I’ve followed this thread with interest, and would like to chip in
with a few things of my own.
In general, I drive the XJR more slowly than I drove the XJ40 Sovereign.
And again, in general I drove the XJ40 Sovereign more within its
capabilities than I drove the Mini before it. And that Mini was driven
more slowly than the Mini before it. And before that, I didn’t have
My point? I think that everyone tends to calm down as they become
more experienced in a vehicle. A Mini, with its high revving and
gorgeous handling, rewards driving the car at its absolute limit.
And I did, regularly. I used to take them out at night and go rallying
all around Derbyshire (lovely twisty lanes for people who don’t know
the area) between midnight and two in the morning. I modified the
cooling and on the motorway, I’d regularly belt down at 90 or occassionally
stretching to 100. Those figures may not sound much to the Jag list,
but get inside a Mini at those speeds and you will be taught what
the numbers on your speedometer actually -mean-.
The Sovereign was a different beast of course, but still the initial
challenge was there to make it handle ‘nicely’. Nicely by Mini standards,
that is. As a result, some of my early cornering was probably rather
too adventurous for the elegant lady that was J137 FGT. As experience
grew, I cottoned on to this and my driving calmed down a lot. I ended
up driving the XJ40 much as it should be driven - rather stately
and with great concern for quality of ride rather than tearing of
tarmac. But my top speeds on the motorway were often still quite
Next I moved to the XJR. At first, of course, I reverted to my Mini
roots and bustled the thing about as only an R-variant can be. The
acceleration was new too - wow, every time I accelerated I had to
use the full capabilities and turn mirror-based things into so many
specs in the distance.
And then, again, experience grew and I calmed down. Much more quickly
this time - about a month. The XJR has so much power that I will
never realistically run out of it. In those circumstances, there’s
nothing to ‘prove’ against anyone, not even to myself. I know I could
go much faster should I choose, but I get more satisfaction these
days from having made right choice rather than always the fastest
one. So finally the last barrier is broken and my top speed comes
down as well. And, although every day on the motorway I see various
things tear past me which mechanically do not hold a candle to what
I’m in, I’m still happy with that attitude. What do I prove by going
faster than them? Nothing. So what’s the point?
This post is not to classify me as a saint - if I’m really in a rush
the XJR wil be utilised as the designers allowed. But no longer as
a matter of course.