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Back in July last year I attended a launch event for the new Jaguar XJ and was very surprised by the car that was presented to me. Ever since the launch of the original Jaguar XJ in 1968, the design changes with each iteration have been conservative to say the least. However, with this latest incarnation Jaguar has been what can only be described as radical, and the result is spectacular.

It’s clear that the new XJ has taken a few design cues from the already successful Jaguar XF, but this is very much a car and design statement in its own right. Although the rear of the car has come in for a degree of criticism, I have to say that I’m a fan of the new design from pretty much every angle. The front looks mean and purposeful, while the side profile is surprisingly sweeping and sporty. Even the slightly less striking rear has grown on me with the LED tail light clusters that wrap up and over the boot line.

There’s no doubt that Jaguar is a company that’s intent on turning around public perception. For a long time Jaguar cars had something of a reputation for being staid, stuck in the past, and slightly dull. However, no one could level such accusations at the modern range of Jaguars – the XK, XF and now the new XJ are modern, bold and cutting edge in their approach.

Ian Callum – Director of Design at Jaguar – is one of many at the company to relay the message that the latest Jags have been designed to reaffirm the company as a manufacturer of “modern sporting luxury cars”, and I have to say that Jaguar has achieved that goal, and then some. And if the new XJ is the final piece of that puzzle, it is, without a doubt, a significant piece.

Last week Jaguar invited me out to France to spend a couple of days driving the new XJ. I covered a few hundred miles in various incarnations of the car, and my time spent behind the wheel did little to dampen my enthusiasm for Jaguar’s new flagship. So, if you’ve had your eye on a new BMW 7 Series, or Audi A8, have a read of the next few pages before placing that deposit.

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March 19, 2010, 5:26 am

But it really does look like a Citroen in profile.

Tim Sutton

March 19, 2010, 5:52 am

Great read Riyad, thanks. More of a love letter than a review!

I'm delighted that Jaguar have taken the direction they have. I think my favourite feature is the Maserati style radiator, it just looks fantastic. The whole front end is very Maserati actually, but with a distinct aggressive British twist.

I still think myself too young to own a Jag at 26, but if they keep designing cars like this that perception will change.


March 19, 2010, 11:51 am

I think that really is a lovely car, but there needs to be a straight six to really win my heart. BMW still make and sell plenty so they market has room in my opinion.


March 19, 2010, 1:04 pm

I love this car. Been trying to persuade my old man (who earns considerably more than me) to get one! He currently drives a top spec Merc but as they are flooding the market and the resulting residuals are taking a hammering he is looking for something that is great to drive and makes a little bit more financial sense in 3 years time.


March 19, 2010, 1:21 pm

Does the GPS system offer safety camera (speed camera) warnings?

How well/effective is the navigation system in general? And how does it work when you stream music via BT or the USB iPod?


March 19, 2010, 1:43 pm

Further to Saltank's comments, given how this is a tech site, I expected a more thorough examination of the tech aspects of the car, and less on how squishy the leather is!

For example, is there somewhere to put your phone? Built in hands-free? Is it easy to use?

Where does the GPS data come from? How is it updated? Does it advise on traffic using real time information?

What about the behind-the-scenes electronics? I can't believe that a car like this isn't bristling with electronic driver aids, just waiting to be tested.

Also, can you adjust the mirrors electronically? (Just joking!)


March 19, 2010, 2:42 pm

Dolby Pro-Logic???

And a 30Gb Hard Drive?

For shame!


March 19, 2010, 6:37 pm

It took you until the 7th page to include a picture of the controversial back end you mentioned in the second paragraph? :p I was frantically clicking through to see a pic. It does look a bit... Chrysler.

B&W *drool*


March 22, 2010, 3:14 pm

@Bluepork and Saltank – Unfortunately I couldn’t test all the tech as thoroughly as I usually do, since I didn’t have the car as my daily driver for a week, as is usually the case. This was an event to get the press behind the wheel of the car for the first time, so in depth testing was limited.

I could have labelled this up as a preview, but since I’d already done one, and since there was far more meat to it than I would have expected from a preview I let it run as a review.

The navigation system worked superbly, although I couldn’t run it through the normal tests I do, since I was in France. That said, as I mentioned, the systems in the XF and XJ are excellent, so I imagine the XJ system will be even better.

As for speed cameras, I don’t know of any factory fitted system that offers that feature, since you’re not in a position to perform updates as easily as you can in an after market device. Also speed camera detectors are illegal in some countries.

Streaming from an iPod worked brilliantly, as it did in both the XF and XK, but I didn’t manage to test A2DP. And yes there is a lot of cool tech behind the scenes, which would make a great feature in itself. In fact I’ve already been invited to meet up with the chief sound engineer at Jaguar to talk about how they develop the in-car acoustics.

Put plainly, if you’re in the market for a high-end executive saloon, then you really need to take one of these out for a spin. For me though, despite absolutely loving the new XJ, I still want something that I can throw round the nordschleife for a few laps, while still enjoying the drive down there. But I’m not the target buyer.


May 4, 2010, 10:54 pm

I know this is a tech site but that is the whole point about the new Jags, once your in it you dont care about the gadgets, the interior of the XJ is just so good the tech disappears. Dont worry there are plenty of gadgets for even the most ardent tech fan. i have never sat in a car that is such a sensory experience as the XJ, if you dont get that side of it dont get one.

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