For years Aston Martin has been the belle of the ball. With everyone literally falling at her feet, she’s never let us down, regardless of how she dresses or what size she is. But James Bond’s number one girl now has a rival.
A visual delight so sensitive to the touch that she will have you smiling from ear to ear. To make matters worse for Aston, this predator of her crown comes from within her own family of British marques.
Jaguar was a marque of distinction for many years. Offering unashamed opulence and style with a regal nod. Rich walnut trim and luxuriously soft cream leather of the XJ made it the car of choice for most country gents looking to air their sophistication and flaunt their wealth.
However the brand took a bit of a knock in the new millennium. Fast looking a little dated, it was a British brand that hadn’t really caught up with the exciting lines of the Italians or the subtle excellence of the german makers and for years it wallowed in the shadow of Aston Martin, loved by a small pocket of die hard fans but unnoticed by its peers.
Fast-forward to today and the almighty force of JLR is dominating not just its homeland, the UK, but also the world. If you head across to Dubai you will witness the herd of Land Rovers cruising the highways and see this dominance in full force.
Whilst Aston Martin has come under scrutiny for it’s build quality and innovation across the road cars, Jaguar has made her move pouncing on the struggling brand and powering past with no sign of stopping.
First the XF in 2008, which replaced the dull and lacklustre S Type, drew the media attention. With a more cutting exterior design and lines which evoked a feeling of raw power, finally Jaguar bared its teeth.
When the 5.0 supercharged version, the XFR, arrived the buzz grew even stronger. Jaguar was no longer the sweet, kind, Sandy from Grease, she was the smoking hot, spray on trouser, bombshell Sandy. The world had chills and they were multiplying.
The standing ovation came when Jaguar announced the F type.
Could this ever be as cool as it’s great grandmother the legendary E type? The answer was yes.
With a top speed of 200mph and a 0-62 of 3.7 she growls her way out of the garage and, whether on the road or track, handles like a racing drivers dream.
The Coupe has a starting price of £49,995 which is probably the point in which Aston becomes less of a desire. Suddenly the British marque we have lusted after for so long looks a little over priced considering the design, engineering and quality of its step sister.
Financing an F Type is achievable for under £550 especially if you are using companies such as ApproveNow. The Aston however sits at almost twice the price and will cost you are far bigger deposit.
This was fine pre 2000 when nothing could touch Aston and the difference between the marques were vast. Today though? How do you qualify the price difference?
Just when you started to sit back on your chairs, Jaguar launched an SUV that seriously changed the game. The F Pace hit the market way before the ink had dried on Aston’s DBX Crossover and ticks all the boxes you could dream of. Jaguar state the 4×4 has the DNA of the F Type and they don’t lie.
From the sharp lines of the big cats chassis to its cutting edge technology it out performs many of the old school favourites including, dare we say it, the Range Rover Sport. F Pace certainly looks the part but she also delivers effortless on road driving.
What might surprise you though are her CO2 emissions and incredible fuel economy, unless of course you are thinking of purchasing the stunning V6 supercharged petrol engine then you may want to increase your fuel budget a little.
Jaguar have thrown everything they know about aerodynamics to achieve this.
Of course, the exterior of the car is important but you are going to spend the majority of your time sitting in the cockpit so how does Jaguar shape up?
Whilst there is still a nod to her heritage, gone is that pipe and slippers feel. Instead Jaguar have focused on maximising space, delivering quality both within the leather they use and the attention to detail in contrast stitching.
The dashboard lights up like a flight deck, offering ergonomic design and simplicity synonymous with the german brands, whilst some how managing to capture the flare and passion delivered by the Italians. In-car technology is, as you would expect, cutting edge.
Heads up display to keep your focus on the road, advanced driving aids to make long commutes and off road detours simple for both the experienced and inexperienced driver and of course, Jaguars advanced InControl multimedia system offering hands free communications when driving, voice recognition and integrated technology for your mobile devices including iPhone and iPod.
So, where does this leave Aston Martin and is there a new cat at the head of the British Car Industry? The simple answer is no. Aston Martin might have a little competition on her hands but let’s not write her off yet.
This is a brand which has really stood the test of time. A brand which enjoys a heritage stretching back over decades. With her heart still very much in racing, we can expect to see some exciting and innovative designs coming out of the marque.
Jaguar is simply a little healthy competition. A kind of sibling rivalry. So let’s sit back and watch these two fight it out, enjoying the future machines to come our way.
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter