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Cat Scratch

Cat Scratch


London's calling with the sultry, tech-loving 2009 Jaguar XF.

Every car lover knows a Jaguar at first glance. And that's the problem. For too long, Jaguar stuck with quaint British stereotypes like leather and wood and high maintenance. And while that worked for queens worldwide for a very long time, the Lexus revolution pretty much put a stake in the heart of old luxury and painted the Jag into a corner.

With the 2009 XF, Jaguar's cutting the cord to the old and embracing a new style that's as runway-ready as anything from Paris or Milan. The sizzling new XF is a tight outfit that shows off stunning curves, a bodacious front end, and the hint of a tattoo just above its rear end. Stare down its lines; the XF is a thing of edgy beauty, with a bulging hood, raked glass, and flaring, voluptuous hips. Its low profile and toned stance -- as well as the snarling-cat badge etched into the trunk -- stick in your brain as it whips past. If there's a hotter body to come out of England, it could only be rugby god Ben Cohen, but we're not totally convinced even he could stand up against the XF.

Inside, the cabin caters to old-school fans and iPhone addicts alike. The leather's double-stitched (for durability, we think), the hardwood's perfectly polished, and the carpet is as plush as anything the queen sets foot on. It's the perfect jewel box to show off the XF's newfangled, James Bond touches like the light-pulsing start/stop button, a gear-selector dial that rises from the center console, and ample connections -- both Bluetooth and wired -- for music players, cell phones, and data-storage devices.

On the road, the XF is a cat hunting prey. During a recent test drive, the XF tore up the twisty blacktop just north of the Mexican border. A supercharged 420-horsepower V-8 engine shot the XF off the line (definitely skip the standard 300-horsepower V-8; the minimal improvement in fuel economy is hardly worth the performance penalty). The crisp handling and optional 20-inch tires kept the sedan planted during high-speed cornering, and when we were ready to throttle back, the XF glided down the freeway with a ride fit for royalty.

Jaguar's now a part of India's Tata Motors, which still makes us giggle a little. But there's nothing funny about the XF, or the 500-horsepower XF-R coming next year. Look out, Lexus!

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Zach Taylor