If there was a criticism of the previous Jaguar XJ, its yesteryear-aping appearance aside, it’s that its cabin was short on space. Not any more. At least, certainly not in long-wheelbase form, which has ample rear legroom and respectable headroom, and whose front cabin also has sufficient room for the tallest of drivers.
Nevertheless, despite the adequate interior volume, Jaguar has retained the XJ’s cockpit-like feel, with a high transmission tunnel which, like those of the XF and current XK, features a rotating gearknob as part of the ‘welcome’ when one starts the car.
The XJ’s driving position itself is fine and features a particularly well shaped and sized steering wheel, with gearshift paddles to its rear. Ergonomically, this is a fine cabin.
It’s also one that looks the part at a distance and in parts. Leather and well-finished wood adorn most surfaces, and there is a new-to-Jaguar digital dashboard display, in place of conventional, real analogue dials. Its resolution is fabulously high and there are some neat graphics: speeds closest to the car’s current velocity are highlighted, manual gearchange selection is shown beautifully and the left dial is replaced by a small sat-nav map prompt at times.
However, it serves to make the central touch-screen display poorer than its mediocre resolution and design would otherwise appear, while in a few other places the cabin doesn’t quite come up to scratch; the materials of the air vents, for example, can’t match their appearance.
Unfortunately, the mid-life facelift has failed to address our grievances with some of the interior trim, which still lack the tactillity of some German rivals. The interior revisions have introduced updates to the navigation system and a new Meridian stereo option.
The XJ’s extended brightwork package also creates some harsh reflections, especially when the shades for the panoramic roof are folded away.
A taller profile at the rear of the XJ has given it one major advantage over its predecessors: boot volume has increased to 520 litres, a volume that’s now class average and betters that of a BMW 7-series.