What is it?
Jaguar’s futuristic range-topping saloon remains a striking car, even three years after launch. For 2013, it’s been tweaked, with subtly honed suspension settings, better sat nav, standard eightspeed auto with stop-start plus big improvements in diesel efficiency.
But the really big news is the XJ 3.0 S/C, which replaces the old non-supercharged V8. This, see, is the engine that’s going into next year’s F-Type. The big Jag is thus giving us a very plush and charismatic introduction to Jaguar’s new 911-challenging sportscar.
Although it is more comfortable and smoother-riding for 2013, 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. Even the ride is better for the new model year, if still not as compliant as an S-Class (although the optional and softer comfort pack gets close).
The new F-Type V6 petrol is a gem. It’s smooth, responds instantly, charges at higher revs and, surprisingly, even sounds sporting without being intrusive. We’re in for a treat next year. Alongside it, the diesel is more relaxed, but still impressive, particularly with the sharp yet slurring eight-speed auto all cars get for 2013. The Supersport is a bit of an irrelevance, albeit a fast one.
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. Pity about the cheap and dated column stalks, mind.
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 for 2013 though, with the new Ultimate variant bringing iPad tech, fully reclining captain’s chair seats and the obligatory champagne cooler in the centre armrest. Bentley Mulsanne for a third of the price, anyone?
The Jaguar XJ is performing very well in customer satisfaction surveys. Owners love them. Maybe even more so for 2013, with the new gearbox improving diesel economy to 47mpg and cutting emissions to 159g/km. Bang on the money. The 3.0 S/C is much better than the old 5.0-litre V8 too: the 510bhp S/C V8 will is still there should 25mpg be fine with you.