What Car? Green Awards 2010 - Luxury cars

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  • The greenest cars revealed
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Best Buy Jaguar XJ 3.0D V6 Luxury
In a class dominated by understated design, the Jaguar XJ’s bold, brash styling takes your breath away like a jab to the kidneys. It’s powerful yet athletic, imposing yet sleek.

Read our review of the Jaguar XJ 3.0D Luxury

No other luxury car gets as much attention for the way it looks.No other luxury car has a cabin like the XJ’s, either. Yes, rivals’ interiors are also high-tech and beautifully trimmed, but the XJ’s has that real ‘wow’ factor.

From the rotary gear selector that rises from the centre console to the cool blue mood lighting and digital instruments, sitting in the Jag is a real event.

It makes you feel special in other ways. You feel cocooned from the outside world and protected by the high windowline as you snuggle into the supremely comfortable driver’s seat. True, your rear-seat passengers may wish for a slightly better view out, but they will enjoy the same classy environment, surrounded by soft leather and highly polished wood veneers.

Things get even better when you fire up the diesel engine. Yes, it’s a diesel, but an incredibly quiet one: there’s no more than a distant, soft rumble, and nothing to disturb the calm. Move off and the telltale surge of torque is there, but so is a petrol-like smoothness and keenness to rev.

Staggering economy
The diesel doesn’t have the petrol engine’s drinking habits, though. Drive gently and it’s possible to get a staggering 40.1mpg out of this Jag – a few years ago, that would have been a good result for an executive car, let alone a five-metre-long luxury car.

One reason for such efficiency is the XJ’s lightweight aluminium structure. It weighs around 150kg less than an equivalent steel body, and a lighter car is a more economical and cleaner car. It’ll accelerate and change direction faster than a heavier one, too.

What’s more, the structure is made from 50% recycled material – enough, Jaguar claims, for a potential saving of three tonnes of CO2 per vehicle, compared with a body made from new aluminium.

The Jag’s green capabilities don’t stop there. An efficient, high-tech diesel engine in a comparatively light car makes for some spectacular emissions figures:
CO2 is just 184g/km, while NOx is an equally impressive 0.142g/km.

Of course, there’s more to these figures than their environmental impact. That low CO2 return means you’ll pay company car tax at just 28% of the Jaguar’s
price, so you’ll pay less to the taxman than you would if you drove most of the XJ’s rivals.

On the road
You’ll enjoy driving the XJ a lot more than you would most of its rivals, too. Direct steering lets you place the car accurately, whether you’re dodging taxis in town or enjoying the twists of a country road. Add outstanding body control and grip, and you’ve got a luxury car that feels as lithe and engaging as a far smaller car.

You might expect such composure to come at the expense of ride quality. Sure, there’s a firmness around town, but it’s controlled and never jarring. Get the Jag on the open road, though, and it’ll serenely transport you wherever you point it. Just steer clear of the biggest optional wheels – they make the ride unsettled.

Thankfully, there’s nothing unsettling about the Jaguar’s other major strength: its refinement. Precious little wind- or road noise permeates the cabin, leaving you and your passengers free to enjoy travelling in grandeur.

Drive past a glass-fronted shop and you can’t help but check out your reflection. The Jaguar XJ is stunning. It’s also the best green luxury car money can buy.

Green car fact file: luxury cars

Best Buy up to £55,000
Jaguar XJ 3.0D V6 Luxury
Price £53,900
Target Price £51,381
CO2 emissions 184g/km
NOx 0.142g/km
Particulate emissions 2.70g/km
Av economy 40.1mpg
Green verdict
Look no further if you want a luxury car that’s as good for the driver as it is for the environment


Best Buy £55,000 to £70,000
Mercedes-Benz S350 CDI Blue Efficiency
Price £57,815
Target Price £53,558
CO2 emissions 199g/km
NOx 0.197g/km
Particulate emissions 0.003g/km
Av economy 37.2mpg
Green verdict
The S350 CDI is a superb luxury car that’s also exceptionally green for its size


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What Car? Green Awards 2010 - Used cars

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