Jaguar XJ saloon
Price £58,690 - £99,370
- Beautiful interior
- Stylish design
- Good to drive
- Feeling its age
- Ride is a bit firm
- Tight rear headroom
At a glance
“This generation of Jaguar XJ was the first to shake off the brand’s rather dowdy image, beginning its current revival. Rivals are starting to leave it behind in terms of technology, however.”
As the company's largest and most luxurious saloon car, the Jaguar XJ is tasked with taking on the likes of the Mercedes S-Class, Lexus LS, BMW 7 Series and Audi A8. Like these cars, the Jaguar XJ is available in both standard and long-wheelbase form, with the latter providing much more room for passengers in the back to stretch out and enjoy the beautifully crafted interior.
However, unlike many of its rivals, the Jaguar XJ has always appealed more to the luxury saloon owner who like to drives themselves, rather than be driven by a chauffeur. Compared to its rivals from BMW, Mercedes and Audi, the Jag has a somewhat firmer ride, which leads to a slightly sportier driving experience than anything in this class bar the Porsche Panamera (which is more definitely sporty than the Jaguar). So if you’re after the ultimate in cosseting luxury from your executive saloon, you may want to look elsewhere.
Wherever you sit, however, there's no denying the Jaguar XJ has one of the nicest interiors of any car in this class. It's unlikely you’ll ever get bored of the theatrical rising gear selector and twirling air vents when you start the car up, while the soft leather upholstery and configurable interior mood lighting make it feel like a deliciously modern private member's club inside.
Whichever of the five trim levels you go for – Luxury, Premium Luxury, Portfolio, R-Sport or Autobiography – your car will come pretty well equipped. Highlights of the standard equipment list includes alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, automatic wipers, a panoramic glass sunroof, electrically adjustable steering wheel, sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, voice control, automatic LED lights and heated leather seats all round.
As you go up the trim levels, however, things get even plusher, with softer leather, rear-seat entertainment systems, TV tuners, a heated steering wheel, massaging seats and softer carpets all featuring.
Under the bonnet, the most popular option is the 3.0-litre diesel, as it provides the best balance between performance and efficiency. It produces 296bhp, which is usefully spread right across the rev range, while fuel economy of 49.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km aren’t bad for such a big, heavy car.
Diesel versions of the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class are cleaner and more efficient, however, and will therefore be more appealing to chauffeur businesses. The lack of a hybrid option for the XJ also marks it out compared to its more modern rivals.
In fact, if you don’t want the diesel, you’ve only got a couple of very thirsty petrol engines to choose from. There's a 335bhp supercharged 3.0-litre V6 which doesn’t offer much extra performance compared to the diesel and will be much more expensive to buy and run, or there's a couple of 5.0-litre supercharged V8s. They produce either 503 or 542bhp, with the latter only available in the high-performance, long-wheelbase-only XJR super saloon. These V8-powered versions manage the 0-62mph sprint in 4.9 and 4.6 seconds respectively.
Our choice would be the 3.0-litre diesel in Portfolio spec. The equipment list is as long as your arm and the diesel engine provides the best economy in the range, with solid performance to boot.
Although Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested the Jaguar XJ, we reckon it would stand up well in a collision. There's loads of safety equipment, including the mandatory airbags, stability control and anti-lock brakes. As well as these items, there's also autonomous emergency braking (which can brake the car automatically) All Surface Progress Control (which can improve grip in slippery conditions by favouring the wheels with the most grip) and tyre-pressure monitoring. Combine this with strong – yet light – aluminium construction and the XJ should prove to be a safe car.
As an ownership proposition, the XJ has done well with buyers, coming an impressive 50th (out of 150 cars surveyed) in our 2016 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. A couple of things that should temper enthusiasm, however, are the fact that this 50th-place finish represents a 43-place drop on last year, plus the fact that the Jaguar was ranked 137th for reliability.
The Jaguar XJ diesel engine offers decent fuel economy, but its petrol engines are quite thirsty
Powerful engines and sharp handling make the Jaguar XJ a joy to drive
The Jaguar XJ has lots of standard equipment but a fairly firm ride
The Jaguar XJ has decent boot space and a huge amount of legroom in the back
Owners rave about the Jaguar XJ in customer satisfaction surveys