I’d seen enough spy shots of the new XJ to know what to expect from Ian Callum’s exterior styling (well apart from those rear lights). But, for me, the XJ’s cabin is the real revelation.

To be honest I was expecting the interior and the dash to be XF plus 10 per cent. Nothing wrong with that, as the smaller saloon has one of the best interiors in the business.

Read every detail on the Jaguar XJ here

See every picture of the Jaguar XJ here

What I wasn’t expecting was something completely different from the rest of the line-up and a cabin whose craftsmanship and quality seems, on first acquaintance, to be right up there with anything that Bentley currently offers.

But it looks a lot more handsome than anything coming out of Crewe. It’s design is way more traditional than the XF but there’s still enough contemporary elements to be in keeping with ‘new Jaguar’.

Faults? The rear compartment certainly isn’t cramped, but if you want the maximum in limo-like space and a boot full of Samsonites you’re still going to be better off with one of the Germans. But then, I guess, that Jag isn’t after the airport taxi market either.

But the main thing is that the XJ has a cabin that seems to be right up with the very best the class has to offer and a whole lot warmer and more interesting than most of them too: a lot more Soho house than St James’s gentleman’s club.

Exactly what the XJ needed to be in other words.

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