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First Drive

2015 Jaguar XJ 3.0 V6 Diesel LWB review

In the face of increased competition from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, Jaguar has refreshed its XJ for the 2016 model year. We drive it on UK roads

Words By What Car? Staff

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Jaguar has been on a bit of a new model blitz of late. It has already launched the new XE and second-generation XF, and, of course, there's the upcoming F-Pace. Despite this, Jaguar has also found the time to refresh its XJ saloon. There’s an updated diesel engine, new infotainment and a few visual tweaks.

Competition in the luxury sector is tougher than ever, though. BMW has recently released its all-new 7 Series, while the Mercedes S-Class is always a strong contender. With this generation of XJ now six years old, has Jaguar done enough to keep ahead of the pack?

What’s the Jaguar XJ Autobiography LWB 3.0 V6 300PS like to drive?

There are two big changes that affect the driving experience of this facelifted XJ diesel. The most obvious difference is with the reworked 3.0 litre V6 diesel. The twin-turbocharged unit now has an additional 25bhp and torque is boosted, too.

Unsurprisingly, then, performance is improved; you can now do 0-60mph in a brisk 5.9sec, 0.1sec faster than before. On the road the engine always feels muscular, helping the car surge forward with just a prod of the accelerator.

The changes also improve economy, with a claimed combined figure of 48mpg when the XJ is fitted with 20in wheels. Official CO2 emissions are also down by 10g/km over the old model at 155g/km. Unfortunately, though, these figures are beaten by both the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class.

The other big change is with the steering. This is now an electrically assisted system that contributes to the improved economy. The good news is that you still get a decent idea of what the front wheels are up to through the steering wheel. There's plenty of precision, too.

It’s just a shame the ride is never as serene as you’d hope from a big luxury car. Even in Normal mode, you feel most road imperfections through the seat, although larger bumps are better contained. We'd wager the standard 19in wheels may offer some improvement over the optional 20in wheels we tried, however.

What’s the Jaguar XJ Autobiography LWB 3.0 V6 300PS like to inside?

First impressions are very good, especially on our high-spec Autobiography test car. The leathers and veneers look and feel of a high quality, while the dashboard swoops pleasingly around you and into the doors.

However, further inspection reveals that the hide isn’t quite as soft as you might hope at this money, while the cabin can feel a little tight. Not helping is the XJ's low roofline. While it may give the XJ its distinctive look, it compromises headroom front and rear. Anyone over six feet tall is likely to find their head brushing against the roof no matter how low you set the seats. We’d also like to see the rear seats recline a little more for the ultimate in relaxed cruising.

Jag's new 10.1in InControl Touch Pro infotainment system is a highlight of the cabin, though. Now offering Smartphone-style swipe and pinch menu navigation, it’s easy to get around and reasonably responsive in almost all situations. It’s just a shame the Autobiography model's standard rear screens can only be navigated using a remote control and aren’t touchscreen too.

The TFT instrument cluster has also been worked on and now offers full-screen maps. It's a great idea in principal but the maps look a little dated, while other information isn’t as clear as it could be. Audi and BMW do it better.

Should I buy one?

That depends entirely on what you look for in a luxury car. If you are a keen driver who is looking for something a little different to the usual German suspects, there is a lot to like about the XJ. The interior is still a welcoming place, it's still brilliant to drive for its size and the updates have improved running costs.

The problem is that newer rivals are significantly better for similar money. Not only do they offer more interior space but they should also prove to be even cheaper to run, have more equipment and, crucially, they ride better no matter if you're sitting in the front or the back.

What Car? says...

Rivals

BMW 7 Series

Mercedes S-Class

Jaguar XJ 3.0 V6 diesel Autobiography LWB

Engine size 3.0-litre diesel

Price from Β£79,600

Power 296bhp

Torque 516lb ft

0-62mph 5.9 seconds

Top speed 155mph

Fuel economy 48.0mpg

CO2 124g/km