Since its foundation in 1922, Jaguar has come a long way from specialising in sidecars and something that the Two Fat Ladies probably drove around in. When one hears the words ‘comfort’, ‘style’ and ‘sophistication’ coupled with the word ‘car’, the mind often drifts to the prowess of the Jaguar.
Since its launch in 1968, the Jaguar XJ series has been no exception. Often found on photographs advertising other products such as fancy hotels and risqué holidays in the Middle East, the XJ has become the staple of luxury not only in the United Kingdom, but all across the world. After being unveiled, the striking design of the slender body and broadened front grill soon became the poster-boy for all Jaguar products. This design has remained throughout the decades and is something that any six-year-old boy since 1968 would be able to point out.
However, in 2009 Jaguar did something different, they brought to the worlds attention, a different kind of monster entirely. To say that there was a certain level of risk involved in the new design is a considerable understatement. Gone are the straightened grills that so many drivers have admired through their rear-view mirrors, and lost too is the Olympian bonnet that so many wedding photographers have struggled to get into shot.
The new XJ has a rounded, more Audi-ish grill, and a bonnet that looks suspiciously similar to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The question that everyone has been asking since 2009, is ‘have they pulled it off?’
Remarkably, they have. If you were to take a deeper look into the shape and style of the car, you can just see the old XJ shape, petering through the design. Yet for such a large car, it is a joy to drive. The new XJ has been well documented for its smooth ride and agile handling of the road, gliding around the trickiest corner like –well, like a glider. The performance of the car is also a highly valued topic among Jaguar enthusiasts, with a choice of engines from the V3.0 Diesel to the V5.0 Supersport if you enjoy driving on the autobahn. The five-litre V8 can reach 60mph in 5.7 seconds, which is a massive achievement for a car that weighs just less than two tonnes.
But what of the interior and the cockpit? The new XJ is made for those long journeys where company directors have to travel the lengths of the British Isles from one important golf course to the next, making comfort number one priority for the XJ. Although a tiny amount of space has been sacrificed in the sportier version, it is still the champion of its class and outranks the majority, if not all of its competitors. The interior also comes with all the toys that one would expect of any modern car, with touch screen dashboards, luxurious seat massages and even an optional television if you find yourself travelling with rowdy passengers. Of course, if you are travelling alone and wish for a relaxing journey home and wish to relax to the Für Elise, the twenty-speaker surround sound system designed by Bowers & Wilkins is a welcome addition to any car.
Overall, the new Jaguar XJ is a much-rounded version of its predecessors, offering a new, much more modern and luxurious approach to car design. The great news is that if you can’t afford to shell out £90,000 for a new car, the XJ is already appearing on the second hand market and can be found at a much more welcome price for the vast luxury it provides.