There are three engines to choose from in the XJ. At the top of the tree is the most powerful version of the supercharged petrol V8, available exclusively in the XJR. It’s exceedingly rapid but very thirsty. There’s also a slightly less potent V8 that is available on the top-spec long-wheelbase model.
The other petrol unit, a less powerful V6, is significantly slower. We’d stick with the third option, the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, which is almost as quick and far more pleasant to drive, with a lot more overtaking power. Thanks to its low-down torque, it also needs fewer revs to get going.
An automatic gearbox is standard fitment and smooth in most situations. It can be hesitant when pulling away from low speeds, however.
Jaguar XJ ride comfort
Despite being the biggest, most luxurious model in Jaguar’s range, the XJ can’t escape its sports-saloon heritage. You’d never call the ride uncomfortable, but you do feel the road’s surface much more than in its rivals, even in the adaptive suspension’s softest setting.
While that might be acceptable for those who drive their own cars, it’s too stiff for the long-wheelbase versions that are more likely to be chauffeur driven.
You can help things by avoiding the larger alloy wheels that are available as an option.
Jaguar XJ handling
The XJ is smaller and lighter than many of its rivals. It feels remarkably agile, even in long-wheelbase guise. It changes direction effortlessly, with little body roll.
The steering is precise and weights up naturally as you start to corner harder. It also offers very good feedback for this class of car.
You soon forget that this is a car that’s well over five metres long; you can have some genuine fun in the XJ regardless of which engine you opt for.
Jaguar XJ refinement
There’s some chatter from the diesel engine at idle and vibration when the start/stop system kicks in. Thankfully it’s more subdued above idle; 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 distinguish the diesel-engined cars from the petrol-engined ones. The petrols are even smoother across the rev range, although they are audible at higher revs.
However, the XJ does kick up a bit more road noise than a Mercedes S-Class, and there’s some wind noise too, so it’s not as hushed on the motorway.
The entry-level engine is easily the pick of the range thanks to its combination of performance and relatively low running costs. It’s generally refined, although you can tell it’s a diesel at idle.
3.0 V6 petrol
This supercharged petrol is also found in Jaguar’s sporty F-Type. There’s a decent amount of response from low revs, but the real meat is higher up the rev-range. It’s thirsty, however.
This engine is available in two different power outputs with the higher–powered version in the XJR and the lower-powered one in the XJ Autobiography Long Wheelbase. Both generate serious performance but are thirsty.