First Drive : Jaguar XJ 3.0D V6 Premium

Keith Adams

Jaguar XJ

Jaguar XJ

We wouldn’t say that the XJ is a make-or-break car for Jaguar commercially, as the XF and XK have both proven highly successful for the leaping cat. However, in one respect, the XJ is hugely important to the company – it represents the final stage of a three-phase plan to replace retro design with ultra-modern. If Jaguar gets this one right, there’s no looking back.

So, we’ll get on to the styling straight away. If you’ve been brought up on a diet of feline XJs, seeing the new car in the metal for the first time comes as bit of a shock. The gaping grille, sculpted headlamps and sloping roof-line are a long way from the outgoing model – and initially it jars.

Take the time, though, to study its form on the roads, see it amongst traffic and experience other people’s reactions first hand, and it soon becomes clear that Ian Callum achieved exactly what he set out to do. He’s brought the XJ into the modern age, but in such a way as to eschew conventionality – it’s a large car that combines huge road presence with a sportscar-like stance. There’s only one other car in this sector which manages that feat so successfully: the Maserati Quattroporte.

Taking the car on a run up to Blackpool for a feature to appear in an upcoming issue of Octane, the first thing that surprises is that the ride initially feels a little stiff-legged, a little bony on typically pock-marked UK backroads. That’s a little disappointing if you’re after a car that truly cossets. However, press the accelerator, allow the twin-turbo’s ample torque to shove you forwards and build up speed rapidly, and the chassis’ high-speed composure comes shining through.

In high speed bends it literally glides, with swift direction changes a flick of the wrist away. Steering is accurate and well-weighted, while the lack of overall body roll inspires plenty of confidence. In short, this is a driver’s car that just happens to be limousine sized. As for the engine – it’s a quiet, muscular companion and supremely long-legged. At the UK limit, the XJ’s diesel is spinning over at just over 1500rpm. The only real noise is a slight rustle of wind noise and the bump-thump of the suspension over expansion joints.

Inside, the electronic instruments take a little getting used to, but we love their flexibility – the rev counter, for instance, doubles as an occasional sat/nav companion. The touch screen in the centre console has a clever dual view facility, but we’d like a little more responsiveness. The rest of the interior is gorgeous to look at with fine detailing, but I’d take it in black or tan, rather than the mid-blue of our test car.

Overall, it’s a brilliant achievement, and a grower. The longer you live with it, the more you’ll appreciate the effort that’s gone into it and the ease in which you’ll slip into the ownership experience.

The styling? Well, just give it a chance, choose your colour sensitively and enjoy…

[Source: Octane Magazine]

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and watched it steadily grow into AROnline. Is the Editor of Classic Car Weekly, and has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, Classic Car Weekly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

17 Comments on "First Drive : Jaguar XJ 3.0D V6 Premium"

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  1. Jemma says:

    I love the majority of the shape and styling

    I love the interior (what little I have seen in pictures)…

    Why, oh why, though, did they have to make it look like they draped a blue whale’s schlong over where the engine goes and then designed the engine and grille accordingly…?

    Honestly, all they have to do is put a glow in the dark badge on it a la past Rileys and Wolseleys and the first impression anyone will get is of a 2 tonne silvery gliding wang doing 90 up the inside lane…

    I have to admit I have never seen one of these in the flesh so to speak (bad pun intended) but I hope it’s better in meatspace than in mediaspace…

    *Sigh*

  2. Ianto says:

    Very nice, thank goodness they have ditched the retro styling.

  3. Richard Kilpatrick Richard Kilpatrick says:

    Mine will have dark green metallic or dark red, with a cream interior.

    One day 😉

  4. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    Just don’t expect it to ride as well as your C6…

  5. Dennis says:

    Ianto :Very nice, thank goodness they have ditched the retro styling.

    I must admit that I liked the retro XJ styling, but was not so keen on the S-TYPE. I do think it needed changing though – it was just stagnating.

    The XF looks ok, but the back always just looks too Ford to me – it isn’t identical to the Mondeo but, like the Aston, it just reminds me of the Mondeo and was obviously influenced from the same studio.

    I like the idea of an illuminated badge (a la Wolseley), it would leave BMW drivers in no doubt as to what was in their rear view mirror. 😀

  6. I’d have one of these over any full-size German luxury saloon. I saw the pictures of them and I thought it looked smart despite the questionable rear end.

    That was until I saw one in the metal as I pulled up behind one when it was waiting due to roadworks on the road. This car has presence and it means business. With sales off to a roaring success with the new XJ, I can’t see Jaguar looking back. Not that they are with the successful XF anyway.

    Audi, BMW and Mercedes may start losing sleep over the sales stolen from them by the claws of the Big Cat 😉

  7. DaveH says:

    I saw one last weekend and it is ugly. Yes, it has road presence but it does not have the fluidity of design of the XF or XK. It looks like someone looked at the C6 and tried to give it a facelift. Not for me…

  8. Will says:

    I quite like the shape of these, very C6. Very modern… Jaguar are trying to shed their Arthur Daley/Golf Club multiple personality dichotomy.

