From its understated yet foreboding exterior, to the mahogany dashboards and quality leather housed within the cabin, the very smell of which immediately makes you feel like you have some kind of importance on the road, yet more subtly than that of the ‘new money’ city boys in their BMW 5 series or Mercedes S-Class.
The problem with the Jaguar XJ has always been the fact that is virtually unchanged since its initial inauguration in 1968. The lights and basic shape of the car is virtually the same, creating an image of the car as old and dowdy, more for the pipe smoker generation, than any businessman worth their salt.
With this in mind Jaguar have released the brand new Jaguar XJ, in an attempt to bring the model on a couple of generations, a very difficult job for the designers. The exterior has had a complete re-haul with the front end taking styling cues from the Jaguar XF, with a large grill, and slanted eyes giving an almost Italian look. On paper the car is slightly larger than the old model, although at first glance this is not particularly noticeable. What is clear however is the rear of the car is erm..different. A grower I hope although for me the tail end is the one element of the styling which seems to let the car down, looking more like the rear from an MG ZS (minus the spoiler) than a Jaguar XJ. So to the interior and Jaguar have kept up the luxurious feel so associated with the car, although made much more up to date, and less like a Victorian smoking room. The car still has plenty of wood and enough leather to terrify even the hardiest of cows, however subtle digital displays give you all your necessary readings in a ‘Virtual’ 3D technology style, and a ‘media hub’ which allows access to a full compliment of entertainment, communication, and navigation features. The sound system in the car is second to non, created for either the new Jaguar driver to enjoy their Kings of Leon CD, or the hard of hearing original XJ drivers to really enjoy Claude Debussy compilation.
In terms of the power of the car Jaguar have outlined that high performance is the minimum expectancy for the particular class of car, and with that the Jaguar XJ certainly delivers. High powered and lower weight Jaguar XJ is (Jaguar say) between 160kg and 250kg lighter than any rival, what is more with the European favorite V6 diesel taken from the XF creating 272bhp the car will not be a sloath by any stretch of the imagination. There will also be available 381bhp, 505bhp supercharged and a new 465bhp power plant for the Jaguar XJ.
All in all I must doth my hat to Jaguar for taking such a radical redesign of what is a classic and much loved car. The styling is superb, and the interior sumptuous, however I think I still need time to grow accustomed to that rump before its release at the end of the year.