The new XJ will be available with three engine variants, but there’s little doubt the the 3.0-litre V6 diesel will be the biggest seller in the UK. This is the same engine that was in the Jaguar XF that I reviewed last year and it’s an absolute gem. Despite only pumping out 184g/km CO2, the diesel lump pumps out 271bhp and 442lb/ft of torque. That makes the diesel powered XJ good for a 0-60mph sprint of six seconds, which is no mean feat for a car this size.
I spent the best part of a day driving the diesel car, and it felt surprisingly responsive in comparison to the XF I drove last year. Of course it’s worth remembering that despite being a larger car, the XJ is actually lighter than its sibling due to its all aluminium construction – more about that later.
”’(centre)The V6 diesel will make up the majority of sales in the UK(/centre)”’
The V6 diesel certainly complements the sleek and stylish design of the XJ, providing a smooth swell of power, that never unsettles the car. There’s usually enough torque on tap for overtaking, but on the whole the XJ cruises with ease at low revs and simply eats up the miles while returning an impressive 40mpg. It’s not surprising that Jaguar predicts that 85 per cent of XJs in the UK will be specced with diesel power.
Sitting at the opposite end of the scale is a 503bhp supercharged 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine, that is also resident in the XFR and the Jaguar XKR that I looked at a few months back. Interestingly, Jaguar has chosen not to extend the R branding to the XJ, so rather than an XJR moniker, the top of the range XJ is dubbed the Supersport.
The Supersport will crack 60mph in 4.7 seconds, which is incredibly quick for what is, essentially, a luxury saloon car. As with the XKR, the V8 sounds sublime and Jaguar has done a great job of eradicating the whine that afflicts many supercharged engines. Although the cabin of the XJ is a supremely serene place to be, when you put your foot down in the Supersport you are greeted with a satisfying roar from the V8, followed by a wave of acceleration that launches the car towards the horizon.
”’(centre)The supercharged V8 gives the XJ enough grunt to scare Porsche drivers(/centre)”’
Of course the Supersport can’t compete with the diesel when it comes to fuel economy, but 23.4mpg figure that Jaguar quotes is pretty respectable considering that this is a large car pumping out over 500bhp. That said, if you enjoy your driving, I imagine that you’ll rarely see that number, since the power under your right foot can be downright addictive, and every time you nail the throttle you can almost see the fuel gauge dropping.
The third engine option sits between the two above, and is basically a naturally aspirated version of the Supersport lump. Without the forced induction the 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine will produce a not insignificant 385bhp, but with a CO2 figure of 264g/km it still falls into the very top road tax brand, while turning in only marginally better fuel economy at 24.9mpg.
”’(centre)The naturally aspirated V8 engine still pumps out a respectable 385bhp(/centre)”’
On the plus side, the naturally aspirated V8 powered XJ has a base price that’s around £23,000 lower than the Supersport, so there will no doubt be buyers who want a petrol car, but can’t stump up the £87,455 for the Supersport. I have yet to drive the naturally aspirated V8 engine, so I can’t really say how it compares to the diesel below it or the supercharged V8 above it, but imagine it will sound as intoxicating as the Supersport, but without the mind bending levels of acceleration.