What is it? A mild revamp of the flagship Jaguar XJ luxury saloon.
What’s new? Upgraded engine, subtle styling tweaks, improved infotainment system
Type of review: Taster test
The Jaguar XJ has always been an exclusive alternative for those who require executive car luxury with plenty of interior space. But it is seven years since the latest XJ launched as designer Ian Callum’s radical reworking of a long-lived Jaguar line, so a revamp, even a subtle one is overdue, together with addressing one serious failing against rivals such as the Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series.
So the recipe in the new 2016 model year Jaguar XJ begins with some reworking of the exterior look. The grille is larger and closer to the vertical, there are chrome additions and most notably new LED headlamps with Jaguar’s signature J-blade daytime running lights – in this case with two blades – incorporated. The rear LED lamps gain new signatures too.
In today’s environment the 3.0-litre V6 diesel is the far more sensible engine in the XJ, a great deal more eco-friendly than its 5.0-litre petrol sibling, and its figures are improved in the latest version, already familiar in the XF range. Now Euro-6 compliant, emissions are cut by 10g/km despite power increasing by 25bhp and torque by 74lbft. And notable among other mechanical changes is the electric power steering replacing the previous hydraulic unit.
The big change, however, is inside, where the dated infotainment system makes way for an all-new unit dubbed InControl Touch Pro and including door-to-door navigation, iOS and Android smartphone connectivity, a Wi-Fi hotspot and 26-speaker, 1,300W Meridian Digital Reference audio system. A 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster now offers a full-screen navigation display.
What do we think of it? We took out the new Jaguar XJ in long-wheelbase format, with the revised diesel engine and in Autobiography trim – a new range-topping and very plush grade.
It is clear immediately that the engine is a significant improvement – the torque gain adds eagerness to its acceleration, making it easy to forget just how big a car this is, while on the natural environment of the motorway the refinement is to class-topping standard. The steering changes enable easy hustling of the XJ through a series of bends to a level of confidence one simply shouldn’t expect in a car of this length.
It’s inside where one most notices the improvement, however. In terms of Jaguar infotainment InControl Touch Pro is a revelation, easy to use – especially if one owns an iPad or similar – and quick to respond to inputs. While Audi has certainly upped the dashboard game in recent times with its MMI, Jaguar is now competing again.
Verdict: While Audi and BMW’s technological advances ensure that they remain the most popular of the big executive saloons, the changes to the Jaguar XJ serve to make it a choice that appeals more to one’s head whereas it always has appealed to the heart. The XJ is still a step above the rest, retaining its exclusivity.
Jaguar XJ – key specifications
Tested model: Jaguar XJ Autobiography LWB 3.0 V6 300PS
Price: £79,600 plus £1,210 options (Range starts £58,690)
On sale: December 2015
Engine: 3.0 diesel, 295bhp, 516lbft
0-62mph and max speed: 6.2, 155mph
Economy and emissions: 48.0mpg, 155g/km
Test date: December 2015
The Car Expert Taster Tests are concise summaries of new models to the market, that we have driven for under 50 miles. They are often preludes to full road tests of the vehicle at a later date.