We have to hold our hands up and declare a bias. We like Jaguars. We’re British and – despite Jaguar now being owned by Tata – we still think of the Jaguar as British. So you would reasonably expect the same sort of predisposition to home-brand marques as you would get from the German car press for Mercedes or the Italians for Ferrari.But we always try to be objective. And we have to say that both objectively and subjectively Jaguar has done a brilliant job with the new XJ. The styling is modern and very much 21st century. Sure, there are contentious elements, but it would have to be very bland for there not to be. And bland it isn’t. But it does look like a Jaguar – probably helped by the Jaguar XF coming first – and just as importantly it feels like a Jaguar.
The interior was always going to be difficult, but for us it’s a triumph. A great mix of pleasing detail, terrific functionality and technical wizadry. The tech stuff won’t frighten off the technophobes, but there is an absolute plethora of gadgets and gizmos for those who love them. And it feels right. It feels comfortable and cosseting. It feels like you’re in something special. Bravo.
But the proof of the pudding will be in how it drives. It looks like it’s going to be a month or two before there are cars for us to test, so we’ll have to wait. But if the benchmark set by the new XF is matched or bettered, then we feel sure the Jaguar XJ will be a delight. Jaguar claim it will do ‘Waft-Mode’ and uber-saloon GT with equal aplomb. If it does, it will clean up.
Finally, there seems to be a realistic option to the S Class, the 7 Series and the A8. But we don’t think it stops there. We think it makes the Maserati Quattroporte look a bad decision, and puts in to question how sensible a buy a Porsche Panamera will be. We think it is stylish enough to stand up with the Quattroporte and – if its driving dynamics are anything close to expectations – then we’d take one over a Panamera. It looks a lot better – inside and out – and won’t attract the same sort of negativity from the public as a big, bloated Porsche. People are still kindly disposed towards Jaguars – despite the problems of the past – and for anyone considering a Panamera the Jaguar XJ offers a much more enticing prospect.
So far then, a distinct thumbs-up and a big round of applause for Jaguar is certainly deserved. But we reserve final judgement until we’ve driven one.
Looks damn promising though.
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