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Words: Tim Barnes-Clay
Featured in the July 2017 issue

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Jaguars are well known for their graceful lines – and the XJ, with its lithe, modern day style, backs that up.

The robust, brawny lower section of the Jaguar XJ is juxtaposed with the slender and beautiful quality of the car’s roofline, which takes encouragement from the 1968 Jaguar XJ saloon. The front of the car is very authoritative, with a big grille and an emphatic face.

At the back, the Jaguar XJ has a wholesome, chiselled shape, with a welcome lack of gratuitous ornamentation. The sheet metal of the rear panel keeps its pure form, with a single leaping Jaguar motif making a solid, assured statement. The LED light clusters drape tastefully over the rear wings. It’s all tremendously attractive.

The XJ R-Sport, driven for this test, has a more athletic look than the standard model; dressed powerfully, the car comes with a rear spoiler, privacy glass, a gloss black rear valance and ‘R’ style aerodynamic side sills.

Step inside, and the whole impression is one of personal space – a feeling heightened by the form of the leather-enveloped instrument panel sitting low across the Jaguar XJ. The soft grain hide upholstery features adjustable side bolsters that provide you and your passenger with excellent lateral support during hard cornering. The finishing touch is provided by Jaguar’s ‘R-Sport’ logo, which appears on the tread plates, side power vents and steering wheel.

Behind the Jaguar XJ’s wheel, you are met by the rotary control of the JaguarDrive selector, which, on engine start-up, ascends into your palm. Then animations become visible in the instrument cluster and on the touchscreen. But the interesting thing is that there is no tangible instrument display. Instead, a screen, which uses pleasingly detailed virtual instruments, delivers all the functions performed by long-established dials. It creates a genuine sense of drama, but more significantly it works well.

Under the hood, the Jaguar XJ profits from a formidable and resourceful 3.0-litre V6 power unit, linked up to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The engine, supported by dual turbochargers, thrusts the XJ from zero to 62mph in 6.2 secs, then on to a maximum speed of 155mph. The Jag feels every bit as quick behind the wheel as it advocates it is on paper; it is a splendid sensation – evocative of taking off in an airliner.

But, as anyone who is into prestige car selling or leasing, will explain: it certainly isn’t all about clout. On the move in the big cat, the low amount of tyre-roar and wind whistle means you can chinwag with your passengers without raising your voice. Even when you sink your right foot into the Jaguar XJ’s deep carpet there’s not much more than a low rumble from the twin tail pipes. Indeed, it is very hard to tell it apart from a petrol-propelled XJ, once it is munching the motorway miles.

Undeniably, the Jaguar XJ makes every journey an outstanding one, both for you and your fellow travellers, but this level of classiness doesn’t come bargain-basement. You must fork out over £70,000 for the R-Sport 3.0 V6 diesel version of the Jaguar XJ. But, buying or leasing an XJ is the way to go if you want power, luxury, sophistication and a British icon in your life!

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