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000 jaguar june 10:Layout 1

23/05/2010

11:35

Page 117

motoring

real opulence

For more information and to book a test drive www.hafox.cheltenham.jaguar.co.uk

Eric Barton tests the new Jaguar XJ...

Like North Sea oil, it’s been a long time in the pipeline. It’s bold, it’s daring and it’s going to have people ogling. The new Jaguar XJ has finally purred its way into dealerships across the UK. In fact I’m happy to report that the very first worldwide sale of this stunning new Jaguar was made by Craig Martin at HA Fox in Cheltenham. I’ll bet his boss Paul Holland; the General Manager is a happy chap! I’ve been drooling about this car for long enough. Well, the waiting is over and it was worth the wait. Boosted by the success of the smaller XF saloon, Jaguar has given its new flagship car eye- catching looks and a modern sophisticated interior that’s packed with a load of hi-tech gear. The cutting-edge approach isn’t limited to the styling and interior. The XJ features a lightweight aluminium construction, an advanced chassis set-up and powerful new engines. Its protruding grille and smooth silhouette set it light years away from its German rivals. Looking at the XJ standing by the kerbside, you’re almost totally swamped by its imposing presence and if you plump for the long wheel base variant, then it simply becomes more compelling. There’s a real sharpness to the profile JUNE 2010

and as I’ve said before, cars like this need to provide beauty and menace in one dose. The new XJ clearly delivers this in one huge satisfying inoculation. It’s simply stunning; a real head-turner. There are four trim levels to choose from; Luxury, Luxury Premium, Portfolio and supercharged Supersport. The top two are recognisable by 20-inch alloy rims that compliment the XJ’s large wheelarches. No Jaguar would be complete without a luxury interior and the new XJ delivers this in spades. All models get a panoramic glass roof, which gives the interior an airy feel. The dashboard is also right on the money. You get the rotary gear selector (as per the XF and XK) which rises out of the centre console, while the driving position is excellent. Elsewhere you’ll notice the ‘virtual’ dials that mimic traditional analogue units. And for a slice of extra ‘theatre’, the backlighting turns red when you engage the car’s Dynamic driving mode. At night the rest of the cabin is bathed in a cool phosphorus blue glow. All very soothing and comforting. Add to this soft leather, a selection of nine classy wood trim finishes and plenty of chrome detail and you have the makings of real opulence. This could only be a

British luxury car; it’s as simple as that. All models get the Adaptive Dynamics system, which sharpens the steering, damping and throttle at the touch of button. However, even in the standard setting the XJ feels very agile and extremely poised. The V8 produces 380 bhp with a top speed of 155mph. The fuel return is around 25mpg and if you plump for the diesel it’ll give you around 40mpg. The XJ blisters its way to 62mph from a standing start in 5.7 seconds. It has a very ‘eager’ sense in its handling, which makes it feel like a smaller car... weird, but brilliant. The V8 produces a slight bark when you bury the pedal, but when cruising, the 5.0-litre is near-silent, helping to make the XJ an extremely quiet motorway companion as I found out on the M5 near Cheltenham. Also available is the 3.0-litre V6 diesel and the 503bhp supercharged V8 power plant from the XFR. All versions get the same six-speed paddle shift auto box, which is nice. So, when you’re out in the new Jaguar XJ, put on your best clothes and make sure your hair is looking tidy, because people are going to gawp and stare at you. It’s only a cocktail of jealousy and wonderment as they, like me, might be drooling. Entry prices are around £54,300. CS 

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Eric Barton Jag XJ Style Mag June issue