Blissfully stylish and totally in your face. The all new Jaguar XJ.
Blissfully stylish and totally in your face. The all new Jaguar XJ.
It’s rare that you ever find a car that demands as much attention as the Jaguar XJ. Whether you like the new design of not, it’s the equivalent of a slap in the face each time it drives by.
It grabs the attention of young, old and the alternative, regardless of the automotive allegiance that runs through their blood, if any.
From any angle it’s viewed, the XJ yearns to be as different from its predecessor as possible. The outgoing XJ was very regal and almost conformist, while the new XJ creates a brand new visual niche that is untapped by most other manufacturers.
The front end features enough chrome to last Jaguar a life time. If left to the untrained, it could have turned out a disaster. But on the new XJ, it gives the car an elegant look that screams attention as it approaches in your rear view mirror.
The sleekly sculpted headlights feature LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) that exude a newly found persona on the road. It continues on the bonnet and along the side, where attention to detail is barely missed right through to the rear end.
In a take it or leave it gesture, the rear end breaks from the norm of anything Jaguar have offered their buyers before. The vertically wrapped tail lights are long and clad with LED lights that leave an awesome lighting array in their path at night.
More chrome takes over the rear, in addition to a proudly placed leaping Jaguar, signifying just how far the new XJ has leapt since the aging model it replaces.
Another serve of beauty hits you when you sit inside the cabin. Drivers are immersed in leather and tactful woodgrain that spans the circumference of the front doors and dashboard. Leather detail is etched into every panel of the interior, including the dashboard, which is perfectly stitched and soft to the touch.
Circular air turrets on top of the dashboard lead to an embossed chrome badge that can be customised with anything the driver would like – be it your name, your wife’s name or your dog’s name. Our test car was signed by the new XJ’s designer, Ian Callum.
The next thing that catches your eye at the helm of Jaguar’s new super cruiser is the full colour LCD screen that is used to display the vehicle’s speed, tachometer and vital information. The crystal clear screen features a high refresh rate, so the vehicle’s gauges are always accurate and up to date.
Delving further into the cabin, rear seat passengers are graced with a fair amount of leg and head room. Those wishing for even more space can opt for the Long Wheel Base (LWB) version of the XJ.
A dual sectioned glass roof can be opened as a sunroof in addition to featuring electric blinds that can be opened to give the cabin a brighter ambience. At night, an array of blue neon lights engulfs the cabin, offering peaceful tranquillity for long distance driving.
Everything from the colour of leather to the shade of the veneer can be customised, offering the owner with a multitude of options.
In terms of gadgets, the Jaguar XJ is fairly loaded. While the entry level XJ misses out on a reversing camera, it does receive front and rear parking sensors. The sound system was also a bit of a disappointment, with the level of treble lacking the type of clarity you would expect from a circa $200,000 vehicle.
Luckily, both a reversing camera and 1200W premium Bowers and Wilkins sound system with 20 speakers and two subwoofers can be optioned for diehard audiophiles.
Prices start at $198,800 for the entry level 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged diesel being tested. Prices max out at $367,800 for the top-spec supercharged V8 Supersport model that pumps out 375kW and is capable of dashing from 0-100km/h in a staggering 4.9 seconds.
While the XJ Diesel’s pricing may be entry level, the ride and handling, in addition to the quality of the engine certainly are not.
The 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 diesel produces 200kW and an impressive 600Nm of torque. Considering the XJ’s surprising 1800kg kerb mass, it’s good for a naught-to-one-hundred sprint of 6.4-seconds. In addition to the sporty performance, fuel economy figures of 6.5L/100km are certainly not unheard of or unmatched during my ten day stint behind the wheel.
Steering wheel mounted paddles are available for drivers who feel enthusiastic, as is a sport mode selected by the rising gear lever. The six-speed automatic gearbox shifts so smoothly that it’s difficult to notice gear shifts. Paddle shifting also responds with razor sharp accuracy, lending to the fine-tuned engineering that has been poured into this car.
While the engine may offer supreme responsiveness and agility, the ride and handling are simply breathtaking. No matter what type of road you throw at the new XJ, the subtle suspension handles it with aplomb. Ride comfort is a high priority for Jaguar and they have certainly nailed it in the new XJ.
Not only does the car keep passengers comfortable over any surface, the lack of body roll during cornering simply defies physics. The car feels big and luxurious on the open road, but hunkers down and becomes a sporty cruiser at the drop of a hat.
No suspension mode changes are required for the Jag to corner with intent, you simply point and shoot and it corners like it’s on rails. The aluminium body structure is the reason behind the new XJ’s excellent structural torsional rigidity.
Steering and brake pedal feel are also top-notch. Steering feel is very direct and accurate, while the brakes are responsive to the touch and offer proportional feel right from application through to hard braking.
The revised diesel’s willingness to leap at any given opportunity makes you wonder how it manages to consume such little fuel. It’s testament to the fact clean burning turbocharged diesel engines can and do offer excellent returns on economy while also offering faultless performance characteristics.
The radical styling is certainly a point of discussion and one that I thought may put current Jaguar owners offside. To be sure, I met up with the Jaguar Club of Victoria to see what they thought about the new XJ.
While their commentary was always going to be biased, the resounding opinion was one of approval. They loved the styling, the technology and the way Jaguar has progressed the brand from where it was just several years ago.
They agreed that it still carries the characteristics that embody a true Jaguar vehicle, which is reassuring when you consider how much of a gamble Jaguar made with the styling.
At just under $200,000, the new Jaguar XJ competes directly with the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8. In terms of styling, even blind Freddy could see that it’s infinitely better looking. It pips the 7 Series on performance and features, but is some $10,000 more than the A8.
After spending ten days in Jaguar’s all new flagship, I can honestly say that it is an incredible vehicle and giant step forward for the manufacturer. The drive is involving and can set the pulse racing at the drop of a hat.
If you are after a car in this segment and one of your prerequisites is soulfulness and character, it’s impossible to look beyond the all new Jaguar XJ.
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*Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer and does not include dealer delivery, on-road or statutory charges.