XJ 3.0 Diesel Portfolio
is dead. Long live Jaguar.
A sentiment that resolutely defines
the boldly-styled, aluminium-skinned
Jaguar XJ. And, for the record,
true fans of the marque were
harmed during the changeover from
traditional to contemporary...
PERHAPS IT'S THE COUPE-ISH AIR of Jaguar's four-door flagship saloon
that makes it stand out from the crowd of undeniably prestigious rivals wearing
pointed stars, interlinked rings or a stylised propellor blade.
As luck would have it, the same week we had the XJ on test we had another highly
eye-catching piece of machinery on the drive alongside it Audi's R8 V10
Spyder. With a combined worth approaching two hundred thousand pounds, the pair
proved to be a major pull.
Tellingly, the XJ commanded a fair share of the interest. Not surprising given
its bold styling the imperiously thrusting nose and the almost blunt
tail dominated by long, wide red-and-white slits that follow the bootlid's horizontal
and vertical contours.
Even Jaguar's Design Director, Ian Callum, has been quoted as saying its 'love-hate'
lines were intended to trigger a strong reaction. However, we encountered no
negative feedback and everyone genuinely seemed to love it so Jaguar's
dramatic break with tradition is clearly vindicated.
that the 'man in the street' will be the prime buyer our test, and admittedly
top-spec, Portfolio model costs £66,000. But what a lot you get…
Once inside the XJ
find an Aladdins
cave of a cabin:
plush leather upholstery
and jewel-like detailing
everywhere, from the
fabulously dramatic and
central air vents to the
magic of the all-
best of its kind to be
found in any car...
it still exudes that Jaguar presence most noticeable in the meaty, heavily-chromed
grille with its snarling Jaguar's head badge. Move round to the tail
the most contemporary of its new body parts and you'll see a very different
breed of cat. One that hints at a cross-Atlantic influence...
And of the size that would fit well in Texas where, as everybody know, everything
is bigger. But from wherever you think its provenance springs, it looks good.
only really appreciate just how big 'fit for Texas' is when you park up in a
supermarket you'll hog every inch of the parking bay's width; and even
more of your XJ will overhang the painted line under its nose. Despite that,
parking is surprisingly easy, thanks to accurate sensors, a reversing camera
and clearly defined guide lines on the 8.5-inch touchscreen. Climb out and adjacent
family cars appear Lilliputian by comparison.
In the same way that royalty never needs to take money out of their pockets,
XJ owners need never take their smart key out; keyless entry and start is standard.
And, unlike some, the Jag's doors stay in whatever open position you want without
springing back on your shin. Even the scissor-action door handles feel rather
special. Setting the tone of good things to come are tasteful stainless steel
Once inside the XJ you'll find an Aladdin's cave of a cabin: plush leather upholstery
and jewel-like detailing everywhere, from the fabulously dramatic and cleverly
engineered central pair of air vents (they look intriguingly like the engines
from a '60s jet fighter) to the magic of the virtual instrumentation
the best of its kind to be found in any car.
Digitally rendered on a 12.3-inch high-definition TFT instrument panel are doppelgangers
of a full set of traditional gauges. A particularly clever innovation is the
so-called 'torch effect' on the speedometer if, for instance, the needle
is pointing at 50mph, the sector from 40-60mph appears far brighter than the
surrounding areas, making the actual speed reading easier to take in at a glance
and also drawing your eye to it even as you start to look. Another unmissable
visual cue: whenever you select Dynamic drive mode, the dials turn red
you have been warned.
A centrally-positioned 8-inch touchscreen in the fascia interfaces with the
navigation, FourZone climate control, audio system, Bluetooth, trip computer
and other user settings. You can, should you prefer giving orders to carrying
them out, use the Interactive Voice system to control many of the XJ's functions.
feature that really will have your front seat passenger enthralled is the touchscreen's
Dual-View mode this allows your passenger to watch a movie or TV (listening
through a set of wifi headphones) while the XJ is on the move; at the same time,
for safety reasons, all that can be seen by the driver are the infotainment
menus or the SatNav map.
the same way
that royalty never needs
to take money
out of their pockets,
XJ owners need never
take their keys out;
keyless entry and start
Seen it all before? No problem: the 1,200W, 20-speaker (includes two sub-woofers
and two front door woofers) Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system serves up
an aural feast reproduction is crystal clear and distortion-free up to
higher volumes than your ears will want to bear.
This cutting-edge new generation XJ is Jaguar's flagship saloon as such,
there's more than enough room to go round for four adults with a cosseting,
beautifully-sculpted, soft-grain leather-upholstered chair each. Not only are
these 20-way-adjustable seats seriously comfortable (you even get inflatable
side bolstering for that perfect fit!), but they'll massage, heat or cool your
body as desired.
Each front seat also features a three-position memory with the driver getting
a powered steering column, one that adjusts for height and reach along with
entry and exit tilt-away. And don't knock it if you've never tried it
a heated steering wheel. Superb. Now's a good time to mention that all
of the standard kit on this Portfolio model would easily fill two sides of a
sheet of A4, so we're just mentioning a few of the highlights.
Four-zone climate control is, naturally, also standard: in other words, getting
and staying comfortable in the XJ will be the least of your worries.
