If Jaguar set out to make the outside of the XJ look fresh and modern, it did an even better job of the interior. Audi may have the reputation for building the best cabins, but with the XJ, Jaguar has reeled Audi in, and raised the bar. I fully expected the XJ cabin to be somewhat restrained and staid, with Jaguar not wanting to alienate its more traditional customers, but I was wrong, very wrong.
Although the XJ cabin has all the trappings of opulence and quality that you'd expect from Jaguar's flagship saloon, everything has a bleeding edge modernity to it that I hadn't expected. And that's just the look of the cabin, I haven't even started on the plethora of technical delights that Jaguar has in store for XJ owners.
Of course customers will be able to tailor the cabin to their own taste. This will probably mean many XJs rolling off the production line with wood veneer interior, which surprisingly still looks good surrounding all the aluminium, LCD screens and ambient blue lighting. Personally, I'd go for carbon fibre (but then I have a weakness for carbon fibre), or piano black, both of which will blend seamlessly with the high-tech feel of the car.
The steering wheel is particularly nice and feels perfect in the hand, while the plethora of controls adorning it mean that the driver will rarely, if ever, have to glance down at the centre console. Which is something of a shame, because the centre console is truly a thing of beauty, finished in gleaming black and chrome, with the trademark JaguarDrive Selector rising up in all its knurled aluminium glory.
I have to say that I'm not generally won over by how pretty a cabin looks, but in the case of the XJ, even after the short time I spent inside the car, I found myself wondering why all luxury cars don't look like this inside. And when you take a closer look at the technology that's been squeezed into that ultra-stylish cabin, things just get better…