Cladding removed for final round of testing
14 May 2009

Jaguar has stripped off the heavy cladding that has disguised its new XJ for the final testing of the car ahead of its launch in July.

The new car borrows nothing from the styling of the current XJ, which has remained true to the original model launched in 1968. The clean sheet design introduces a completely new look for the flagship Jaguar, although it does use styling cues and detailing from the XF saloon.

See the full gallery of pictures here

At the front is a huge grille, bigger than the XF’s – Jaguar has attempted to make the car look like a BMW with a false divider – that’s deeply inset behind the frame. The headlights, almost entirely taped up on this car, are from the C-XF concept car; they’re much narrower and more striking than the production XF’s.

The ridge in the front doors is a fake, designed to distract attention from the location of the wing-mounted air vents, which are said to be a different shape from the XF’s vertical vents. The door mirrors are lifted from the XF.

With the cladding lifted, the XJ’s low roofline and shallowly raked rear screen are clearly visible for the first time. At the rear the car’s coupé-look styling is clearly visible, making it unique in a market dominated by three box saloons such as the S-class and Audi A8.

The full-length glass roof has been obscured, but the effect will be of a single piece of glass that runs from the base of the windscreen to the base of the rear window. The C-pillars will be blacked out to create the impression of a floating roof, but will have a curved trim strip behind the rear doors to provide a visual stop to the rear window.

The rear lights are also fully taped up, but they actually wrap over the top of the rear wings.

Although it owes nothing to the traditional look of the XJ, the new car does share a chassis and plenty of engineering with it. The all-aluminium frame remains – at a very basic level this is a very thorough reskin – although it will have been altered for new engines.

That means the XJ will be the lightest car in its class, which should also provide it with a performance and handling advantage.

Dan Stevens

Our Verdict

Jaguar XJ

The Jaguar XJ is a thoroughly modern luxury saloon, and a brilliantly capable one

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack has breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?
  • Range Rover p400e
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The original luxury SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, promising lower emissions and the capacity for silent electric motoring
  • BMW i3s
    Car review
    20 March 2018
    Revised hatchback sets out its range-extended electric stall in a new, sportier tune