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Driven: 2014 Jaguar XJ L

Driven July 2014

Driven: 2014 Jaguar XJ L

Britain loves travelling in luxury – for instance, take Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Both companies make better cars than anyone in the world if you’re mentioning 'luxury' and 'cars' in the same breath. Jaguar too isn’t too far behind in giving you first-class luxury on the road with its flagship, the XJ L. A month back, we told you that the Chakan factory near Pune in Maharashtra has started assembling the flagship saloon, and the big news is that it’s now much, much more affordable than it was earlier.

They had to do this. The brand-new Mercedes S-Class had arrived in India, and Jag knew it wouldn’t take too long for it to capture the hearts of the wealthy and pile up the numbers on the sales chart.

We’ve now got our hands on this assembled-in-India XJ, and the first thing that we wish to tell you is that it’s elegant. The S-Class, with its curves and bulbous styling, is definitely one of the best-looking limos on the road today. But the Jag is a bit more elegant in the way it looks – it has sharper creases, a more cohesive stance and looks pristine in every way. It’s very British.

Most of you who are thinking of buying a limo, are concerned with the back seat comfort. And we’re happy to report that nothing in the long-wheelbase Jag will disappoint you. There’s loads of space to stretch your legs, the seats are comfortable – a bit firmer than the A8’s and the S-Class’ – but relaxing nevertheless. You can also have a back massage, if you may please. The Jag, unlike the S-Class, can accommodate three at the back. But let us tell you that the person sitting in the middle isn’t going to be too happy. The driveshaft tunnel takes away quite a bit of leg space.

The one that we have with us is a 3.0-litre oil-burner. It develops 271 horses and an impressive 600Nm of pulling power. All that power and torque is enough to lug this two-tonne limo to 100kph in 6.4 seconds (claimed). That isn’t bad at all for all that bulk, is it?

The engine is mated to an eight-speed transmission that transfers all that power to the rear wheels. It changes cogs discreetly, making sure there’s no jerk transferred to your back in the act of a gear shift. But if you’re expecting it to be lightning quick, you’re not going to get that here.

The XJ has always been sportier than the other limos that it shares market space with. The full-aluminium body allows it to keep its weight in check, and the firmer suspension (vis-a-vis its competition) allows you to take corners with more confidence. The steering too is far more communicative than the S' or the A8’s, and is a bit heavier, too.

The XJ L, at Rs 92.1 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai), offers as much luxury, if not more, than any of its rivals. It’s a bit lighter on your wallet – not that a luxury limo buyer cares about those few lakhs anyway – but a lower price tag can never be a bad thing. And if you think Jaguar has stripped the XJ of any of its creature comforts to bring the price down, you’re wrong. It has everything that you’d expect in a car of its stature – massaging seats, four-zone climate control, soft-close doors, individual media systems at the rear and the list goes on. What the XJ offers, that the Germans don’t, is exclusivity. And if you pair great luxury, good styling and exclusivity, you’re never going to be complaining, right?

The numbers
2,993cc 6cyl diesel, 271bhp, 600Nm, 8A, 0-100kph: 6.4s (claimed), Top speed: 250kph (limited), 1,988kg, Boot: 520l, Kpl: 12.9 (claimed)

The verdict
Gives an unmatched mix of luxury, comfort, styling and exclusivity. It has everything to fight the best that the Germans have to offer.

Agasti Kaulgi

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