top of the range car and this was the treatment I received - staggering!

Next door to the Mazda dealer was the Jaguar garage so to waste a bit of time I decided to take a look at the new XJ. The two dealers belong to the same group but what a difference in attitude. I was greeted with "would you like to test drive a Jaguar?" They were friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and when I explained about the Subaru P/X I was told it wasn’t a deal breaker. Within 15 minutes I was pulling out into the traffic in a brand new XF 3ltr Diesel S Portfolio worth nearly £47k.

A route had been built in to the satnav that would take in a 40 minute test drive of mixed roads. We’ve all read that you can tell how good a car is within the first mile - well this one was just so special, whisper quiet with a beautifully detailed and very well equipped interior.

The route contained a long sweeping uphill left hander and, as instructed by the man from Jag, I selected the Dynamic Driving mode and squeezed the throttle a little harder. The gearbox shuffled down a cog and the resulting feeling of power and torque pushing the car forward was in stark contrast to the sumptuous surroundings, I couldn’t help but grin.

Within 15 minutes I knew, I just knew, I was smitten. I’d fallen hook, line and sinker, nothing else would do. The final nail in my list’s coffin was with the selecting of sports mode - flicking down two gears using the paddle-shift and nailing the throttle on the uphill slip road onto the motorway, all the clichés you have ever read about big powerful saloons ran through my head, it just leapt forward with utter disdain for the gradient and as I blended out into the traffic I asked my passenger how fast she thought we were going... she was out by 40mph. This car was seriously quick.

On our return the salesman greeted us with a lovely cup of tea and directed me to a previously owned car 14 months old at £33k and if my wife hadn’t have been there I’d have signed on the dotted line there and then. We looked at other older XFs with lesser spec but I knew what I wanted.

I wandered back to the Mazda garage and they begrudgingly got the CX7 out of a dusty lock up under the railway arches and let me take a look with an accompanying "We are too busy to let you have a test drive". I knew I wouldn’t be spending my money with them.

The next month was spent trawling the web looking for the impossible - an XF Portfolio I could afford, no chance of the S model but I knew I could live without the extra grunt or at least I’d talked myself into believing I could. Why did I want the Portfolio spec? It had the Bowers & Wilkins Stereo. I had a brief play on the test drive and it was very impressive. Further research found that What Hi-Fi? had rated it as the best factory-fit in-car system they had ever heard and after the poor performance of the standard Subaru unit I knew I wanted the B&W.

All the cars I saw had big miles or were too expensive. The good ones went quickly, I found one in Racing Green with a sunroof but it was over the budget and went in days. But the same dealer had a Silver ’09 plate with just 17k on the clock, what’s more it was an S model. This car had been on their forecourt for weeks and wasn’t selling, I watched the price move from way over budget to oh so close and thought I’d chance my arm with a phone call to HA Fox in York. Just like the other Jaguar garage it was a real pleasure to deal with them, Chris the salesman was open, honest and came across as very genuine. We haggled over the phone and even agreed a price for the Subaru subject to them seeing it and me seeing the XF.

Two days later, with a highly polished Subaru, I set off for York. As I pulled up onto the forecourt the XF was there and the lyrics from the Springsteen song jumped into my head, "Well there she sits buddy, just gleaming in the sun, out to meet a working man when his day is done" - it looked stunning. My second thought was "what’s wrong with it?"

They took the keys to the Legacy and I went over the XF with a fine toothed comb. Apart from a few stone chips and a scratch in the leather it was perfect. The test drive confirmed my first impression; this was the car for me. The price for the Subaru was agreed, the price on the XF was agreed and a deal was shaken on. Chris agreed to sort the scratch and get the stone chip touched up.

The next week was one of the longest of my life. The night before I collected it took me back to being a kid on Christmas Eve - that feeling of nervous anticipation knowing that tomorrow you were going to get that special present you had wanted for ages.

The hand over was perfect, Chris even came in to do it despite being on holiday as he told me he knew it was very special to me and wanted to see my face when he gave me the keys. As I drove the XF off the forecourt it felt better than any Christmas morning I could remember, even the one when I got a Scalextric set and a new bike.


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