2004 Jaguar XJ8/XJR by Marty Padgett (3/17/2003)
A secret British aerospace programme hidden atop four wheels.
It's hard to know where to start, really. When the latest Victoria's Secret catalog comes along for The Wife, should I turn directly to the lingerie section, or should I pace myself by starting with, say, the sportswear or pajama pages? I mean, these are some very pretty girls here — girls this schmo is never going to have a chance to meet, let alone flirt with — and I'd like to feast my eyes while I can. Whenever The Wife winds up with the catalog, it always ends up in the dumpster.
I don't know why, exactly, these thoughts come to mind in the context of my review of the 2003 Jaguar XKR Coupe. Well, actually, maybe I do know why. This car is so dramatically beautiful that just gazing at it reduces me to tears and mumbles of "I'm not worthy." It is sexy; it is athletic; it is powerful. And for us mere mortals, it is every bit as unobtainable, impractical and unrealistic as that little bella donna wearing tanga and underwire on page 21.
For once, a car is aptly, mythically named. Jaguar. Forget that techie-sounding XKR bit for now, and just ponder a moment upon all those primordial connotations of feline grace, agility, strength, ferocity. Now look at that coupe — the coupe, mind you, and not the significantly less beautiful convertible version — and note the slinky sensuality of the hood and front fenders, the coiled sinews of the flanks and the slitted cat's-eyes that serve for side windows. The way the roofline of Jaguar's flagship coupe rears up gently from the trunk to crest at the front windscreen vividly suggests the strong, arched back of a flesh-and-blood jaguar stalking the savannah. A clan of cats in the wild is known as a pride for a reason, I suppose.