Jaguar XJ 3.0D V6 Portfolio
Run by Pete Tullin, road test editor
Final mileage 33,000
List price 66,500
Target Price 60,718
Why it was on test To see if us Brits are still as
good at building luxury cars as we used to be
I like to think the Prime Minister reads What Car?. I can almost hear the conversation between David Cameron and a Sir Humphrey-esque aide. What Car? seems to know its onions and really rates the new Jaguar XJ. Lets order
a fleet of them to bus our boys and girls around. Best make sure you spec Cleggs with the optional smokers pack.
Looking back over my 12 months with the XJ, I feel Ive done as much to promote the best of British as HM government.
Im no longer one of lifes smokers, so decided against the ashtray in my top-end Portfolio-spec XJ. Instead, I settled on the 1800 Driver Assistance Pack, which includes active cruise control and blind-spot monitoring, and a digital TV for 510. Theres little need to add much else because Portfolio trim comes with enough standard trinkets to make a sultan swoon.
The central screen, with its pyramid-shaped pixels, is nothing short of witchcraft. The driver can see the sat-nav map displayed while the front passenger can watch a DVD or catch up with EastEnders. Genius.
A pair of wireless headphones is also included, so while the present Mrs T was listening to the latest Walford shenanigans through them, I got the chance to belt out my iPod tunes through the thunderous 1200-watt Bowers and Wilkins stereo. That alone made the TV package worth the money.
Ive raved about the way the Jag drives for a year and 30,000 miles. Ive pontificated at length about how I always arrive home feeling fresh after a hard day over a hot keyboard. This is thanks to two things: the standard heated massaging seats and the cars sheer refinement.
The XJ is cathedral-quiet on the motorway, perhaps with the exception of a little too much wind noise permeating the cabin via the full-length glass sunroof. Whats more, the creamy power of the 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine means it never needs to be extended, so theres only ever the slightest murmur from under the bonnet. Ive used the car for all manner of occasions, including E spiriting up the M1 to celebrate wedding nuptials of relatives in Newcastle, and crossing the channel to see old school friends in Holland. The XJ always drew gasps of admiration.
That said, some colleagues have had the temerity to complain to me about the ride being too firm for a luxury car. Others have mentioned that the interior isnt built to the same standard as that of an Audi A8 or Mercedes S-Class. They were right, but they may as well have been talking to the walls because the XJ is a car that wins your heart.
I put that down to the fact that its really more of a sporting saloon than a luxury car. Even with the suspension in its softest mode the big Jag can be hustled through bends without the slightest drama. Try that in an S-Class and your passengers will be sliding across the rear seats like a puppy on freshly mopped linoleum.
Granted, some of the materials used in the cabin arent as dense or as precisely engineered as those in premium German limos, but I defy anyone not to be bowled over by the XJ. My car was decked out in black carbonfibre and leather trim, punctuated by chrome detailing with phosphor-blue cabin lighting. It always felt like an oasis of good taste and tranquillity in an increasingly hectic world.