Glance up and you'll see a luxurious black suede headlining; and what, from
inside, appears to be a pair of large sunroofs is actually, when seen from outside,
a single panoramic glass roof panel. Each has an electric sunblind, and the
front section has a one-shot tilt-and-slide operation to add yet another pleasurable
facet to the cabin ambience.
XJ is a very democratic car: it treats its rear passengers with as much kid-glove
cosseting as it does those travelling in the front. For instance, the 'active'
rear seats are every bit as comfortable as those in the front cabin: their backrests
are power-adjustable; they have powered lumbar adjustment; and you get the same
heating and cooling features. And don't be fooled by that sloping roofline
our near-six-foot testers had ample knee and leg room to sit back and enjoy
being chauffeured around.
the biggest compliment you can pay this car (and Jaguar's engineering team)
is to say that while this XJ can easily tempt you into the back seat, the pull
of sitting behind the wheel in the front is even stronger
engaging and entertaining to drive in a way no German sporting luxury
car can match, this is a Jag for drivers.
Is this really a diesel?
The V6 feels… lusty.
sums it up nicely;
442lb ft from
gutsy midrange power
down to business. Press the Start button to fire up the engine and the rotary
gear selector rises silently from the wide central tunnel, ready to operate
the six-speed automatic transmission. Click clockwise round to Drive, give it
some juice and there's a rush of impressions; all positive.
First, the power. Is this really a diesel? The twin-turboed V6 feels… lusty.
Yes 'lusty' sums it up nicely; 442lb ft from 2,000rpm guarantees gutsy midrange
power delivery and, whenever needed, seemingly effortless overtaking zip. The
six-speed transmission is well-matched, serving up seamless shifts time and
time again and always responding eagerly to shift change requests from the steering
Paddle-shift in 'D' for more control (for instance, engine braking or approaching
a tight roundabout) then ask no more, and the system will revert to 'D' automatically
after a brief period if the paddles are not used again. However, if you're cornering,
accelerating, or decelerating at the time, the fully-adaptive shift system holds
the selected gear until changing up or down is appropriate.
If you need a greater degree of control and acceleration, press and twist the
knurled selector another click to Sport; the change points are modified to make
maximum use of engine power in each ratio. Paddle-shift in Sport, however, and
you'll stay in manual mode. And, whatever you're doing, the active gear (1-6)
and mode (D or S) is reassuringly displayed in large characters on the instrument
the accelerator pedal into the tailored overmats and you'll see 62mph on the
speedo in six seconds. Slowing is equally impressive: hit the brake pedal hard
and you stop. No fuss; no drama. You simply stop. Period.
Drive control lets the driver tailor the XJ's driving experience to suit his
or her mood or conditions. Safety first; the self-explanatory Winter mode. And
then there's the Dynamic button marked, somewhat appropriately, with a chequered
flag engage this mode when you want to indulge in some full-out power
driving; select Sport as well and there's no automatic gear changing, even if
the rev limit is reached.
comfort is decidedly good perhaps a tad firmer than the traditional luxury
saloon, but not enough to disturb sleeping passengers. And, in spite of the
19-inch rims and 245/45 front and 275/40 rear Dunlop tyres, passengers will
find it hard to tell what surface the XJ is running over.
already mentioned, the XJ's dual-personality allows the keen driver to indulge
its more sporting rear-wheel-drive character wherever and whenever.
setting (Dynamic) and
be in for a
For such a large car,
the XJ feels amazingly
agile hustle it round
corners and through a
tricky string of S-bends
and it feels truly focused...
Choose the out-and-out performance driving setting (Dynamic) and you'll be in
for a very pleasant surprise. For such a large car, the XJ feels amazingly wieldy
hustle it round corners and through a tricky string of S-bends and it
feels truly focused.
Deservedly taking some of the credit for this agility is the quick and confident
steering and, of course, the automatically-adjusting electronic dampers.
Really press on and Yes, there is a tad of body roll just enough to remind
you you're punching a very long, luxurious set of wheels. Thankfully, and quite
intentionally, it's never enough to spoil your fun.
away as you'll be by the dynamics, it's easy to overlook the fuel consumption.
But it's definitely worth a word or two: officially, the combined cycle figure
is 40.1mpg our week's hard driving saw 34.2mpg. Hugely impressive given
the sheer size of this big cat.
The boot is another place worthy of mention, and not just because it opens and
closes itself with a little electronic prompt from you! As the bootlid
automatically rises, you'll be presented with a liberal 520-litre luggage bay;
it's wide and not too deep but still swallows a lot of luggage. Sorry, I've
no idea how many golf bags it will hold but then, if this were my car, I wouldn't
be wasting time driving on the green when I could be driving on the road…
This new XJ saloon is a breath of fresh air while there's a subtle Britishness
about it, Jaguar have cleverly not let it get in the way of the numerous and
impressive high-tech aspects. And they have, by design, arrived at a near-perfect
middle ground between superbly comfortable and dynamically invigorating.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? Far from it: unlike Robert Louis Stevenson's creations,
there's no negative Edward Hyde to spoil the party; this XJ is a fluent partnership
of positives. Enjoy! MotorBar
XJ 3.0 Diesel Portfolio | £66,515
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 6 seconds | Overall test MPG: 34.2mpg
Power: 271bhp | Torque: 442lb ft | CO2 184g/km