Chasing tornados in a $52,000 2016 Jaguar XF is a bit silly. It’d be a fair comment if you called the very concept a bit of a publicity stunt.
However, as an amateur storm chaser documenting the journey, I learned to appreciate its comfort while on the road for five days driving back and forth between five states chasing weather fronts. And, I learned to respect its speed while looking up the business end of a funnel cloud and needing to get out of a tornado’s path as quickly as possible.
The Jaguar XF made its debut for the British automaker in 2016. A slightly smaller and more affordable luxury sedan option from Jag’s preexisting XJ, the XF lacks none of its big sister’s comfort, technology or sophistication.
So, sending an XF through the most rural reaches of Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois is an outside of the ordinary road test for a car more comfortable in the Hamptons or Belgravia.
Still, it’s a natural grand tourer and comfortably seats four. We needed every seat with a camera crew and veteran storm chaser Tim Baker on hand to read the skies and weather service reports in the hope predicting where weather fronts would collide and forge tornado weather.
On the final day of our hunt, we cornered violent skies in northern Illinois. We watched as storm fronts gathered and danced around each other, sending swirling clouds down closer to the earth. Just as the early stages of a funnel cloud formed over our heads and sent us scrambling back to the welcoming confines of the XF, darkness descended — cruelly denying us the chance to spy the tornado we hunted state to state.
The F1 tornado we sought for days finally touched down about 30 miles from where we lost sight of it in the gloom. It tore across the main commercial drag of Pontiac, Illinois – destroying two gas stations and most of a car dealership en route. Fortunately, its arrival after hours meant locals were home in bed. No one was hurt.
To see the Jaguar XF’s storm chasing prowess, you can catch the official video here. There’s also our gallery below documenting the final minutes of the tornado hunt.