Don't be fooled by the elegant exterior for under that long bonnet is a peach of a supercharged V8. It feels unstoppable once you get it over about 3,000 RPM and despite nigh on 2 tonnes of portly saloon bodywork and an automatic gearbox, it pins you into the seat. I had an Audi S8 before and this is far quicker.
The rest is classic Jaguar. Wood and leather that cossets and sooths, the most comfortable seats I've ever sat in, in or out of a car, a natural driving position, lots of toys (all of which still work - Jaguar have improved) and a level of isolation and refinement that ensures a 600 mile trip passes without fatigue or even a twinge of discomfort. Build quality is stunning, with no squeaks or creaks from anywhere.
This combined with the utterly wicked performance on tap makes this car a great antidote to stress. Oh, and the Harman Kardon hi-fi sounds better than the system in my living room.
Running costs are not too bad. Cane it around town and 15 mpg is about as good as it gets, but on a motorway cruise at 80 it can be persuaded to nudge 30 mpg. Not bad for 370 bhp and such a big car. Insurance was comparable to the S8 and servicing and parts are a lot cheaper. Oh, and Jaguar dealers are fabulous. Nothing is too much trouble, unlike the Audi dealers who looked down their noses at a 1998 car pulling into their forecourt.
But I've saved the best bit until last. I spotted it at an auction in December last year, a mint, 81000 mile, one owner example with a full Jaguar main dealer history, HPI clear and with warranted mileage. That afternoon I was driving this bruiser home that cost someone £52k 6 years ago, and had enough change out of £10k for a good last minute deal to the Med. Despite the fact I'd bought the S8 in similar circumstances, it felt so good it almost seemed illegal. And even being critical, if this car had 20k on the odometer, you wouldn't think it suspicious by the way it drives, sounds and feels.