    “The first thing that surprises is that the ride initially feels a little stiff-legged, a little bony on typically pock-marked UK backroads. That’s a little disappointing if you’re after a car that truly cossets.”

    That paragraph is what disappointments me most. Previously, comfortable suspension-ed cars had been compared to Jaguars (eg. Xantias, 607s in reviews) in terms of the XJ being the benchmark for a comfortable saloon.

    It’s little disappointing, then, that they’ve decided to take the German route of harsh, stiff suspension = “sporty.”

    We are being condemned to this view of how a car should ride by an ever-increasing number of manufacturers who are trying to emulate the Germans (if they aren’t already part of a German organisation).

    That might be a good idea for doing 200mph on an empty Autobahn, but it’s a bad idea for the pock-marked, potholed and under-funded roads of the UK.

  9. CMPD says:

    Sorry, this car doesn’t do anything for me looks-wise. That gaping mouth, weaselly little lights, dull doors. Looks like a Vauxhall Calibra on steroids. I agree with DaveH. Frankly, it’s boring and annoying.

  10. David 3500 says:

    I agree, it does look ugly from the back-end. I followed a fleet of three examples travelling near Exeter back in December and was unfortunate enough to be stuck directly behind one of them at the traffic lights for five minutes. Its rump certainly didn’t grow on me in that time!

    I think it is a shame that Jaguar has ditched the 3-litre V6 petrol engine for an entry model when this was the volume seller of the previous generation XJ range. Moreover, when designing the new XJ, they did not consider the potential of using Land Rover’s LR-TDV8 at a later date. In tuned form, where there is greater opportunity to have more engine power because of the XJ’s lower body weight compared to the existing Range Rovers, this would have given Jaguar a ‘halo’ diesel-engined variant with which to compete against its obvious rivals.

  11. DaveH says:

    @David 3500
    I think the lack of foresight in not using the V6 or V8 diesel shows Jaguar are still hamstrung with the same problems that they have always had. The XF Estate has still not appeared, the X-TYPE should have been replaced with a reskin and the F-TYPE should have been produced.

  12. Ianto says:

    Luke McCormack :I’d have one of these over any full-size German luxury saloon. I saw the pictures of them and I thought it looked smart despite the questionable rear end.
    That was until I saw one in the metal as I pulled up behind one when it was waiting due to roadworks on the road. This car has presence and it means business. With sales off to a roaring success with the new XJ, I can’t see Jaguar looking back. Not that they are with the successful XF anyway.
    Audi, BMW and Mercedes may start losing sleep over the sales stolen from them by the claws of the Big Cat

    But BMW are good though, aren’t they?

  13. Richard Kilpatrick Richard Kilpatrick says:

    Keith Adams :
    Just don’t expect it to ride as well as your C6…

    What, my C6? Well, that’s currently in getting the suspension sphere they replaced three weeks ago replaced again because “something has pierced it” (you know how the suspension works and how ludicrous that is) and can’t go in a straight line because the 407-derived front suspension is doing the 407 trick of devouring balljoints which Citroen UK won’t replace (only tighten) until they fail – that generally means “the hub carrier has departed from the suspension.”

    C6s are pretty and unusual, but my long-term ownership experience has just made me hate Peugeot Citroën even more. It takes nothing away from the great cars like the DS, GS and CX or the Xantia which I ran about in for a few thousand miles and impressed me, but the C6 is a very bad choice.

    FWIW, the 18″ wheel V6 models don’t ride that well either – particularly when they keep going wrong!

  14. Andrew Elphick says:

    Richard, send the very nice Julie an email – an afternoon tour will cheer you up no end:

    http://www.jaguar.com/gl/en/#/experience/visits/factory_visits

  15. Richard Kilpatrick Richard Kilpatrick says:

    Andrew, I keep thinking I need a car for a photoshoot. Usually dealers are happy to oblige, but given that I’m in Birmingham(ish)…

    They’d have to lend me an XJ or XK though as, if I borrowed an XF and liked it, I’d probably cry 😉

  16. Lord Sward says:

    @Richard Kilpatrick
    I wonder how much that has to do with the terrible residuals PSA are experiencing on the C6?

  17. Richard Kilpatrick Richard Kilpatrick says:

    Lord Sward :
    @Richard Kilpatrick
    I wonder how much that has to do with the terrible residuals PSA are experiencing on C6?

    To be fair, by all modern, logical benchmarks the C6 itself is better equipped and more acceptable to the consumer in order to compete; whether it’s more or less affected by the Dealer Network is hard to measure as there are so few of them and big Citroëns have always had terrible residuals.

    However, I do think the awful dealer support and patchy quality of PSA cars is why they have poor residuals overall.

    Bear in mind few, if any, C6 owners paid the list price. The residuals are a joke to begin with as the list price is pretty much £8-14K higher than anyone actually paid for one.

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