Grown into its pensioner years gracefully, eh?
When carmakers celebrate a model milestone, we often get taken aback by just how long it’s been around. That’s certainly how we felt when the Volkswagen Golf turned 40 back in 2014 for example, and the Polo the same age the following year.
But Jaguar is celebrating half a century of the XJ. And you know what? We believe them entirely.
In the last 50 years, the Jaguar XJ has been the preferred limousine for business leaders, celebrities, heads of state, and royalty. And to celebrate that colourful history, the Coventry marque is rolling out the XJ50, a limited-run celebration model aimed to highlight the five wonderful decades it’s graced our roads.
“Spanning half a century, the Jaguar XJ remains true to its heritage with a wonderful balance of beautiful design, intelligent performance, and indulgent luxury that ensures it stands out from the crowd. This is a car worth celebrating, and the XJ50 pays homage to a giant within the Jaguar brand that we believe is one of the world’s most stylish sporting saloons.” — Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar
The XJ story began in 1968 with the XJ Series 1, though the XJ nameplate has gotten far more innovative since then. It was reimagined in 2003 by opting for an aluminium monocoque construction for the first time, before the current model arrived in 2009. It’s the latest model, fresh from a facelift, that serves as the basis for the XJ50 celebration model, which adds a few more niceties to make it feel that much more special.
The XJ50 will be available in both standard and long-wheelbase variants, though they both use the 3.0-litre, 202kW/700Nm turbodiesel mill that we think is a gem. However, you’ll find that XJ50’s use Autobiography-spec bumpers front and rear, and have their front grilles finished in black rather than chrome. There’s unique badging to denote the XJ50 on the fender vents and on the rump, too.
The cabin of the XJ50 hasn’t been left untouched though. You’ll find soft-grain diamond-quilter leather seats, replete with Jaguar ‘Leaper’ embossed in the headrests, as well as a unique ‘XJ50’ badge embossed on the centre armrest. You’ll also note unique XJ50 tread-plates on all the doors, illuminated at that, as well as anodised gearshift paddles behind the steering wheel and metallic pedals below.
To us, the Jaguar XJ is perhaps the best big limo to drive, feeling light and agile on its feet thanks to its aluminium-intensive construction, rigid chassis, and expertly-tuned suspension and steering. Sure it’s not as spacious as an Audi A8 or as plush as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but the XJ has a place in the world, and deserves a place in your garage too.