Review

Jaguar XJ saloon

Price  £56,870 - £95,895

Jaguar XJ saloon

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Beautiful design
  • High quality cabin
  • Sporty handling
Cons
  • Slightly firm ride
  • Poor rear headroom
  • Expensive running costs

At a glance

The greenest
Luxury 3.0 V6 Diesel 4dr £56,870
The cheapest
Luxury 3.0 V6 Diesel 4dr £56,870
The fastest
XJR 5.0 V8 Petrol S/C (550PS) 4dr £92,395
Top of the range
Supersport 5.0 V8 Petrol S/C (510PS) LWB 4dr £95,895

"The Jaguar XJ is beautiful, great to drive and has a luxurious cabin, making it one of the best luxury limos around."

Jaguar's on quite a roll right now, with the excellent new Jaguar F-type having just been launched and the BMW 3 Series-rivalling Jaguar XE coming out next year. The current Jaguar XJ saloon was one of the new wave of models from the manufacturer and it features sophisticated looks inside and out.

The XJ is Jaguar's top-of-the-range saloon and it rivals models such as the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S Class. It has plenty of legroom in the back and a classy interior that combines traditional leather, wood, and metal, with the latest clever technology.

Although you are unlikely to buy the XJ to be frugal, Jaguar does offer the car with a 3.0-litre diesel engine that is both quick and economical enough for a car like this. The flagship model is the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 XJR petrol, which is extremely quick, but also very expensive to run. While the XJR Supersport is even faster. The 3.0-litre V6 petrol is smooth and quiet and sits between the XJR and the diesel for economy.

The Jaguar offers plenty of equipment even in the basic model and it is stuffed with kit including panoramic sunroof, sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.1 / 5

Diesel engine offers decent economy but the petrol engines are thirsty

Economy might not matter quite so much to people who buy a Jaguar XJ, but decent fuel consumption is still important. The 3.0-litre diesel engine is the most economical model in the range, but 40mpg is not particularly impressive when you consider the Mercedes S-Class S350 BlueTEC can achieve more than 50mpg. Emissions, meanwhile, are 184g/km so that road tax will cost £225 per year.

If you go for the top-of-the-range V8 model you had better prepare yourself for some big bills. It can return just 24.4mpg, while road tax will be £500 every year. The 3.0-litre V6 petrol, meanwhile, sits between the two, being neither as cheap to run as the diesel or as fast as the flagship petrol. It returns 30mpg and emissions of 224g/km CO2 for road tax of £285 per year.

Despite its premium badge, Jaguar offers fixed-price servicing for the XJ, so you shouldn’t ever get any surprise bills; while the manufacturer's standard three-year warranty can be extended at extra cost. Insurance ranges from group 48 in the 3.0d to group 50 in the supercharged petrol.

Interior & comfort

3.6 / 5

XJ’s sporty handling leaves it with quite a firm ride

The interior in the Jaguar XJ is arguably the nicest in its class, no matter which model you go for. That's because all get leather trim not just on the seats, but on the dashboard and centre console as well, while the air vents are chrome, and the doors are finished with huge slabs of polished wood veneer. You also get a gear selector that rises from the centre console and a flashing starter button. A panoramic sunroof that makes the interior feel light and airy is standard on all models.

That traditional luxury combines with hi-tech kit such as a single-screen infotainment system that can display two things at once, so that the passenger can watch TV while from the driver's seat something else (such as the sat-nav directions) is visible.

The Jaguar XJ's suspension isn’t as comfortable as most cars of this type. But the interior is extremely quiet.

Practicality & boot space

3.7 / 5

Boot space is very good and there are lots of practical touches

The Jaguar XJ's 520-litre boot may not be as deep as some of its rivals, but it is still bigger than you would get in both the Audi A8 and the BMW 7 Series, although the Mercedes S-Class’ is slightly bigger still. The Jaguar's boot also offers a large opening to make getting awkward items in easier.

Getting comfy in the back of the Jaguar is easy, although headroom might be on the low side for taller passengers and isn’t as generous as in the Audi A8. Legroom is plentiful and Jaguar also gives you the option to spec a long wheelbase version, which has a massive 44.1 inches of legroom compared to the short wheelbase car. Owners can also choose to opt for two individual rear seats that have electric adjustment and a massage function.

Storage is also generous and most cubbyholes can fit a bottle of water.

Reliability & safety

3.0 / 5

Owners rave about the car in customer satisfaction surveys

Not too long ago Jaguars had a reputation for patchy build quality, but the company has done an excellent job of rectifying this. The XJ was too new to feature in our JD Power Customer satisfaction survey this year, but Jaguar finished in second place in our manufacturers’ rankings. The company came first in areas such as ride and ease of driving, and third for in-car tech.

Euro NCAP has never tested the Jaguar XJ for safety, but with kit including eight airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, and a bonnet that pops up to protect pedestrians in a collision, we would expect it to score the full five stars. 

Engines, drive & performance

3.7 / 5

The XJ is powerful, agile and a joy to drive

The Jaguar XJ is the best handling car in its class thanks to a hi-tech construction that makes it light, and has the effect of making the car feel smaller than it actually is when you’re driving. Add to that quick steering and very little body lean, and you are unlikely to be disappointed when you get behind the wheel of the XJ.

Backing up the fun drive is excellent performance and even the diesel, which is the slowest model in the range, can get from 0-60-mph in 6.4 seconds. It makes perfect sense if you want a quick car that doesn’t cost a fortune to run.

If you want more speed the 3.0-litre V6 petrol will dually supply it and it can get from 0-60mph in just 5.7 seconds, but it's the range-topping 5.0-litre V8 petrol that is quickest of all, with 0-60mph taking just 4.4 seconds.

Price, value for money & options

2.5 / 5

It’s expensive but high quality – so you get what you pay for

No matter what way you look at it, the Jaguar XJ is not cheap, but the basic model undercuts the entry-level Mercedes S-Class by several thousands of pounds. It also comes with lots of equipment as standard including sat-nav, a leather interior, panoramic sunroof, electrically adjustable seats, dual-zone climate control, and an automatic gearbox. The options list is nearly endless and covers things such as massaging seats, LCD screens for the rear seats, and wireless headphones. Just be bear in mind that the Jaguar will lose quite a lot of value over a three-year period, although this is normal for an expensive saloon such as this.

Be aware that Jaguar offers some competitive deals on finance that are far more generous than you will ever get on a Mercedes S-Class.

What the others say

3.4 / 5
based on 4 reviews
  • 4.0 / 5
    The cabin is stuffed full of hi-tech kit, such as an eight-inch touchscreen that lets passengers watch TV as the driver looks at the sat-nav. Behind the steering wheel, the traditional instrument panel is replaced by a digital display, while the 1,200W Bowers and Wilkins stereo offers crisp and punchy sound quality to rival any car on the market.
  • 5.0 / 5
    "It’s a bit firm around town if we’re being brutal, but the precision the slight tautness produces down a back lane is worth it. The steering is accurate, the brakes assisted but honest. "
  • "Jaguar's new British-built XJ flagship saloon is a rejuvenated, worthy rival to Germany's Audi, BMW and Mercedes."
  • 4.5 / 5
    We’ve picked the XJ 5.0L V8 in £74,355 ‘Portfolio’ spec (‘well posh’ in other words) for our first drive of the new XJ on British roads, this model having come highly recommended as the pick of the bunch, dynamically speaking, by Jaguar’s core development team. Their reasoning is that the normally aspirated 5-litre V8 is actually the lightest engine in the range, which results in the chassis balance being damn near perfect.

Last updated 
26 Jun 2014

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