Jaguar has created something very special with the new XJ and gone some way to dispelling many preconceptions that have plagued the brand for a good while. The design melds both modern lines with classic Jaguar features, resulting in a brutishly handsome luxury saloon that’s as much about the driver as it is about the passenger.
The problem with the previous XJ is that it felt as if it had been built for the back seat passengers, with this new model it’s just as luxurious in the back, but it’s an absolute dream in the driver’s seat. Hammering around the French countryside in a 503bhp XJ Supersport is a memory that will bring a smile to my face for some time. Switch the car into the Dynamic setting and you’ll feel the seatbelt pull you tighter into the seatback, you’ll notice the throttle response sharpening up, and you’ll marvel at how well the chassis engineers have managed to control the substantial mass of this car as you throw it around a challenging set of bends.
But even if you’re not going flat out, even if you’re driving the diesel version rather than the crackers 5.0-litre supercharged car, the XJ is a sublime place to be. If someone asked me to suggest a car in which four people could tour Europe for a week, the new XJ would be high, if not at the top of my list.
The icing on the cake is the technology showcase that separates this car from its rivals. The LCD screen that acts as a virtual dashboard is a triumph of style and substance, the dual view central display is a wonderful idea that I’m sure the competition will be adding to their arsenal in due time, and the 1,200W Bowers and Wilkins sound system is far and away the best in car audio solution I’ve ever heard.
Even the price is pleasantly surprising, with the 3.0-litre diesel in Luxury spec kicking off at £53,775. Of course if you want to pull out all the stops and go for a Supersport you’ll be knocking on the door of £90k, but even then, the comparable BMW 760 would cost you £10k more.
During his presentation Ian Callum said “Nobody needs a Jaguar, you have to want one”, and I think there will be a lot more people wanting a Jaguar once they sit inside the new XJ.