It’s the morning after the night before at Jaguar’s Saatchi Gallery launch for the new XJ. This morning a fresh load of B-list hacks were invited to see the new car in the raw, eight hours after the A-listers who saw it at the glitzy launch party proper last night.
More importantly though, this morning and into the early afternoon, Jaguar’s got two XJs doing laps around London’s city streets. So today, we finally get to see the new XJ in context. Which is when we can all make an informed decision about whether it’s a spudder or not.
For what it’s worth, I think the car’s a very smart design – in both senses of the word. It’s fresh, it’s avant-garde, it’s perfectly proportioned, and you certainly can’t help looking at it. A Quattroporte’s prettier, sure – but, though it takes some getting used to, I’d say this Jag isn’t far behind.
And I can say for definite that it looks nothing like a Citroen C6. From any angle. I love the long and elegant waistline, the long rear overhang and the ‘raptor’s eyes’ headlights. The cabin’s impressive; not so elegant, perhaps, but attractive and brimming with technology.
I love the touchscreen above the centre stack; it can display a DVD movie to the front passenger and the usual system information to the driver at the same time.
Works a bit like one of those old-school holograms that change as you move your head. Very clever.
Disappointments? Well, I can’t sit in the back without my head hitting the headlining, and I’m hardly a giant at 6’3”. The boot still ain’t enormous. I was also a bit dismayed to hear that there will be no ‘R’ version.
The 503bhp supercharged V8 will be called the Supersports instead, and have a more relaxed tourer-type character. I think it’s a shame, even if all I’m mourning is the passing of a badge.
Mike O’Driscoll talked about the new XJ being ‘a tipping point’ for Jaguar. We all know that the company’s had a tough year, like so many, and there’s clearly a lot of hope that this car, alongside a strong XF and XK, can push it back into rude health.
It’s no secret that XJs haven’t sold as well as the German opposition for a decade or so. This one’s got the potential to be the market leader, I’d say. Well done boys.
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