The first car badged Jaguar XJ appeared in 1968, with 2.8 and 4.2-litre straight-six engines. Through three different series this Mk1 remained in production right until 1992, although latterly only in small numbers in V12 form. The rest of the range had already been replaced by the square-headlamped 1986 XJ40. There was a return to round lights in the mid-1990s, and steel-bodied XJs continued until 2003 and the introduction of the aluminium X350-series XJ.
When we last reviewed the previous Jaguar XJ we concluded that it was “a great shame this cutting-edge car is wrapped up in a body and interior that hark back to a different age”. Despite its landmark diesel engine, advanced aluminium structure and air suspension that allowed it to “beat its rivals for refinement and luxuriousness”, there was no doubt that the XJ TDVi should have been “more confident and more forward-looking”.
Fast forward to today and the latest XJ couldn’t be more different. That it’s more confident and forward-looking in appearance is in absolutely no doubt. It’s part of an outwardly and inwardly revived Jaguar marque that seems more comfortable within itself, having found its place as a maker of, as Jaguar’s strapline says, “fast, beautiful cars”.
The mainstay of the range is the V6-powered 3.0-litre diesel, which will take the vast majority of sales. Jaguar has recently introduced a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 and eight-speed auto to the XJ range (replacing the 5.0-litre V8) whilst the supercharged Supersports V8 tops the range. Both these petrol variants are fringe sellers, especially in the UK.
Trim levels run from Luxury, through Premium Luxury to Portfolio, with all versions available in long or standard wheelbase forms.