After 42 years of staring at its reflection in the mirror, the Jaguar XJ cracked the glass and went its own way in 2010. The X351 iteration is a fastback rather than a three-box saloon – a practical as well as luxurious car designed to compete head on with rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes, rather than rest on fading laurels.
There are standard and long-wheelbase versions, motorway expresses with efficient 3.0-litre diesel engines, Tarmac shredders with supercharged 5.0-litre petrol V8s, versions with just the essentials and others groaning under the weight of folding tables.
Prices range from £6000 for early high-mile diesels to £50,000 for the last, 2019-reg dealer demos. Although production ended in July 2019, you can still pick up unregistered XJs, too, at prices approaching £84,000, before a hefty discount.
The XJ was produced for nine years, during which time it played leapfrog with the competition. It means that it’s best to buy as late an XJ as you can afford. And compare those you find, too, because no two models are quite the same.
The diesel versions are most plentiful. From launch, the 3.0-litre V6 unit had 271bhp, but it’s a 2013-model-year car you want, because it’s cleaner and cheaper to tax (£200 versus £260). Better still is a 2016 car. True, road tax is back to £260, but power stands at 296bhp. Incidentally, that’s £260 road tax for examples registered before 1 April 2017. Those registered from that date attract the five-year tax surcharge for cars that cost more than £40,000 new. This year, it stands at £320 on top of the £145 standard rate – or the cost of an XJ service.
This later 3.0-litre diesel engine (badged 300) is the pick for its effortless performance and good economy (around 45mpg). That’s handy because there are few used petrols around. First out of the traps in 2010 was the 5.0-litre V8, in naturally aspirated (380bhp) and supercharged (503bhp) forms. The first is rare and around £2000 cheaper today, like for like. They were followed in 2012 by a supercharged 3.0 V6 producing 335bhp.