March 3, 2015

New Jaguar XJ – the Interior

The interior of the new Jaguar XJ

The interior of the new Jaguar XJ


The interiors of Jaguars have always been ‘Gentleman’s Club’ by default. But the new XF took Jaguar away from that style in to a much more contemporary, design-lead interior that actually works remarkably well. And, as we expected, that’s what Jaguar have done with the new XJ – but more so.

The interior of the new XJ doesn’t feel like that of any other big car. It still feels Jaguar. It’s hard to define though; it’s more of a feel from sitting in the car. It doesn’t look anything like any Jaguar you’ve seen before. It feels organic. You can still have all the wood you’d expect in a Jaguar, but now it feels more boat-inspired; contemporary; cool. It feels as good as the DB9 interior, and that is very good (but then Ian Callum was part of the DB9 design team). Don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing like the interior of the DB9. But – just like the DB9 – it feels ‘right’.

The back of the new Jaguar XJ is a good place to be

The back of the new Jaguar XJ is a good place to be

The sight-line at the front takes you to the very edge of the cabin, and the panoramic roof makes it feel light and spacious. But you don’t feel like you’re floating around in a great big space like you do in an S-Class or 7 Series. It’s cosseting. But there’s plenty of head room (I’m 6’3″ and far from petite!) and the back, even in SWB mode, has plenty of leg room.

The instrument cluster has gone ‘Virtual’ using a TFT screen to display information. But don’t worry, it’s not gone all ‘Playstation’. It displays good-looking traditional dials on the screen, but can deliver a plethora of other information as you want it. The XJ has a hugely impressive Bowers and Wilkins Sound System, delivering up to 1200W (the fastest concert hall on wheels, according to Jaguar) from 21 speakers. The seats are, as you would expect, swathed in leather and pretty comfortable too. But they still look, and feel, like Jaguar seats, with contrast piping and Leaping Cat motifs.

The new Jaguar XJ uses a 'virtual' instrument panel

The new Jaguar XJ uses a 'virtual' instrument panel

And there’s other clever detail too. I’m not a fan of voice-control – it’s usually hit and miss – but the system in the new XJ seems to be easier to use, more intuitive and – according to Jaguar – extremely accurate in use. But we didn’t play with it so, for now, we’ll have to take their word for it. The touch-screen SatNav and information centre on Jaguars is a strong point anyway, and the new XJ has even more functionality than before.

Also on offer is a dual-view screen in the front – very similar to the Split Screen COMAND on the latest Mercedes S Class - which allows the front seat passenger to enjoy a DVD whilst the driver is still delivered the SatNav or whatever car-related information is required. Neat trick.

For us, the interior is a resounding success. It caters sufficiently to the old guard by offering traditional Jaguar niceties like the wood and piping, but it’s contemporary, stylish and well-conceived and in no way feels fuddy-duddy. It’s also packed with gizmos – which is great – but they’re not intimidating for the technophobe.

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