A reprint of my Jaguar XJ review

This review was written based on the release pictures when the car was put before the media three years ago…..

I actually don’t know whether to be impressed, disappointed or both in the brand new Jaguar XJ6, released today at 5.15am Sydney time. As a Jaguar fan, a motorsport commentator and a person that has had a bit to do with cars, the media and evaluations, the following are my personal thoughts.

Jaguar XJ6 Interior

First up, the interior is simply gorgeous, marvellous, fantastic etc etc. It’s a workspace I could quite happily stay in just to revel in the feel and the look; the steering wheel is simple, elegant and houses audio controls, controls for the virtual dash and more.. A beautiful wraparound wooded strip, wonderfully laid out instruments and controls (great ergonomics), classic chromed air vents, it just looks superb.

The central column is also more of a technological triumph, being a touchscreen style more than the traditional knobs and dials. I’m guessing most of it will be a set and forget feature (and remarkably can be optioned for both digital and analogue televison). It certainly looks the goods. The dash itself has done away with the traditional physical dial cluster; all dials are replicated on a high definition screen for a virtual environment look. Classy? You bet. Effective? You bet. Expensive to repair or replace? My bet is yes.

A multitude of colour combinations for the interior (14 colour themes and 11 veneer choices) will ensure that only the fussy will be….well, fussy about the final finish. Interior switch lighting is a beautiful, almost laser intensive blue (my personal favourite and choice) highlighting what I believe is one of the most remarkably lovely drive spaces of recent times. Dual zone aircon (with quad zone available should Sir or Madam desire) and keyless entry/start are walkup features with the longstanding classic Jaguar sill plates receiving the blue lighting on the Supersport version.

A Voice Activation system debuts in the new XJ, allowing the driver to verbally instruct the sat-nav system, make phone calls or make changes to the Touch Screen display. Should Sir or Madam desire some weight for their musical tastes, there’s a choice of a 400, 600 or range topping 1200 watt Bowers and Wilkins (that’s B&W to us audiophiles) charging up 20 speakers to deliver home theatre quality audio.  At the moment it seems Australia will miss out on the DAB (digital radio option) available in Europe.

Jaguar XJ6 Exterior

The exterior?
It’s a clean design with seeming influences from Volvo, Maserati, Bentley, even a touch of Peugeot, Audi and bugger me, Maybach! It’s cohesive yet somehow…..derivative?
The wraparound headlights are more along the lines of the XF concept, being a more slimline version of what the XF eventually got, flowing to the front wings from the bluff and blunt nose cone. Surprisingly, given the upright grille structure it has a drag coefficient of 0.29 (slippery, apparently) and expected economy from the 3.0L diesel should be around the 9.0L per 100ks on the LWB (a short wheelbase version is available, 125 millimtres less interior space) model or better.
I’m also thinking the nose flags the new corporate identity due to the strong similarity to the XF plus the coupe style profile certainly lends weight to an overall rethink of the brands look.

It looks LOOOOOOOOONG, and is on the LWB version. 5.2 metres thank you kindly….Even though it’s built from aluminium, magnesium and some composites it still weighs in at over 2000kg (gross vehicle weight) yet with the choice of powerplants will crack the sub 6.5 second to 100 kmh mark at its slowest.

Perhaps the big sell point is the panoramic glass roof; a welcome return to luxury for luxury’s sake and engineered into the design from the start. A very dark tint and electric blinds will ensure that, while the roof closed, occupants won’t get too tanned…

LED taillights highlight the Audi-esque rear; a nifty touch to the look is the three blades of lights. The intent is to give an impression of a cat scratch when illuminated. The boot line, from a 3/4 view, looks a little untidy whilst from the direct rear, a clearer look rises from the body-length swage line into the rear window columns whilst delineating the front of the tail lights. The middle of the boot lid itself is badged with the now iconic “Leaper”, the beautiful Jaguar emblem. There’s also a subtle XJ badged, which can be deleted. The front guards are vented just ahead of the A pillar and door hinge line, with a chromed and Jaguar embossed strip highlighting the feature. Naturally these a variety of exterior colours available to complement the interior variety choices.

The range.

There’s four models: the “base” diesel then 3 petrol V8s. The diesel is known as the “Luxury” then upwards from there  are the “Premium Luxury”, the oddly named “Portfolio” and the “Supersport”. These last two are supercharged…..oh and both have differing power and torque outputs. The entry level, if you can call it that, is a 3.0L V6 twin turbo diesel, pumping out 202kW and a mighty galaxy rotatation stopping 600 Newton metres of torque. Handy if you’re Superman and don’t have a phone box nearby. The normally aspirated 5.0L V8 will deliver 283kW and 515 metres of Mr Newton’s best with the two blown eights putting out 346/375 kW and 575/625 Nm between 2500 to 6500 rpm. Economy figures for these two are to released but I think it will be along the lines of “if you have to ask how much…..” All versions run a tidy 6 speed auto and are limited to a mere 250 kilometres per hour.

The drive.

One would expect the Jaguar to drive like a Jaguar, however until I win lotto or Jaguar Australia drops one off in my driveway I’ll have to be content with the opening statement.

The summation.

Sure, I’m biased, being both a Jaguar owner and a supporter of the marque. Jaguar has been in dire need of both reinvigoration and freedom, delivered courtesy of Rohan Tata. The previous model XJ, although a superb vehicle and one I’d delightfully own, needed a change.

Fingers are crossed around the world, in Jaguar fans homes, that this, the new Jaguar XJ, will not only stand up and be counted, it will count for more than the mere sum of this car on its own. It will be counted for Jaguar to survive and thrive.

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