2005 Jaguar Super V8 LWB Review


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THE AUTO PAGE By
JOHN HEILIG

SEE ALSO: New Car Buyer's Guide for Jaguar

 

Jaguar Super V8 LWB SPECIFICATIONS

MODEL: Jaguar Super V8 LWB ENGINE: : 4.2-liter supercharged V8 HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: : 390 hp @ 6,100 rpm/399 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with sport and normal modes WHEELBASE 124.4 in. LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT: 205.3 x 76.5 x 57.3 in. TIRES: 255/40ZR19 CARGO: 16.4 cu. ft. ECONOMY: 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway/22.3 mpg test PRICE: $91,395 (includes $665 transportation and handling fee)

It's not really fair to say that the Jaguar Super V8 is a great car, because a car that's priced at $91,395 SHOULD be a great car. But I felt that during the week we drove the Jag, and covered more than 1,600 miles, we gave it just about every test we could give a car outside of the race track, and it passed with flying colours.

We used the Jaguar Super V8 in the Seattle, Washington, area. We drove it in the city, on ferries, and to Mt. Ranier, Mt. St. Helens, Olympic NP, North Cascades NP, and everywhere we could get a car.

We discovered, much to our surprise, that Seattle is much like San Francisco, in that the city has some big hills right in the center of town. We'd turn a corner and face what looked like a wall in front of us. All we had to do was kick the accelerator and we had power to conquer anything the city planners could put in front of us.

The power was even more useful driving in the wilderness. There the roads are often two-lane with short passing zones. So when we wanted to pass another vehicle, all we had to do was turn left, floor the accelerator, hear that supercharger kick in, and turn right after we passed. I would suggest NOT looking at the speedometer right then. Wait a while, because you'll discover you're in triple digits much faster than you had expected. The engine is basically quiet, except under full acceleration. Even then, it's the supercharger whine that dominates.

The 4.2-liter V8 engine is rated at 390 horsepower, 96 more than the unsupercharged version. We've driven that one as well and have no complaints about lack of power. It's just that with the supercharger, there's so much power available you can do more with the car.

Our tester had adaptive cruise control, which will maintain a set spacing between your car and any car in front. So if you're going 60 mph and the car in front of you slows, your car will also slow. It took me a while to realize the reason the car was slowing was not because cruise control was off, it was because cruise control was on.

Ride quality was Jaguar excellent. By that I mean on the Interstates the ride was as smooth as butter. When the roads started to twist, or when we were trying to negotiate tight city streets, the ride was flat and secure. There was no lean ever, at least during the turns we took. Seats were leather (of course), and had excellent side support. This made some of our longer rides extremely comfortable. On long drive days we didn't' realize how tired we were until we returned to our hotel.

The rear seats offer excellent legroom. The extended wheelbase (5.0 inches) all goes into rear legroom, making the Super V8 a limousine. Adding to the limo feel are fold-down wood tables that can be used for eating or writing, cupholders galore, and a power rear seat that allows the passengers back there to customize their ride to some extent. There are screens for the rear DVD entertainment system fitted into the rear of the front seat headrests. Both front and rear seats are heated, as is the steering wheel, but we didn't use these in summer driving.

The four-zone air conditioning was excellent. We used it primarily in the front, of course, but there were some hot humid days we were insulated from because of our cocoon of leather and wood. Our tester also had a 320 watt Alpine AM/FM/7CD audio system that gave us excellent sound. Our tester also had a DVD navigation system that we used one time when we were lost. I THOUGHT I knew where to go, but when we noticed the Space Needle was far to our rear, we knew we were lost. I pulled into a parking lot, checked the map on the nav system with a paper map, and figured our way back to where we wanted to go. If we had an address for our destination, we could have input that and had the nav system direct us there, but we didn't have the address.

We averaged 22.3 mpg in more than 1,600 miles of driving. I thought that was excellent, even if we did do significant Interstate driving. We also stretched the envelope of the speed limit several times, and were mire in traffic caused by the Blue Angels and a hydroplane race, so that number is excellent.

Sure, Jaguars are expensive cars. But the quality is there and the performance and essential Jaguar style are also there, making the Super V8 one heck of a car.

2005 The Auto Page Syndicate

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