Jaguar’s luxury saloon puts the driver first
- Long-distance refinement
- Muscular performance
- Agile handling
- Soundtrack from petrol engine
- German rivals offer more up-to-date tech
- Not the most commodious cabin or boot
- Rivals ride better
- Would you rather be the driver or passenger?
- Some interior plastics feel low-rent
The XJ is the pinnacle of Jaguar’s ethos of building cars that offer high performance and comfort in equal measure. It’s a world away from its predecessor, both in terms of appearance, cabin space and the driving experience, yet this is still very much a Jaguar with a coupe-like look.
Like most cars of this size, it’s expensive new, but the Jaguar offers an alternative take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. In the absence of a gadget-laden interior compared with its German rivals, the simpler cabin feels less intimidating, whether you’re in the back or behind the wheel.
An all-aluminium body ensures a low kerb weight, which, combined with a powerful range of engines, means the XJ delivers strong performance and agility with pleasing economy.
The cosseting cabin is a wonderful piece of design too with unique touches over its luxury alternatives. There’s a neat touch-sensitive release for the glovebox and overhead light controls, while the ambient lighting is something that rivals had to catch up on – but have since surpassed.
Rather than facing a slew of buttons covering up the dash or vast swathes of glaring touchscreens, the XJ feels luxurious in a more uncomplicated manner; serving as a place to relax and switch off, rather than one of constant distraction.
There’s a huge amount of leather inside the cabin and it can be specified in a range of colours, although the choice of plastics used on the centre console feel decidedly inexpensive.
Those wanting maximum rear seat space can opt for the long-wheelbase XJ, increasing rear legroom by 121mm over the standard length saloon.
Jaguar XJ engines and gearbox
Buyers get a choice of three supercharged petrol engines and one turbocharged diesel; all are mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and, bar the XJR575, have a top speed of 155mph.
The best seller is the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, offered on the more popular trim levels in the range. Producing 300hp and 700Nm torque, the 0-62mph dash requires 6.2 seconds.
The 3.0-litre V6 serves as the entry-level petrol engine, producing 340hp and 450Nm of torque and achieving the 0-62mph sprint in 5.9 seconds.
There are two versions of the 5.0-litre V8 available, each limited to a specific trim level. The 510hp version produces 625Nm and cuts the 0-62mph time down to 4.9 seconds. This is solely available on the most luxurious, long-wheelbase-only Autobiography model.
The top halo model is the XJR575, with the 5.0-litre V8 producing 575hp and 700Nm of torque. This standard-wheelbase-only model completes the 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 186mph.
Jaguar XJ trim levels
The XJ is available in six trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury, Portfolio, Autobiography, R-Sport and XJR575.
The Autobiography is available in long-wheelbase form only, while the R-Sport and XJR575 are limited to standard-wheelbase.
The Parkers Verdict
The Jaguar XJ is by no means a class leader but there’s something oddly charming about it. By being one of the best in class to drive, it presents something of a dilemma: are you better served sat in the back seats, or by taking the helm up front? It’s a nice problem to have, but perhaps a bigger issue is whether buyers find the lack of up-to-date tech refreshing or disconcerting.
Read the full Parkers Jaguar XJ saloon review to find out if this limo should be considered over its premium rivals
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