Unveiled in June last year, Jaguar has announced Australian availability for its all-new XJ sedan. The new model is the first to depart from the traditional XJ styling that has stayed with the line from the day it first appeared in the late 1960s.
Starting at $198,800, Australian buyers will have a choice of four engines, from a 3.0 litre six-cylinder diesel to a 375kW supercharged 5.0 litre V8.
For those with maximum comfort on the mind and little time to drive, three of the five specification levels available will also be offered in long-wheelbase form.
Where the outgoing XJ possessed masses of old school charm in its proportions, sheetmetal and interior appointments, its replacement is anything but retro.
Like the XF, Jaguar has taken a more modern path with the new XJ. The old XJ's familiar quad headlamps have been dropped in favour of a pair of sleek, almond-shaped light clusters; the grille is no longer bisected by a chrome upright and the front air inlets are bigger, deeper and more pronounced.
Whereas the outgoing XJ looked taut and toned, its replacement boasts real visual muscle. It's a bulkier shape, but long creases, ridges and scalloped surfaces lean-out its unmistakeably handsome lines.
While it looks larger, the 2010 Jaguar XJ is considerably lighter. Like its predecessor, the new XJ rides on an all-alloy chassis which, for the 2010 model, is made out of 50 percent recycled aluminium.
Jaguar says the lightweight chassis makes it "at least" 136kg lighter than its main competitors.
Weighing in at 1700kg, it's certainly no featherweight, but that still gives it an advantage over some of the big limousine competition from the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Like the XF, the 2010 XJ is powered by a number of petrol V6, V8 and diesel V6 engines. The direct-injected AJ-V8s are the headlining acts in the XJ line-up, and with a 283kW naturally-aspirated, 346kW supercharged and a face-melting 375kW supercharged V8 on offer, it's not hard to see why.
The diesel and petrol V6s are the same as those fitted to the XF, meaning a grunty 202kW/600Nm 3.0 litre twin-turbo diesel and a base 3.0 litre petrol V6 are available for those averse to the more uncouth bellow of a V8.
Jaguar's new six-speed auto (another component 'borrowed' from the XF) is the sole gearbox choice, however Jaguar has packed a number of other mechanical upgrades into the XJ's alloy frame.
Chief among these its its air suspension system and electronically-variable dampers, which promote a soft ride when cruising and a tauter one when the going gets twisty.
Models fitted with the supercharged V8s get an electronically-locking active differential, and the whole ensemble is tweaked via the JaguarDrive Control ITM system.
The Control ITM selector can be placed in either Normal, Dynamic or Winter mode, which then alters the throttle mapping, stability control program, damper valving and (on the force-fed V8s) the differential's locking characteristics.
Interior appointments are just as modern as the 2010 XJ's bodyshell and mechanical package. Those who've experienced the XF will feel at home here, and the cabin is an intriguing blend of the contemporary and the traditional.
Jaguar purists will appreciate the vast swathes of leather and choice of eight different wood trim options, along with the JaguarDrive rotary gear selector and the 12.3-inch LCD screen that replaces the conventional instrument cluster of past Jags.
An eight-inch LCD touch screen occupies much of the centre stack and forms the primary interface for the climate control, mobile phone and satellite navigation systems.
It also allows occupants to adjust the XJ's well-appointed audio system, which incorporated hard disk drive storage, a CD/DVD player, two USB ports, an auxillary input for laptops and an optional 1200W Bowers & Wilkins premium stereo.
Rear-seat passengers can enjoy a pair of headrest-mounted LCD displays that are hooked up to the on-board DVD player, or they can simply sit back, stretch out their legs (long-wheelbase XJs get five more inches of rear legroom) and gaze out through the panoramic glass panel that forms much of the XJ's roof structure.
Note: Interior photos are international left-hand-drive model.
Pricing and Availability
The first Australian customer deliveries of the all-new Jaguar XJ, begin in August 2010.
Recommended Retail Prices (excluding all on-road costs) for the all-new XJ:
|3.0 litre V6 Diesel Premium Luxury||$198,800||$206,800|
|5.0 litre V8 Petrol Premium Luxury||$251,000||$259,000|
|5.0 litre V8 Petrol Portfolio||$274,800|
|5.0 litre V8 Petrol S/C Portfolio (346kW)||$311,000|
|5.0 litre V8 Petrol S/C Supersport (375kW)||$354,800||$367,800|