For luxury car shoppers, Jaguar typically isn't the first automaker that comes to mind -- but maybe it should be. The British brand has been a roll lately, pushing the envelope with standout styling and performance across the board. Whether you're looking for a powerful sports car, a thrilling roadster or a posh performance sedan, Jaguars have never been more appealing. Here are a few highlights from the company's current portfolio.
F-Type Roadster and Coupe
Without a doubt, the star of this show is the new F-Type 2-seater, offered as either a soft-top roadster or an intimate coupe. Both provide a choice of supercharged V6 or V8 engine, and they also share some of the sexiest styling on the market. To our eye, the coupe is a smidge more attractive, thanks to the extended fastback roof that flows into its distinctive taillights -- but we certainly wouldn't kick the saucy roadster out of our garage. And the best part is that there's a whole lot of substance beneath the skin, particularly when it's powered by the crackling V8 (rated at 495 horsepower in the roadster and 550 hp in the coupe). You've got to feel the V8's astonishing acceleration to believe it, and the untamed noises it pipes out the back are just as enthralling. But even the V6 models are hardly slouches, and every F-Type is blessed with a highly capable sport-tuned suspension that rivals true legends like the Porsche 911.
The midsize XF has been on the market considerably longer than rivals like the current BMW 5 Series and Lexus GS, yet it's got everything a luxury sedan needs to compete. With slinky lines, available all-wheel drive, thoughtful interior flourishes and engine options ranging from a turbocharged 4-cylinder to the same supercharged V8 found in the F-Type, the Jaguar XF is a full-spectrum solution for shoppers in this segment. In our opinion, the sweet spot is the XF Supercharged, which packs a 470-hp version of the supercharged V8 but costs a lot less than the racy XFR and XFR-S. It's hard to go wrong with any XF, though, especially if you like the idea of an exclusive, performance-oriented sedan that's a refreshing departure from the status quo.
Executive-class luxury sedans are fundamentally so good these days that the little things can really make or break a sale. In the case of the full-size Jaguar XJ, one of those things is the car's unique look -- which really sets it apart from the German, Japanese and Korean competition. The XJ looks impossibly long at first blush, even in short-wheelbase form (a long-wheelbase model is also available), with audacious taillights that wouldn't be out of place at Paris Fashion Week. You make a strong first impression in this car, to put it mildly. The XJ has other strengths as well, including that familiar supercharged V8 power and a beautifully constructed interior that feels warmer and more special than the Teutonic norm. It's also exceptionally fun to drive for a big car, particularly if you select the sport-optimized XJR.
With these stalwarts already in the stable and a BMW 3 Series fighter right around the corner, Jaguar is officially on a roll. If you haven't taken these cats seriously in recent years, we think it's time you reconsider.