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CHILL OUT — it's the new '08 Jaguar XJ. Jaguar's aim in enhancing their flagship saloon range is simple: to make it even more desirable. To achieve this Jaguar has made
a range of visual changes, incorporated some important technological advances and added additional features on all 2008 model year cars. The result is an even better saloon with enhanced presence which is visually more closely linked to the sporting XK and which provides even greater refinement.

Externally, a more contemporary — and more distinctive — design for the XJ's front includes a new bumper and revised upper and lower mesh grilles as well as a new Jaguar 'Growler' badge that together give the '08 model an unmistakably purposeful appearance as it bears down in your rear-view mirror. As the XJ swishes past, you might just spot the subtle new lip spoiler on the Jaguar's bootlid.

This muscular new 'face' is complemented by side power vents to match those introduced on the new XK, 'squarer' side sills and the neat rear aero spoiler just mentioned. Above the vents, new door mirrors carry integrated indicator lights and the refreshed body styling is set off by upgraded alloy wheels. A 19-inch Carelia wheel is now standard on the Executive models, while all Sovereign models have 19-inch Polaris wheels. The top-of-the-range XJR now comes with aluminium finish power vents and black painted brake callipers.

There are also six new paint colours to choose from for all models: Emerald Fire, Pearl Grey, Crystal Blue, Botanical Green, Vapour Grey and Azure Blue. There are significant improvements, too, to the already renowned interiors, including a new matt-finish American wood trim. The major change is the fitting of new and better shaped seats — redesigned to give more support and superior comfort. Depending on the model, there is now standard or optional 'cooling' in addition to the seat's heating function.

All models now come with a heated front screen and heated front seats as standard, as well as the option of air-cooled seats. Cooling is provided by cabin air being drawn into the cushion and seat back heat exchanger units. The air is then heated — or cooled — and pumped to the top surface via channels formed within the seat. The perforated leather seat covers allow the conditioned air to pass through to the occupant. Rear-seat passengers will be quick to appreciate greater leg and foot room, following revisions to the backs and lower cushions of the front seats.

In addition, all 2008 model year cars feature an upgraded Bluetooth Connectivity system that allows users to connect up to five approved mobile phones to the car's own in-car telephone system. The car will then recognise and store the phonebooks, last number dialled lists and call stacks for every device it is paired with. Other user-friendly tech-nology available includes JaguarVoice, a simple but highly effective voice command function through which many of the car's main features can be controlled.

Adaptive Cruise Control is another useful driver aid and uses microwave radar technology to detect slower cars ahead then adjusts the cruise control speed to maintain a constant distance from the vehicle in front. Advanced safety features such as the Adaptive Restraint Technology System use ultrasonic technology to calculate appropriate airbag deployment and force, based on passenger weight and position. Side-curtain airbags, front seat thorax airbags and energy-absorbent front seat backrests ensure a safe driving experience for all occupants.

Don't forget CATS. Jaguar's Computer Active Technology Suspension
is used to ensure 'purrpussful' body control, refinement and handling. The system constantly monitors the XJ's lightweight suspension and air springs to offer complete comfort when cruising and total control and responsiveness when called for, by automatically lowering and levelling the suspension. The result is awesome high-speed stability and improved aerodynamic efficiency whenever the XJ is called upon to perform.

Jaguar's UK Managing Director, Geoff Cousins, said: "XJ sales results
in 2006 showed a 25 per cent increase versus 2005, and with these latest specification enhancements our customers can benefit from an even better value-for-money proposition.

"The long wheelbase XJ is now available with a 2.7-litre diesel engine, making it an even stronger competitor in the ever-growing chauffeur market, and Business Car magazine readers voted the XJ 'Luxury Car
of the Year' for the second year running."

Enhancements to the XJ product range in the UK simplify the line-up
to four trim levels — Executive, Sovereign, Sport Premium and XJR — all offering customers improved value-for-money.

Importantly, the '08 model year XJ Executive models remain keenly priced; with the 3.0-litre petrol starting from 43,540 and the 2.7 diesel from 45,520. The 4.2-litre naturally-aspirated XJ will be priced from 58,040 and the XJR 4.2 Supercharged V8 starts at 60,150.

Mike Cross, Chief Engineer, Vehicle Integrity said: "Like the new XK, the XJ is engineered to provide a relaxing and refined ride quality, yet
it can deliver highly capable dynamic qualities whenever required.
"The stiff lightweight aluminium structure allows for increased perfor-mance and great agility, particularly in our XJR which is a true perfor-mance car — yet is inherently quiet, refined and comfortable."

First impressions are not only that this latest XJ actually provides a sportier drive, but that its new seats must take some of the credit! They are not only more comfortable with the new 'chiller' feature, but their careful shape and greater support makes them better not only
for long motorway journeys, but particularly for enthusiastic driving.

Up front, their adjustment range is also very good yet it does not compromise the legroom behind, not even in the standard wheelbase version I drove.

The 2,720cc V6 diesel engine is without doubt one of the finest in any car, providing effortless pick-up — thanks to 321lb ft from just 1,900rpm — and hushed high-speed performance allied to an impressive combined cycle fuel consumption of 35mpg. More than that, it's especially difficult to differentiate from a powerful petrol engine — a major reason why it's so popular with Jaguar's customers. As before, refined power is served up with a brilliantly-judged blend of comfort and handling agility.

The visual changes to the front grille and badge are immediately noticeable and the multi-faceted mid-life makeover they 'front' will keep the refreshed XJ topical for a good few years yet — and will,
I feel certain, maintain the model's sales momentum which, as already mentioned, picked up significantly last year. If you haven't yet sam-pled one, then do so now — after you've read MotorBar's full road test report. But be warned, take your chequebook because you may well
be seduced to the point of wanting one of your very own. — Robin Roberts

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Jaguar XJ 2.7 TDVi Executive | 45,542
Maximum speed: 141mph | 0-62mph: 8.2 seconds
Overall test MPG: 35mpg | Power: 204bhp | Torque: 321lb ft

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