What is it?
I almost wonder if the most important thing to know about the Jaguar XJ is that there’ll definitely be another generation after this one. “A flagship car company needs a flagship car,” says Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design director.
But that it even came up for discussion – it wouldn’t with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series, you suspect – shows you where the XJ is. Celebs phone Jaguar and say they’d like to arrive at events in the back of an XJ because not many other people will. It’s starting to become a hero of its own lack of success.
Anyway, this one has been around for seven years now. Doesn’t quite seem possible, does it? So here it is. Surely, we’ll see the new one in the next couple of years – and Callum says it’ll be “wilfully different” from something like an S-Class “because there’s no point taking them on at their game”. Which sounds fair. Meanwhile, though, the current XJ has been given a range of tweaks to make it, if not an all-singing, all-dancing technological marvel, then at least humming gently and tapping its foot. I’d forgotten how broad the XJ range is – depending on where you live.
You can have a 3.0-litre diesel, which is what most UK buyers have. But there’s also a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol, which can be had in rear drive or all-wheel drive (AWD). Then there’s the 5.0-litre V8 petrol, which is itself available in three versions. There’s one with 464bhp, another with 503bhp and then there’s the full-fat XJR 575, which now has 567bhp (575PS) rather than 542bhp. And all of these can be had in standard or long-wheelbase styles.
Because the XJR is the only one in the range to have received a power increase, that seems like the most suitable car on which to base our review of the 2018-model-year car. No other reason at all. Definitely not that it also has the ability to smoke up its tyres at will and that this sounds like a giggle. No, no.