The Jaguar promotion in Manchester has really caught the eye. The advertising is everywhere, the embrace of social media intruiging and the range of promotional activities are unusually intelligent for a car company. There will clearly be marketing dissertations written about this in years to come. Afterall, Jag was an aspirational brand for middle England. A real emotional draw and a powerful icon. The cars were grand and imposing, while dudes in the sleeker two door models had a classier edge over the nouveau riche Porsche drivers.
That all rather slipped away from Jaguar. It's always difficult to pinpoint how and why, but when I saw they'd done an estate a few years ago I thought they had lost their way a bit and didn't quite know who they were aiming at.
Now they do. The target market is Audi, Merc and BMW drivers in their 30s and 40s. In so doing they've very much gone for Manchester as the kind of city that will get them to these kind of people. As a previous owner of two of those German marques I suppose I'm a target too.
To this end I test drove an XFR for a weekend. It is a beautiful dangerous beast of a car. The comfort, the gadgets, the ease of the driving experience was tremendous. On the downside, it drinks petrol like a thirsty beast in a desert oasis. That's probably because the model I had was a 5 litre V8 engine that was like a jet on a runway- a very scary, very powerful monster of a car. I could quiet easily have lost my licence as it effortlessly (could have) cruised at about 120 mph (theoretically).
My dilemma on this kind of expensive engineering is that at the moment it's impractical for taking kids around their weekend activities and for the occasional stop start grind into Manchester via Hyde and the A57. But in a moment of midlife madness I dream for this kind of luxury and comfort.