Here the XJ really takes the fight to the competition, with an in-car entertainment system that is, quite simply superb. If you’ve read my previous report on the Jaguar XKR you’ll be well aware of just how good the 525W Bowers and Wilkins sound system was, so good in fact, that I considered it to be the best factory fitted in car sound system available – but not anymore.
With the new XJ, Jaguar and Bowers and Wilkins went back to the drawing board to develop a completely new system and the results are staggeringly good. For a start, the system in the XJ has a little more power than the one in the XKR, and when I say a little more power, I actually mean over twice as much! Bowers and Wilkins have managed to squeeze 1,200W of power and 20 speakers into the new XJ (standard in the Portfolio and Supersport models), all configured to produce the most convincing and detailed soundstage possible.
The sound system in the XJ has been tuned to take best advantage of the cabin acoustics, something that is borne out by the fact that the long wheel base car has a different speaker configuration to the short wheel base version. And it’s that attention to detail that shines through as soon as you start listening – Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon has never sounded so good in a car!
Of course the XJ can playback both live TV and DVD movies, so it comes as no surprise that the sound system will also decode Dolby ProLogic II soundtracks for that in-car surround sound experience. And you can spec 8in LCD screens mounted in the front seat headrests so that the rear passengers can kick back and watch a movie while being chauffeured to their destination.
There’s no shortage of audio sources either. You can play CDs, or you can rip them straight to the 30GB hard disk in the car – music is encoded as uncompressed WAV files to ensure ultimate sound quality. There’s also the option to connect up a USB device or an iPod, all of which is controlled with relative ease via the infotainment system.