There are two supercharged petrol engines – a 335bhp 3.0 V6 and a 503bhp 5.0 V8. Both make the XJ seriously quick, however the 3.0 V6 diesel is a much better buy. It’s still capable of hauling the XJ to 60mph in just 6.0 seconds, and its meaty torque reserves means it’s more relaxing to drive than either of the petrols.
The XJ is lighter than other luxury saloons, so it’s remarkably agile. It’s also easy to place the car with pinpoint precision thanks to the car’s accurate steering – you’ll quickly forget you’re driving something well over five metres long. The drawback of this sporty setup is a firm low-speed ride. If comfort is your top priority, you’re better off with a Mercedes S-Class.
There’s some gentle chatter from the diesel engine at idle, but even when you accelerate hard, there’s barely more than a low grumble from the twin exhaust pipes. Once it's settled into a cruise, only the lower numbers on the rev counter mark it out from the petrol-engined cars, which are also silky smooth. However, the XJ does kick up a bit more road noise than a Mercedes S-Class, so it’s not as hushed on the motorway.
The XJ is cheaper than a Mercedes S-Class, but is pricier than an equivalent Audi A8. Resale values are predicted to be better than both those cars, though. The diesel model can manage a healthy 47mpg, but you’ll need to be an oil baron if you plan to use either of the supercharged petrol cars in anger – even when you’re stroking it around, you’ll be lucky to better 20mpg.
Interior quality isn’t quite up there with a Mercedes S-Class or an Audi A8, but most of the materials are still very swanky and everything feels solidly constructed. The XJ is built almost entirely of aluminium, so rust is never going to be a problem. Mechanical reliability shouldn’t be, either – the XJ itself didn’t feature in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey, but the mechanically similar XF achieved an ‘excellent’ score.
Unsurprisingly, the XJ comes with all the latest electronic driver aids, and all occupants are protected by a multitude of airbags. On top of that, the bonnet is sprung-loaded to help protect pedestrians in the event of a collision. There’s no shortage of security deterrents, either, so the light-fingered fraternity would do well to look elsewhere.
The lavish veneers, old-school bullseye air vents and ebony and chrome detailing punch home the old-money message. These traditional ingredients are complemented by Jaguar’s signature, rising rotary gear selector, a touch-screen infotainment system and digital instrument dials. Getting comfortable is easy, thanks to the electrically adjustable seats and steering wheel. However, rear visibility is compromised by that swooping roofline.
In the front, there is loads of head- and legroom, but shimmy your derrière into the rear, and things aren’t quite so impressive. You sit very low, and there’s not a great deal of headroom, although there’s oceans of legroom (with an extra 125mm in long-wheelbase cars). You can pack an awful lot of luggage into the 520-litre boot, too.
All XJs are lavishly equipped, with leather-trimmed, electric front seats, dual-zone climate control, twin glass sunroofs and a touch-screen infotainment system. Even so, there are still lots of additional toys to choose from, including a 20-speaker Meridian stereo upgrade and a rear-seat multimedia package that features two 8-inch LCD screens and touch-screen remote control.
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The V6 diesel is the engine of choice if you’re in the market for an XJ. It’s powerful and refined, and its relatively light thirst gives the XJ an impressive cruising range.