Speed, safety and a sleek design mark Jaguar’s latest luxury car

Jaguar salesman Melvin Mori has one caveat about the 2008 XJ: “This car can be driven at many different speeds, so be careful and have fun.”

He is not kidding – the 4.2-liter V8 engine comes standard with 300 hp and leaves other sedans looking woeful as it takes off on the freeway.

Looking to join the new era, Jaguar is finally changing its design, while not deviating from the long body and sleek lines that have made it a standard in the high-class automotive world.

The biggest change is the scoop mouth on the front of the vehicle, bringing in more air to cool the radiator and giving it a fierce appearance. It also has eschewed the bars on the grill for the criss-cross racing mesh to remind us of its heritage.

Side vents have been added to aid in the engine cooling and to add to its new bold style.

Safety and the modern age have not been forgotten with a beefed-up bumper to add rear protection, and the all-aluminum frame has trimmed 300 pounds from the old steel frame, pushing the gas mileage up to 25 mpg on the highway.

The burled walnut dashboard and steering wheel are maintained, but electronic and computer innovations make the drive easier in 2007.

For the speed inclined, it has the auto speed limiter, which disengages the car’s engine if you exceed the posted speed limit.

The headrests can be upgraded to include 6.5-inch screens to display movies played through the vehicle’s audio system.

Perhaps most important in modern-day Hawaii is the electronic parking brake. Located just below the shifter, a simple flip of the switch holds the car still while you wait for the light to change, the traffic to move or the kids in the crosswalk to traverse the street.

To release it one simply pushes the gas and away you go. While we all wish we could drive at the high speeds for which this machine was created, the electronic parking brake is much more Honolulu’s speed these days.

SPECS

Engine: 300 horsepower at 7,000 rpm

Acceleration: 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds

Braking: Ventilated disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake assist

Sound system: Alpine with 140 watts and eight speakers

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