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The Top Gear car review:Jaguar XJ
For:Radical styling and the best big limo to drive
Against:Radical styling and the smallest big limo to sit in the back of
3.0d V6 Luxury 4dr Auto
Is this new?
Not particularly. It’s a minor facelift for the Jaguar XJ, a car that’s been with us over six years now...
Jaguar’s flagship XJ, subtly updated for 2016 with added excellence.
Was there much to start ...
TG tests the fastest accelerating XJ that Jaguar has ever built…
Jaguar gifts the XJ all-wheel drive. Good news. But we won’t see it in the UK. Bad news
340bhp, 332lb ft and 0–62 in 5.7secs. Behold the new XJ V6
The most practical engine in the range turns out to be excellent. More than a match for the Germans.
Defines a space all of its own – the refinement of a German luxo-box shot through with the spirit of an XK.
What we say:
The XJ is exactly what a Jaguar should be. It's green and good to drive
What is it?
Jaguar’s futuristic range-topping saloon remains a striking car, even three years after launch. For 2014 it was tweaked, with subtly honed suspension settings, better sat nav, a standard eight-speed auto with stop-start plus big improvements in diesel efficiency. Now it’s been facelifted again, with revised engines and interior tech, full-LED headlights and more distinctive ‘J-blade’ daytime running lights.
The XJR is still around, with its 550bhp supercharged 5.0-litre V8 and Merc-AMG-like attitude. But now there’s a R-Sport model for those who want the looks but not the fuel bills. There’s a new top-of-the-line Autobiography trim too, for those who like to spend no less than six figures.
Although it is more comfortable and smoother-riding, the XJ remains a car to drive rather than be driven in. Up front, the XJ feels almost as compact as a 3-Series, in a good way, which probably has something to do with the low seating position, shallow glass and wonderful two-tier, sweeping dash.
In the spirit of the best sport saloons, the XJ has quick steering and a mobile rear, plus a beautiful ability to feel lithe and fluid over bumpy British B-roads. At times, it nudges brilliance. The ride is better now than when it was released, but still not as compliant as an S-Class.
The F-Type V6 petrol is a gem. It’s smooth, responds instantly, charges at higher revs and, surprisingly, even sounds sporting without being intrusive. Alongside it, the diesel is more relaxed, but still impressive, particularly with the sharp yet slurring eight-speed auto all cars now get.
On the inside
The interior, all stitched spongy leather, has a handmade feel, yet by using all JLR’s cleverest infotainment and rotary gear selector parts, it’s a high tech place to be. Even more so since the latest facelift, with the arrival of Jaguar’s fancy InControl Touch Pro infotainment system. This is as clever as BMW’s iDrive and perhaps even easier to use. And it offers WiFi hotspot connectivity, so your rear passengers can use their iPads.
Rear space is the Jag’s main bugbear, and if the rear seats are going to be put to much use, getting the long wheelbase version is imperative. It’s all much more decadent now though, particularly if you head to the options list and start building yourself a bespoke XJ. Who needs a Bentley? It may not have the S-Class’ brilliance, but the big Jag has character in spades.
The Jaguar XJ is performing very well in customer satisfaction surveys. Owners love them. Maybe even more so for now, with the new gearbox improving diesel economy to 49mpg and cutting emissions to 149g/km. Bang on the money. The 3.0 S/C is much better than the old 5.0-litre V8 too: the 5.0-litre S/C V8 remains, though, should sub- 25mpg be fine with you.