Chris Miller road tests and reviews the 2013 Jaguar XJ.
Since the introduction of the Series 1 in 1968, the Jaguar XJ has epitomised British luxury; understated, elegant and expensive.
Endowed with sophisticated looks, powerful engines and sumptuous luxury, understandably the XJ has been the car of choice for Royalty, Heads of State and the uber rich for the last 45 years.
The current Jaguar XJ, designed by Sir Ian Callum (the same man responsible for the current crop of stunning Aston Martin’s), measures 5.25 metres in long wheelbase form. The sheer size of the Jag only adds to its imposing presence; it really is a car everyone wants to get a better look at.
The model we tested was the XJ 3.0 D Premium Luxury Long Wheel Base fitted with the options of 20” Orona Alloy Wheels, Digital/Analogue Television Tuner and a Blind Spot Monitor.
Before on road costs the big cat comes in at a staggering $204, 820, meaning it will remain a very exclusive vehicle.
Powered by a smooth, free revving 3.0 litre turbo diesel, the XJ is not left wanting for power. In fact with 600Nm of torque on tap, progress is always rapid.
There is lag common in turbo diesels, but once up and running the shove in the back is always satisfying.
Economy, aided by a stop/start system, is more than respectable. Our average was 10.1 litres per 100km through the city and with plenty of spirited driving.
The XJ is a pleasure on the road, the ride isn’t quite as supple as you’d expect, but it is forgiving and difficult to unsettle.
It’s a rare occurrence to encounter any cabin disruption from the road surface, apart from a bit of tyre noise from the 20-inch wheel & (low profile) tyre package.
Other than a woeful turning circle the steering is light and responds instantly.
Hit the dynamic mode button on the centre console and along with all the gauges turning red & angry, the suspension stiffens, the steering tightens up and the throttle and wonderfully smooth 8-Speed automatic become more aggressive.
A quiet meander up a country lane can quickly turn into a frenetic, fast-paced, bit between your teeth thrill ride, with the big Jag is always up to the task.
The drivers seating position is quite low and visibility is reasonable; the reversing camera is a must however.
Cocooned in in high-grade leathers, timber veneers and plush pile carpets, unusually there’s a pronounced sporting feel to the XJ from behind the heated steering wheel.
Switchgear is intelligently placed and there’s an expensive tactile feel to the components.
Most functions are controlled by the large central screen, which offers a host of options for you to tailor the settings of everything from lights to audio.
Standard features include programmable climate control for front & rear passengers, a magnificent Meridian sound system and electrically operated front and rear seats.
Missing from the standard repertoire however is adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation systems & park assist, features found standard in a $30,000 VW Golf, and expected in a $200k + car.
Built in the UK, quality seems good although some parts of the paint work (on the inner door sills for example) left a little to be desired.
Minor niggles aside, the flagship Jaguar remains a thoroughly desirable beast. Road manners, power and its jaw dropping presence attest to the brilliant job Jaguar have done in reinventing this car.
Sure it misses out on some of the standard tech found in its German rivals, but the style & grace in which the XJ goes about it’s business will no doubt continue to win fans.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 3.0 litre turbo diesel developing 202kW and 600Nm
Transmission: 8-Speed automatic
Safety: Not tested
Origin: United Kingdom
Price: From $198,445