The new Jaguar XJ has been pitted against the Mercedes S-class in the latest Autocar head-to-head.
Writer Matt Saunders pitted the Jaguar XJ 3.0D Portfolio LWB against the Mercedes S350L CDI for the test.
Saunders first gets behind the wheel of the S-class, concluding that it is unflappably stable. "it consumes long distances with breathtaking calm," he says. "Its steering is weighty, a little inert but perfect for performing unhurried,, sweeping lane changes.
"And its throttle and brake pedal allow you to mete out just enough acceleration or stopping power to deal with traffic lights without disturbing the stillness on board."
The next morning he's handed the keys to the Jaguar XJ.
"It explodes your expectations of what a big Jag saloon should look like," he says. "It's a fresh and attractive take on a luxury four-door that's as graceful as it is athletic-looking. Aesthetically the Jag XJ has got this contest sewn up."
The interior is just as good: "It's one of the most special cabins of any British saloon of teh past 20 years - Bentleys and Rolls-Royces included."
Comfort sat in the back is the next test. "In the Jag you feel very slightly more confined than you do in the back of the S-class. But there's still generous space to stretch out . The rear bench is fixed, so your seating position isn't as adjustable as it is in the Merc, and although you have seat heaters and coolers, there are no massagers."
The Jaguar XJ's ride also impresses with its "pleasingly controlled high-sped compliance". The Merc beats it on cobblestones and sharp ridges, though.