Once the seed of automotive change is sowed in the fertile ground of my imagination, there is just no holding back.
Fear not though, dear reader, lest you be concerned I have reduced the fleet size by two – I have simply traded one for a another. But before I spill the beans on the latest acquisition, I do need to set the scene.
A couple of weeks ago I went to test drive a Mazda RX-8. Consistent with my new policy of wanting to own interesting / iconic / unique etc. cars, I thought this would be fun and also a more comfortable way of effecting my weekly commute.
Fabulous car. Superb handling, quick, rev-tastic rotary engine spinning up to 9,250 rpm, well made, very comfortable and surprisingly spacious. Wacky rear suicide doors and a fully loaded spec meant it was very good value. Big Mike accompanied me on the test drive and we popped in to see Panther on our way – wanting to play on the lanes of the Lambourn Downs – purely in the interests of seeing what it could do you understand.
We were impressed. Clearly so was Mrs Panther as we received a text not 5 hours later confirming she had been down to the same Mazda garage and bought one! Panther himself suggested that next time I take a car for a test drive I don’t include their house on the route. (Mental note to self: test drive Porshe next time 😉
Anyway, what of my interest in the RX-8? Well…. still keen, but…. and it’s quite a big but. My other choice was a Jaguar XK-8. Nice coupe, good looking, comfy, quite quick, although a bit older. And I needed to drive one to be sure before I put my money on the Mazda.
I first drove a standard XK. Oh dear. What let down. Slow, stodgy, dull witted handling. A real disappointment and clearly not for me. The salesman said that I wanted something a with a bit more ‘go’ and that I should look at an XKR… but the only one he had in stock had a black interior – which is a no go for me too.
But they did have an XJR. Pacific Blue, Champagne leather and with a fully stamped up main dealer service history. And it is quick. 370 BHP. 390 lbft of torque. 5.3 seconds 0-60mph. Faster than my 911…..
And it is mine. Deal done, pick it up later this week.
Sorry to see the MINI go, but overall whilst I enjoyed it, it was too bouncy for my commute, where I would prefer something sporting, but more comfortable. Gratuituous pic below: