You may think that such a long wheelbase version would require a big engine to power it, but the truth is that the 3.0V6 is well up to coping with all you ask of it.
The new engine is a derivative of the bigger 5.0V8 series but it’s more economical and less polluting and you do not loose anything in terms of refinement, response or smoothness. It’s all you could want in a Jaguar, and proves less is more.
The new XJ series is available as 12models with 340bhp 3.0V6 and 510bhp 5.0V8 petrol or 275bhp 3.0V6 diesels engines, four trim levels and two wheelbases and prices run from £ 56,265 to £ 95,270.
Our long wheelbase Portfolio 3.0V6 engine produced 332lbft of torque from 3,500rpm and it was very long geared in its top eighth gear, which helps explain the surprisingly good economy achieved on test for a 5.25M long car and weighing nearly 1,800KG.
The powertrain was outstandingly quiet when idling or under modest load or when cruising, and there was no discernable vibration sitting in traffic. The silky smooth changes up and down the box were perfectly in keeping with the nature of the engine.
Steering and slowing the Jaguar XJ was similarly effortless. Only light pressure was needed on the wheel or brake pedal to affect a turn or stop. The big car needed space to manoeuvre but it did so without much effort from the driver.
Even so at speed the feedback was very good and the car could be placed very precisely through a sweeping curve. There was no vibration or kick-back over bad surfaces or at high speed.
Underfoot, the brakes’ power was immense so modest pressure brought about rapid deceleration in a very controlled manner and the electric parking brake securely held it on our test slope.
The XJ is a big and roomy car, some 12.5 cms or 5-inches longer in the wheelbase than the standard model, with very good access, a generous boot behind a small opening lid and abundant oddments space in the cabin (see left). The seats are not particularly deeply shaped but they do hold you well and there’s a lot of adjustment room on the front pair. In the back, legroom is particularly generous thanks to the additional wheelbase increment and headroom is good as well.
The suspension was sublime, being soft for bad city roads but firm when needed as speed increased and the car was pushed through corners with the result it was an entirely predictable and safe handling car with a slight tendency to run wide on bends but which instantly came back on line when you lifted off. Sophisticated electronics not only keeps the occupants safe but sensors detect pedestrians in an accident and mitigate the impact while normal motorway driving is made easier by the automatic speed limiter.
It is utterly composed when accelerating hard, when overtaking in mid-range and covering the miles on motorway or main roads. This is a real long distance express.
Visibility is clear all round and unusually so for a modern car the roof pillars are slim to reduce the blindspot-arc while the wipers are quick and large. The very bright headlights are wide and far reaching and “look” around a corner when turning for added safety. You also get a very good parking aid system to help place it in confined spaces.
Jaguar know they are onto a winner with the XJ and that it has immense appeal to executives and business drivers and its good standard equipment is complimented by a huge range of optional extras, which can dramatically increase the price as well. My advice would be to carefully consider which model you would buy and then spend another few hours deciding how much more you want to add to make this a truly bespoke luxury experience. Whatever you pick, you’ll not be disappointed. Just surprised at how good it is.
Jaguar XJ 3.0 Supercharged Portfolio LWB Price: £75,835
Mechanical: 340ps 3.0V6, 8-sp automatic
Combined mpg: 29.4mpg (30mpg on test)
Max speed: 155mph
CO2 emissions: 224gkm
Insurance group: 49
BIK rating: 35pc
Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited miles