What is it that makes us pine after the British marque?
Jaguar has done something amazing in the last decade, completely transforming its brand image to become one of the coolest automotive brands in the world. Ask your parents and grandparents about the Jaguar models from their youth, and you will probably hear about the E-Type and XJS, both visually stunning, but would instantly break if you looked at them the wrong way. Old Jaguars were always lookers, but they were very old fashioned, full of heavy wood trim, and built as well as knockoff headphones from the Dollar Store.
Fast forward to today, and Jaguars remain some of the most attractive cars inside and out. The brand image has been completely overhauled thanks to beautiful styling, and even more amazing advertising. Last year, Jaguar aired one of our favorite commercials ever where it claimed villains car of choice is a Jag.
It is this type of advertising that helped turn the company around so fast. When Tata took over Jaguar back in 2008, it had a lot of work to do to get over Jaguar's poor reputation for reliability and out of date technology. The Indian company has worked wonders bringing Jaguar into the 21st century and the new lineup clearly reflects that. The refreshed XF was the first Jaguar model to reflect the company's future as designed by Ian Callum. Callum is Jaguar's head of design who has brought us exquisite new models like the XF and the jaw-dropping F-Type. And in the XE, Jaguar finally has a model that looks poised to compete with the BMW 3 Series.
Its not just Jaguar's sedans that show how far the company has come. In fact, the company has realized that sedans are not the most important segment at the moment. That's why Jaguar has taken its time refreshing the aging flagship XJ sedan, and instead put more emphasis on building an SUV model. Porsche completely turned itself around in the late 1990s with help from the Cayenne, and almost two decades later, Jaguar has finally realized how important the SUV is for its future success. Like the Cayenne, many people questioned if Jaguar could build a good SUV, but those questions have been comprehensively answered with the new F-Pace, one of the best SUVs on the market right now.
So now that we have examined Jaguar's current lineup, can we find the secret ingredient that makes them all so special? Well, we think that Jags are unique for a number of reasons.
Of course, all of the current Jaguar models are based on a RWD architecture, which keeps them sporty and well balanced. They also deliver on driving experience that some manufacturers seem to have forgotten about. Competitors like BMW and Audi seem to be so concerned with making their cars faster, that they ignore making them fun to drive. Just look at the F-Type and its crazy exhaust. Crackling backfires in the exhaust do nothing to make the F-Type faster, but Jaguar included them simply to put a smile on the faces of the driver, the passenger and anyone else in earshot of the beautiful British muscle car.
Ian Callum's design language is one of the best looking in history, and the new Jaguar interiors are both comfortable and functional. Both the driver and passenger can enjoy a lovely exhaust note and a sporty, yet comfortable ride. We think that the secret ingredient is that Jaguar never takes itself too seriously as a luxury manufacturer. Where BMW boasts about its cars 0-60 mph times and impressive lap times in its advertisements, Jaguar will simply tell you how cool its cars are, and let their design and sophistication do the talking. No wonder Jaguar is the fastest growing brand in the US right now.