JAGUAR XJ REVIEW
Price: $198,800 (plus on-road costs)
After so many years of a retro ‘classic-Jaguar’ skin, the new XJ comes with fresh modern looks matched to thoroughly modern underpinnings and a sophisticated diesel drivetrain.
With a tantalising luxurious interior in the best traditions of British luxury, the extroverted new XJ is impossible to ignore.
- Quality: Quality leather on almost everything you touch, and lustrous wood and metal highlights look incredible at first glance.
Closer inspection of our test car however revealed mismatched stitching on the front door trims, and the famed ‘Ian Callum’ ingot in the dash centre had become unglued.
- Comfort: The XJ’s sumptuous broad seats offer lounge-like seating. Headroom is fine, but clearing the low door-frames is tight. For both width and legroom even the short wheelbase model is generous.
- Equipment: Dual-zone climate control, touchscreen navigation, keyless start, bi-xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof, 14-speaker stereo with CD player, MP3 and WMA compatibility and internal hard drive, 19-inch alloy wheels, auto lights, wipers and dimming mirrors, ‘phosphor blue’ interior lighting and electrically adjustable heated steering wheel.
- Storage: Boot space measures 520 litres (rear seats are fixed in place). The glovebox and centre console provide handy storage with additional smaller storage slots available.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: As an entry-level engine the 3.0 litre twin-turbo diesel is a great place to start. From a quiet idle, through to a hushed but meaty sounding top-end, the XJ offers mountainous torque with just a dab of the throttle.
- Refinement: Perhaps showing its age, the six-speed ZF automatic transmission can stutter a little between first and second gear, but otherwise gearshifts are seamless and perfectly matched to the drivers’ intent. Noise is well suppressed at all times.
- Suspension: The XJ’s ride is simply superb. Unequal length wishbone front end and independent multi-link rear suspension combines with adaptive dampers for a serenely comfortable ride and level cornering.
Selecting dynamic mode firms the ride as well as altering engine-mapping and gearshift points.
- Braking: Disc brakes are ventilated at both ends with 355mm front disc gripped by aluminium twin-piston calipers and 326mm rear rotors. Braking performance is strong and smooth.
- ANCAP rating: Not tested
- Safety features: Six airbags, stability and traction control, EBD, brake assist, lap/sash seat belts and adjustable head restraints in all seats, Front pretensioning belts with load limiters.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: Vehicle warranty is for three years or 100,000km. Paintwork is covered for three years with unlimited kilometres and corrosion warranty extends to six years.
- Service costs: (Check with your Jaguar dealer before purchase.)
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- BMW 730d ($198,800) – More staid in appearance but every bit as capable on the road. Not as exquisite inside but well equipped and luxurious; certainly a more low-key option.
- Mercedes-Benz S350 CDI BlueTec ($213,428) – Traditional Benz through-and-through. The S350 may carry a price-premium but compensates with added equipment. Power is down, but torque is up over the Jaguar and the S350 CDI is ever so slightly more refined.
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The new XJ announces its arrival with unabashed bold looks. The drive is rewarding - the XJ can really move when asked the question - and quite astonishingly and serenely refined.
Rich interior fittings speak of old world luxury but with plenty of cutting-edge highlights. Sadly a few small glitches in our test car made it less compelling than a BMW or Benz, however they are only minor gripes.
It’s luxury buying at a premium price, but the XJ Diesel is certainly worthy of consideration... especially if you want something a little out of the ordinary.