‘The Best Luxury Sedan In The World’ is a tag which sits comfortably with the new Jaguar XJ. Far from being the support act in the category, the new Jaguar XJ takes the challenge right up to BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8 with head-turning looks, abundant technology, a supremely luxurious interior and brilliant driving dynamics.
Priced from $193,800, the Jaguar XJ also challenges the value of the S-Class and 7-Series
The Jaguar XJ joins a show-stopping range which includes the XF and XK - the inescapable conclusion being Jaguar is back to doing what it does best.
Jaguar XJ Overview
When the Jaguar XJ was first previewed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Car Showroom had a private chat with Giles Taylor, its Chief Designer, and he alluded to traditional Jaguar buyers possibly being confronted by its ground-breaking styling. Too edgy for the car park at the golf club perhaps?
Fortunately Giles and the Jaguar team ignored those minor doubts and the result is one of the most beautiful cars we’ve ever seen. This exhilarating luxury sedan reflects the new spirit of Jaguar and continues the company’s bold new direction.
The Jaguar XJ is available in long and short wheelbase configurations, with a choice of petrol or diesel engines, including the range-topping supercharged 5.0-litre V8. Car Showroom tested the $193,800 entry-level short wheelbase (SWB) model, powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 diesel.
Open the doors and the opulence of the Jaguar XJ interior is matched by its remarkable technology. Wherever you look, the new Jaguar XJ more than justifies its price tag.
Jaguar XJ Engine
Our test car was the entry-level ‘Premium Luxury’ SWB Jaguar XJ 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbocharged diesel. With 202kW of power at 4,000 rpm and excellent peak torque of 600Nm from 2000 rpm, it is a supremely quiet, high performance contemporary European diesel.
You can also enjoy the diesel powerplant in long wheelbase form (also in the ‘Premium Luxury’ model grade).
Next-up is a 5.0-litre V8 with 283kW at 6500 rpm and 515Nm at 3500 rpm. This engine is available in long and short wheelbase ‘Premium Luxury’ versions plus the more upmarket ‘Portfolio’ spec (SWB only).
Then there are two versions of the supercharged V8. The ultimate 375kW/625Nm engine is only available in the range-topping ($367,800) LWB ‘Supersport’ variant, however a 346kW/575Nm derivative can be had in SWB. LWB, ‘Premium Luxury’, ‘Portfolio’ or ‘Supersport’
All drive the rear wheels via a six-speed electronic automatic transmission with sequential manual mode.
But back to our Jaguar XJ V6 twin-turbo-diesel test car…
‘Awesome’ is an apt de ￡ó￡?￡ò￡é￡e￡?ion. Combine out-of-this-world refinement and quietness with the instantaneous throttle response as 600Nm is unleashed from only 2,000 rpm and the result certainly got our attention.
The performance of ‘our’ Jaguar XJ certainly didn’t feel like a 2365kgs heavyweight.
Jaguar XJ The Interior
Of the XJ’s interior, Jaguar said: “A sensual fusion of soft leather, warm wood and cool chrome.” Yep, that’s it in a nutshell.
But that doesn’t include the technology – such as the virtual instruments and the Bowers & Wilkins audio with Pro Logic IIx, a 1200W amplifier and touch-screen rear seat control for the DVD system…the list just goes on and on.
And it doesn’t include the detail like the wood veneers which are hand-polished 17 times by craftsmen at Jaguar’s Veneer Manufacturing Centre. Or the gorgeous ‘Drive Selector’ dial which rises when the engine is started and is used to select gears.
At Car Showroom some of this was familiar to us as it’s included in the latest Range Rover Vogue – but that doesn’t dilute its impressiveness.
In short, the new Jaguar XJ presents the best premium luxury sedan interior we’ve experienced.
Jaguar XJ Exterior & Styling
We’ll go out on a limb here – but only slightly – history will judge the new Jaguar XJ as one of the most beautiful automotive designs of all time. Impressively, the visual combination of elegance, sophistication and sheer presence of the Jaguar XJ is matched under the skin by a myriad of technological features and manufacturing ‘smarts’ which again confirm Jaguar has returned to the forefront of the vehicle industry.
You could fill a book with the details - and we don’t have that space - but suffice to say the new Jaguar XJ in the metal is a large luxury sedan that alluringly highlights an elongated teardrop shape which is sleek, edgy and oh-so modern and dynamic. No stone was left unturned – for example the panoramic glass roof not only delivers the light and airy feel which is the hallmark of the cabin, glass was the only way Jaguar’s design team could provide the required curves that are a big part of the overall Jaguar XJ dynamic.
At the front the Jaguar XJ features the hallmark Jaguar honeycomb grille in a contemporary form with the ‘scowling’ headlights and magnificently curved bonnet providing the muscle (all panels are aluminium and Jaguar engineers had to push the boundaries of aluminium forming’ to create the curves, especially for the wheel arches).
The rear is simply magnificent – the Jaguar XJ highlighted by the precision and cleanliness of its lines and those remarkable ‘wrapover’ tail-lights.
And from the side, the Jaguar XJ features its standout coupe-like elongated teardrop look with accentuated curves for the glasshouse.
Jaguar XJ On The Road
We’ll again go out on a limb here. The driving dynamics of the new Jaguar XJ are the best we’ve encountered in a premium luxury sedan.
Refined and poised, the Jaguar XJ responds like a thoroughbred when the road gets twisty. Brilliantly sharp turn-in, superb mid-corner balance and excellent feedback are the hallmarks of top-shelf chassis engineering.
Our only quibbles came at slow speed around town. Firstly the steering had a ‘dead spot’ just off-centre and the high waistline meant reverse parking required judgment.
Jaguar XJ Challenges
The only negative for the Jaguar XJ is its shallow boot.
While the capacity of 510 litres is enough for those taking an extended trip, the depth is quite shallow - a small price to pay for the brilliant and beautiful styling we reckon.
Jaguar XJ Verdict
For good reason, the Jaguar XJ has been the talking point for the automotive world for the last 12 months since its Frankfurt Motor Show preview. Jaw-dropping good looks, a stunning interior and driving dynamics to rival the best of its rivals all add-up to the new Jaguar XJ being an instant world-beater.
In terms of making an impact – wow!!
Jaguar XJ The Competition
We’re right at the very top of the automotive totem pole here and the Jaguar XJ squares off against others with claims to be ‘The World’s Best’ – BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8. If you’re shopping in this segment it’s going to get down to personal tastes and the size of your wallet – but make no mistake, the Jaguar XJ is a match for all of them.
Jaguar XJ Likes:
In our opinion, Jaguar has nailed it – the Germans are ‘toast’.
Jaguar XJ Dislikes:
We had to give the Jaguar XJ back (but fortunately we’re testing a long wheelbase model soon).