From £54,6307
Anniversary edition XJ is as soothingly swift as ever, but could do more to stand out from the rest of the range

Our Verdict

Jaguar XJ

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

Richard Bremner Autocar
2 November 2018

What is it?

It's surprising how few car models make a half century, but this limited edition Jaguar is a celebration of one of them. It's the XJ50, and the clue is very obviously in the name, the first XJ6 debuting to considerable acclaim in 1968.

Were Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons still alive he might be surprised to discover that a) the XJ model line was still in production b) that this version of it is a diesel and c) that the XJ has become so big. But then, so has everything else.

For the record, among those few half-century survivors are the Mini, the Porsche 911, the Chevrolet Corvette and the Toyota Corolla, the last of these a phenomenally successful multi-generational family of models, but not one with the charisma of all the others.

So, what does an XJ50 bring you? Well, like plenty of limited editions, it takes a committed inspection of the standard features list to understand what your £74,280 brings you. The XJ50 is based on the £66,360 Premium Luxury XJ, which is the second model up the hierarchy, sandwiched by the base £62,360 Luxury and the not basic at all £72,580 Portfolio, this model also slightly cheaper than the XJ50.

Compared to the Premium Luxury version, then, you get adaptive headlights, 20in Venom alloys, 18-way heated and cooled front seat, quilted soft leather, soft grain leather to the upper dashboard, suedecloth headlining, gloss shadow and piano black décor, privacy glass, electric rear window sunblinds, rear reading lights, alloy pedals, illuminated XJ50 treadplates, an 825 Watt Meridian surround sound system rather than 380 Watt sounds, a digital TV, a 360deg parking aid, blind spot and reverse traffic warnings and park assist.

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Items special to the XJ50 itself are 20in two-tone alloys, bumpers from the Portfolio version, a black grille, a palette of four exterior colours (though all of these are normally available) and subtle additional badging. Inside, leapers and logos adorn the headrestraints, the illuminated sill tread plates and the centre armrest, while the paddle shifters are anodized, and the pedals are alloy.

In case you’re wondering, the £1700 cheaper Portfolio actually comes with some things that the XJ50 doesn’t, such as massage front seats, oval exhaust finishers, superior leather to the steering wheel, illuminated rear vanity mirrors and rear side window sunblinds, while most of the items it does without, including alloys an inch smaller, a 360-degree parking aid, park assist, rear reading lights and a rear window sunblind you can probably overlook. That said, the XJ50 is marginally better value, as limited editions often are.

Now, you’ll be forgiven if you haven’t trawled all the way through these lists of kit, but they’re presented exhaustively because kit is the essence of the XJ50, the rest of the car as per your usual XJ. Which provides a 296bhp 3.0 V6 diesel and an eight-speed automatic that drive the rear wheels.

What's it like?

As luxuriant as XJs have always been, the more so with its on-trend quilted leather seats.  And while diesels might have a particulate suffused cloud levitating above them these days, it's hard not to enjoy the velvet delivery of the V6’s ample torque and its tremorless meshings with those eight forward speeds. This is a soothingly swift machine, again true to XJ type.

Less impressive, though, is an overfirm low speed ride and worse, if you're a backbencher, road noise whose subtle penetration is sufficient to make conversation with front seat occupants surprisingly effortful. Which is very un-XJ-like. And a pity given the decent room in the rear, even aboard the standard wheelbase car, this a contrast to most of the XJs produced over the past half century.

The news is better for the keen driver, who will enjoy an agility that belies the XJ50's excess length, it's weight-paring aluminium body a real benefit here. This might be a big diesel, but it’s a surprisingly sporting one.

Otherwise, the XJ50 experience will be very similar to that which you'll enjoy in other versions of the X351 generation model, which you might be surprised to learn is now nine years old. Its still opinion-triggering exterior design is ageing well, even if the interior is dating faster.

Should I buy one?

If you're an ardent XJ lover or a collector, then maybe the XJ50 is worth consideration. But it's hard not to be slightly disappointed at the modesty of the differences between this and a standard car, and the fact that as a price-to-equipment package, it’s hardly a must-buy.

Jaguar XJ50 specification

Where Northern France Price £74,280 On sale Now Engine V6, 2993, turbodiesel Power 296bhp at 4000rpm Torque 435lb ft at 1500-1750rpm Gearbox 8-spd auto Kerb weight 1835kg Top speed 155mph (limited) 0-62mph 6.2sec Fuel economy 40.4mpg CO2 184g/km Rivals Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, Mercedes S-Class

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Comments
35

2 November 2018

 I think so, in this day and age merely churning out what you’ve been doing for the last ten years and lightly updating it isn’t enough.....

Peter Cavellini.

2 November 2018

Maybe it's just me, but this term really irks me.  It seems like a wanky PR social media type way of putting a positive spin on "everybody else is doing it".  Same goes for "on point".

Who comes up with this nonsense?

3 November 2018

It’s not just you.

2 November 2018

The use of wood lifts the XJ interior immeasurably, something Ian Callum persistently refuses to give to the XE and XF

2 November 2018

Sorry, 75k. What a joke, its 10 years behind the times, typical JLR style.

2 November 2018

It says something about Jaguar design that their best looking extrerior and interior are on a car that's 10 years old in a few months time. This looks even better now than it did in 2009.

Is it really that far behind the big Germans as an ownership prospect? On looks alone I think it's still a winner.

2 November 2018

A shame HMG don't make more use of XJs, I'm sick of seeing Government ministers step out of BMWs.

2 November 2018
WallMeerkat wrote:

A shame HMG don't make more use of XJs, I'm sick of seeing Government ministers step out of BMWs.

Once upon a time a Government minister or Royal would not be seen stepping out of something either not British or at least built in Britain. It was about supporting the nation’s industry and showcasing to the world the nation’s products. Perhaps with Brexit there can be a return to a policy of supporting home built vehicles. 

2 November 2018
Viscount Biscuit wrote:

WallMeerkat wrote:

A shame HMG don't make more use of XJs, I'm sick of seeing Government ministers step out of BMWs.

Once upon a time a Government minister or Royal would not be seen stepping out of something either not British or at least built in Britain. It was about supporting the nation’s industry and showcasing to the world the nation’s products. Perhaps with Brexit there can be a return to a policy of supporting home built vehicles. 

That was a time when those industries were UK owned or in their latter years, state owned. Tories sold them off remember. BMW bought Rover so natural ministers who used to use Rovers now use BMW.

Security services use Range Rover which is still built in UK. Downing Street still using XJ's and HRH still being given Rolls Royces (which she should feel at home in as they're German owned).

So not sure what WallMeercat is on about TBH.

2 November 2018
scotty5 wrote:

 

That was a time when those industries were UK owned or in their latter years, state owned. Tories sold them off remember.

They were sold off because the militant Labour supporting unions had made them a complete laughing stock, build quality didnt exist, they were literally thrown together between strikes. Without input from Honda, BL would have disappeared up their own backside well before they did, Austin Allegro, Austin Cambridge or Morris Oxford anyone, BL invented badge engineering, it took VW to make it work.    

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