GRAND PRAIRIE - For those of you who don't watch "Mad Men" and are unaware that Don Draper's ad agency is trying to land a car as a client, it's probably not a coincidence that said automobile is a Jaguar, which is in the process of re-launching itself.
Part of this aggressive, and expensive, re-launch campaign of the pricey high-end automobile from Great Britain is luring potential buyers to test-drive their car. This included a recent meet-and-greet in Lone Star Park's parking lot where clients were introduced to the latest line of Jags.
If you ever get a chance to do this with a high-end, super fast car - do it. I come from the school that cars are a necessity and a waste of money, but the chance to drive a really nice one at very high speeds is very enticing.
Jaguar entertained consumers with a brief introduction to their new cars, including this X-KR (which runs about $130,000), and then put their hopeful buyers through a series of driving tests in the cars. The two of the five that mattered were speed and performance.
The first thing you notice on these cars is how a luxury car feels. The new car leather smell, the Darth Vader's bathroom gadgets and toys that surround the driver; there are more buttons to adjust your seat than a computer keyboard. This thing drinks your coffee for you.
Now add the following to your bucket list: "Have retired Indy 500 driver give you a ride in a high performance car, full throttle, on a quarter-mile strip".
Jaguar hired former Indy car drivers Roberto Guerrero and Davy Jones to aid the drivers at this event; Guerrero was in the speed. Watch this 30 second clip:
When I made my turn with Guerrero in the passenger seat, the car hit about 80 m.p.h. I think that's good, and what I try to hit in a school zone. He did 85, or so. This type of test, as a driver, is merely of nerves and trust - do you trust the brakes?
What you quickly learn about a Jaguar's braking system is that it's so sophisticated and "smart" the driver really has to try hard to screw up.
The next test was driving fast through a series of twists, and turns, a la Formula 1. Davy Jones sat with the driver on this portion, and the difference between an amateur and a professional driving is embarrassing. No matter how good of a driver you think you are, you aren't a pro.
In this course I was able to turn my "fast" lap at about 32.75 seconds. With Jones driving, he did it in 29 seconds. His drive was smooth, fast, and on the shortest line possible whereas my lap was fast, abrubt and all over the place. The only thing missing was a bottle of Bud (just a joke).
Unless I win the lottery I don't plan to buy a Jaguar, but I can easily see how people fall in love with high end/fast cars and now it's official: I want one.
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