Discover a different side to Eva Green
| Will your next taxi be a self-driven Jaguar I-PACE?
| What it takes to break a lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife
| The petrolheads racing in Jaguar’s new all-electric race series
| Up close with the latest special edition of the XE and XF: the 300 SPORT
ROAD TEST switching the
ROAD TEST switching the forest of apartment blocks for the hills that I’m in now, wooded with oak, fir and olive trees. Up here the traffic is as sparse as it was dense down in Palermo and it’s much easier to enjoy the car. You don’t really need Bletchley Park to decode the XE 300 SPORT’s name and understand the sort of car it is. The 300 refers to the 296HP that the 2.0-liter Ingenium gas engine puts out, and Sport refers to the nature of the suspension setup. Simple really. But the interesting thing about this XE is the way that it interprets ‘Sport.’ Given the troubled road surface in Sicily, a lot of cars that have sports suspension would be ill at ease. Some would be just plain terrible. But not the 300 SPORT. The thing is that being sporty doesn’t have to mean being uncomfortable or uncompromising. We have often come to conflate something that is fast with a stiff ride, but while a car that blurs your vision on a bumpy road might feel fast it’s generally not. You want a car to keep its tires in contact with the road as much as possible and on an uneven road that means having plenty of supple travel in the suspension and then good damping to control the springs. This is where the XE 300 SPORT excels. Up in the mountains near Isnello, the sedan is a great companion. Switched into Dynamic mode, the steering is precise, well weighted and fluid in its movements. There is no unruly kickback, no sense of wrestling with the car as it tackles the cambers and contortions of the sinuous Sicilian roads. It is easy to place accurately and the body control is excellent too. The XE 300 SPORT is a car that can actually be enjoyed on imperfect roads. A performance car for the real world. Heading into a series of switchbacks there is enough roll to let you use the car’s mass and get it set up properly for each corner. It’s another trait that I really like in a car, that ability to easily sense how it is balanced and shift the weight around accordingly, perhaps using a bit of brake to load up the nose or a lift of the throttle mid-corner to tighten the line. Understanding and managing that transition of mass “THE XE 300 SPORT CAN BE ENJOYED ON IMPERFECT ROADS: A PERFOR- MANCE CAR FOR THE REAL WORLD” is one of the great joys of driving quickly and smoothly. Again that’s why it’s important to have a car that doesn’t get too pitched around by bumps. There is plenty of opportunity to try out the XE 300 SPORT’s torque vectoring too, as the corners come thick and fast up in the mountains. We’re now on roads that were used for the famous Targa Florio road race between 1906 and 1977 and it is staggering to think of the challenge it must have been to drive flat-out for hour after hour through this ruggedly rich landscape. Several different layouts were used during the Targa’s 61 races but even the smallest (‘Piccolo’) circuit has an astonishing 800+ corners. For reference the Nürburgring’s fearsome Nordschleife only has around 75. After such excitement a coffee and a mid-morning gelato seem in order, so I follow the signs for Isnello’s ‘centro’ and soon I find myself deep in the medievally narrow cobbled streets of the hill town. Washing flutters from balconies above, the ironwork casts artistic shadows on the warm colored walls and the tall buildings frame stunning views of the surrounding mountains, but I notice little of this as I try to concentrate on threading my way through the labyrinth. If it wasn’t for the presence of other cars I’d think it was meant to be a pedestrian zone in here, such are the tight confines of the streets. More than once I’m very grateful for the XE’s option of 360° cameras, as I squeeze into an alcove to let cars pass. When three vehicles come at me from different directions, I think I might be about to win at the gameshow of ‘Cause Havoc in a Hill Town.’ Eventually I emerge unscathed and park up near a small shop where an old gentleman works an ancient stainless steel coffee machine that drips thick black liquid into a tiny cup for me. Perfect. Just a word of warning, by the way, if you like a cappuccino or latte then get your order in early in the day. Italians frown on coffee with milk in it any time after mid-morning and I’ve heard that some places will simply refuse to serve you. Better to get your dairy intake in the form of gelato – the stracciatella really hits the spot. 24 THEJAGUAR
RIGHT XXXXX Powered by espressos, Henry negotiates Isnello’s cobbled alleys, while the sleek XE 300 SPORT adds a dash of color to daily proceedings European model shown. THEJAGUAR 25
JAGUAR MAGAZINE celebrates creativity in all its forms, with exclusive features that inspire sensory excitement, from seductive design to cutting-edge technology.
The latest issue features a range of inspiring people: from Luke Jennings, creator of Villanelle, one of the most interesting television characters in recent times, to Marcus Du Sautoy, who ponders whether artificial intelligence is on the brink of becoming creative. Out on the road, we visit the US to explore the foodie heaven of Portland in a Jaguar I-PACE, take a Jaguar XE to the south of France to get a photographer’s viewpoint of the charming town of Arles, and much more.