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Jaguar XJ 3.0 Diesel Portfolio

Click to view picture galleryThe long-awaited first drive of the
  all-new XJ Saloon range arrived at
  Jaguar’s Goodwood gathering for
  the media. With 3.0-litre V6 diesel
  and 5.0-litre V8 petrol engines and
  priced from 53,900 to 91,000,
  the British-built executive four-door
  saloon will go head-to-head against
  the German premium brands —
  Audi
A8, BMW 7 Series and the
  Mercedes-Benz S-Class...”


BUT THE MASERATI Quattroporte, Porsche Panamera and Bentley Continental will also be competitors for this new Jaguar sports saloon. With its distinctive aluminium body, it is already attracting around 60% of sales from conquest customers according to Jaguar, young wealthy types.

The flagship saloon is already 'on-duty' in Downing Street where I suspect it will be the long wheelbase versions that will fit best. The extra rear legroom would be welcome even though the rear headroom is not the best in this class. In the UK, 70% of customers are expected to choose the standard wheelbase versions; in the USA, 70% will go for long wheelbase models and globally the mix will be 50:50. In all other respects the interior is remarkably contemporary for Jaguar and, surprisingly, it bears little resemblance to the highly praised XF Saloons.

The top of the dashboard is curved and more in keeping with a luxury powerboat as is the use of sumptuous leather and wood trim throughout — a really new interpretation of classic British upper-class motoring.

There is also multi-mode 'mood' interior lighting and lots of 'must-have' executive toys including an electronic instrument panel with 'virtual' computer-generated dials on a twelve-inch screen for the speedometer and other key gauges. Plus there's the option of a surround sound system with twenty speakers! Fortunately, the driver aids also include parking sensors front and rear.

“It can be driven in
a stately manner where
opulence and style
will turn heads, yet out
of the limelight
it can be pushed along
in true traditional
Jaguar fashion
...”
There are four levels of specification: Luxury, Premium Luxury, Portfolio and Supersport but not all are available with all engine options. The engine line-up includes the highly-rated 3.0-litre V6 271bhp turbodiesel, the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol unit with 503bhp of power and the naturally-aspirated version of the same unit with 379bhp of power.

The main-selling unit by far in the UK (85%) will be the diesel unit with 442lb ft of torque from 2,000rpm. Top speed is limited to 155mph, zero to 62mph takes 6.4 seconds, the official Combined Cycle fuel consumption is 40.1mpg (32.8mpg on test) and CO2 emissions are 184g/km — meaning a VED road tax bill of 300 for the new First Year rate and 200 for subsequent years. For business users, the Benefit-in-Kind tax rate is 28 or 29% depending on which wheelbase is chosen.

I had a very brief drive of the new XJ recently and was not totally comfortable with the composure and agility the 5,247mm long car, which weighs-in at close to two tonnes, especially when offered against the likes of the 7 Series, S-Class or A8 — the Jag coming over as more limo than sports saloon.

The rear self-levelling air suspension and over-light steering didn't initially impress. However, given more time to drive the new model — both on the track and on the road — the rear-wheel drive layout plus all the handling and control packages doing their thing, it served up engaging driving manners yet not at the expense of comfort.

It can be driven in a stately manner where opulence and style will turn heads, yet out of the limelight it can be pushed along in true traditional Jaguar fashion.

At last Jaguar is back motoring again, first with the exceptional XF and now the classy XJ. My only criticism was the limited rear seat headroom and some odd interior/exterior colour combinations. But on the plus side, the XJ supplies an engaging drive for its size, is comfortable, features opulent fixtures and fittings, is very refined and it's good to look at. — David Miles

Jaguar XJ 3.0 Diesel Portfolio
| 64,400
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 6.4 seconds | Overall test MPG: 32.8mpg
Power: 271bhp | Torque: 442lb ft | CO2 184g/km