|"The Jaguar XJ combines beautiful craftsmanship and sporty handling to create a genuine contender in the luxury limo segment."|
The latest Jaguar XJ, Jaguar's high-technology flagship car, is in many ways everything that we wanted it to be. Not only is it one of the most distinctive-looking road cars that Jaguar has ever produced, but it's also more fun to drive than many rivals from Mercedes and Audi. However, its stiff suspension does mean that it's not as comfortable as the Mercedes S-Class, while the BMW 7 Series does trump it for performance. There are three engines on offer in the XJ, two petrols and one diesel, and all are very powerful and quiet while on the move. All cars come loaded with luxury equipment and accessories, too. The Jaguar XJ comes in three main specifications – entry-level Portfolio, mid-range Premium Luxury and top-of-the-range V8 Supersport.
High-performance driving pleasure
For a big luxury saloon car, only the BMW 7 Series is better to drive than the XJ – and even then only just. It certainly holds its own next to the Mercedes S-Class, though that car has much more focus on passenger comfort than driver involvement. Its attempts to be the most exciting large car on the road do pit it against the more exotic Porsche Panamera and Maserati Quattroporte, both of which are inevitably even more fun to drive, but it does manage to beat them on luxury. When you’re sat in the driver's seat, the XJ actually feels a lot smaller than its large dimensions really are, thanks to a low driving position and its sloping roof. It feels particularly agile, with its light and responsive steering giving great feedback and making you feel very rooted to the road. There's also very little body roll when driving through corners – which is particularly impressive for such a big car. All engines offer great performance.
Sporty ride and cramped rear compromise comfort
It's often the case that a car sacrifices comfort for sporty performance – which is exactly what the large XJ has done. The Mercedes S-Class, in contrast, manages to absorb pretty much any bumps over rough roads while still being fast, when the XJ can often feel pretty harsh. Plus, for a car in the luxury bracket, there simply isn’t headroom due to the roofline, and if back passengers want to be able to stretch out their legs at all, you should definitely choose the long wheelbase version because the shorter wheelbase does cramp legroom in the rear. All that said, the Jaguar is very quiet, even when driving at motorway speeds, and its smooth automatic gearbox makes day-to-day driving very easy and calm.
The XJ performed very strongly in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. With Jaguar itself holding its position in the manufacturers rankings at number three, the XF came 15th in the top 100 cars in its debut appearance in the poll. That's pretty impressive overall, and shows that there's little evidence to suggest the British-made Jaguar will suffer any major reliability issues over the course of it first years of life. Many of it parts are shared with the smaller XF executive saloon – which came third in the top 100 cars and was easily the best executive car in the survey – so any buyer can have confidence in the XJ. In terms of safety, it hasn’t been put through the Euro NCAP crash safety test, so there's no official gauge of how safe it really it is, but as it comes with eight airbags, traction control, electronic stability control and a pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians from serious injury, it's probably as safe as a can get.
Lots of easy-access boot space
The XJ offers a fairly large 520 litres of boot space (more than the Audi A8), while the boot has a wide door that makes loading bulky items pretty easy, so you can hardly label it impractical. You also get a good selection of large storage cubbies inside the car too, in both the front and the back - most of them large enough to hold a couple of bottles of water and a stash of CDs. There's plenty of room up front for both driver and passenger, with lots of adjustment in the seating position. However, get in the back and you’re sat very low in the car, so you can’t see much, plus any tall passengers may struggle for headroom thanks to sloping roof.
Value for money. Feels luxurious whatever specification you buy
You can’t really describe the XJ as value for money, mainly because the prices across the range do vary to quite a wide degree. With three engines, four specifications and two wheelbases (standard and long) on offer, you end up paying nearly twice the price for the top-of-the-range petrol car as you do for the entry-level diesel model. However, every XJ has the same luxury-car feel, both inside and out, and all come fitted with leather upholstery, electrically adjustable front seats, sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, twin glass sunroofs and an efficient automatic gearbox as standard. You can also add a massage function to the seats and eight-inch LCD screens with wireless headphones in the back if you so desire. Resale values on the used car market are not good, though, with even the most inexpensive XJ suffering massive depreciation, so don’t expect to make much of your outlay back when you do decide to sell it on second-hand.
Diesels are decent, petrols are thirsty
If you buy a car of these large dimensions it's never going to be cheap. But if you want to keep running costs to a minimum we’d recommend going for the V6 diesel engine, which returns 46.3mpg in fuel economy and emits 159g/km in CO2. That's actually pretty amazing considering its performance and size – unless you drive really fast, then of course that figure will be hard to match. The rest of the range varies from 29.4mpg and 224g/km up to 44.8mpg and 167g/km, but the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 Supersport model will only return economy in the high teens at best, with the official figure of 24.4mpg proving very hard to attain. It also, naturally, spits out the most CO2, emitting a hefty 270g/km.
Read more: Jaguar XJ saloon review | CarBuyer http://www.carbuyer.co.uk/reviews/jaguar/xj/saloon/review#ixzz2fVACvzxV
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