Jaguar’s flagship, the leggy XJ Long Wheelbase AutoBiography goes to Canberra

Jaguar’s flagship, the leggy XJ Long Wheelbase AutoBiography goes to Canberra

The all aluminium XJ is the choice of many a Prime Minister and a favourite of the royals. It is my favourite Jag and has been for 4 decades, not just because it is luxurious and expensive, but because it drives like it looks.

The XJ doesn’t just waft, it prowls.

Jaguar XJ (1)Our car costs a princely $305,995 plus on-roads. The 5.0L V8 puts 375kw/700Nm to the back wheels via a silky 8 speed auto. 0-100 is reached in a mere 4.7 seconds.

The car is all-aluminium so the weight starts at 1,885kg. It is difficult to manufacture in aluminium so designers kept the lines simple, which works in our favour, just look at it. The is no welding so the joins are rivets and glue. The body is not only light, but incredibly rigid, making the handling like that of a sports car.

The daytime running lights and fully adaptive headlights mean the biggest Jaguar is easily spotted day and night as if recognition was a problem. The high beam assist can activated when the low beam on. It switches so that oncoming cars are never dazzled. You can always see the road lit well ahead because the high beam is never fully turned off outside a street-lit city area. It’s not unique, but it is brilliant none the less.

There is long wheel base means length in the rear cabin, so all of the extra space is where it is used most by buyers of this kind of car. The XJ will even phone for help if it detects a cash, so not only do you travel in supreme comfort, but superb safety and security.

 

Jaguar XJ (4)Jaguar XJ (5)

Jaguar XJ (8)

Jaguar XJ (7)

Jaguar XJ (3)Jaguar XJ (6)

Jaguar XJ (9)Jaguar XJ (2)

The list of attributes is so extensive and will list them at the end, but here are a few treats: gentleman seating pushes the front passenger seat all the way forward and tilts the back towards the windscreen. The headrest doesn’t dip as it does in the BMW 750Li sadly. This leaves so much leg room that a tall passenger won’t be able to reach the seat in front. The back seats move independently of each other and can recline, making a long trip a doddle. There is massage for all seats, which are heated or cooled as you wish.

The semi aniline leather is top quality, and the oak veneer is sourced from a luxury supplier in Italy.

Most of the functions can also be controlled from the driver’s seat including the blinds on the rear doors and back window. There is no need of ugly dark tinting. Blinds make sure the paparazzi can click all they want, but they won’t see you in your secluded lair.

As good as the back is, all of the best action is in the front. Pressing the start button wakes the system. The gear selector rises from the centre console, and a full width LCD in front of the driver lights up. Sadly, it won’t display SatNav like the Audis system, but you can change what is displayed to a small extent. When you shift into sports mode, the tacho moves to the centre where the digital speedo was. I found that hugely annoying. No one driving this palace on wheels is ever going to care what a tacho is reading. Long before is has redlined, you’ll have reached full speed of (limited) 250kph. Sure, that seems excessive here, but picture yourself on an speed-unlimited autobahn, no, on second thoughts don’t. It will only depress you.

Dialing up D on the selector gets the car ready for the off. As you press the accelerator very gently, the parking brake releases, and the gliding begins. When you stop again, pressing the Off button shifts the transmission to Park and activates the hand brake.

In normal driving mode, the electric steering is incredibly light. That is my preferred mode. With this much power and torque, there is simply no need of a mode giving you even more response, but it is nice to know it is there.

Since much of the driving is going to be in town ferrying posh people from cocktails to dinner, city driving is unbelievably easy. It feels light and nimble, and every bit as nippy as a puny city car.

We took the XJ on a road trip to our nation’s capital. The road to Canberra is many things, but exciting isn’t one of them. This gave us plenty of time to enjoy the car, and each of us took a turn in the back.

It is hard not to be effusive about the drive. The ride control system changes damping 500 times a second. Not only does this keep the car flat in corners, it almost completely irons out the parts of Australia ignored by councils. You hardly feel bumps, which become more of a distant suggestion which passengers can simply ignore.

We pushed the XJ just to hear that gorgeous note from somewhere in her nether regions. The glorious roar is a considered and majestic as the rest of the car. There is nothing raucous, nothing untidy, to detract from an experience of serenity.

When coasting, the system disconnects the engine from the transmission to decrease fuel use.

The 6 hour round trip highlighted the top Jaguar’s ability to cross continents in the kind of comfort you normally only get from a first class airline compartment. TV is available for all occupants, but the front screen is muted when moving. We don’t want the driver catching up on Neighbours instead of watching the road, do we? Our test car was sans headphones so we couldn’t test it live.

Bends and twists are accomplished with the same aplomb as a highway sprint. Here, we selected the configurable sports mode. The dash rejigged itself showing the tacho in the middle and the speedo on the left. The right side continues to shows message from the car’s systems. I’d rather be able to change what is viewed in the menu, and set it to my personal tastes. At all times, I want a large digital speedo in front of me. There is a digital speedo in the heads-up display on the windscreen which is very hard to see with polarized sunglasses. Besides, it’s my car, I spent over 300 grand. I want what I want, right?

The gearbox rarely needs to shift down too far because the mountainous torque is available most of the time. The advantage to having a supercharged V8 is not having to wait for turbos to spool up for the power to come online.

As you turn the wheel from one side to the other, and the car adjusts to keep flat, the engineering ceases to matter, because you’re too busy enjoying it.

Probably the most enlightening thing to come out of the trip was the fuel consumption. Jaguar says you’ll expect 11.1L/100k but our figures were slightly above, at 12.8. Considering we didn’t spare the horses, that was a great achievement.

The Jaguar flagship is magnificent in every way. But it is not perfect. There are far too many goodies that should be standard. Active cruise control is optional. The lane control is a “warning” only, and Apple Carplay is absent. When compared with the slightly more expensive BMW 750Li, the Jaguar is short on tech. The BMW has a tablet in the back to control electronic features like media, blinds, climate and seating. The 750 also had active lane guidance, and a cool deployable rear footrest. The Jaguar trumped the foot rest with a pull out table for each rear passenger.

Both cars have sublime ride and excellent handling, but the Jaguar pips the big Beemer on “feel”. Some things you just can’t quantity, but the Jaguar’s drop-dead-gorgeous looks blitz everything else on the market. It is nearing the end of its life so I hope the designers don’t ruin it by changing the next model. If the XF is anything to go by, the XJ is in good hands. The new model XF changed so little that a casual bystander may not appreciate the fact that the new and old are different generations.

The sad thing is most people will never sit in an XJ, let alone ride in one.

Sales in this segment are rare. Jaguar has sold only 10 Xjs so far this year. BMW has sold 62 7 Series. There were 50 Mercedes S Classes sold, and Lexus only moved only 3 LSs. 3 Rolls Royce found owners, with Maserati selling a surprising 14 Quattroporte. 35 Porsche Panamera were sold to people with no taste. Many of these vehicles are sold to car services.

One last thought, Jaguar XJ is all aluminium, so no rust, ever..

VEHICLE

17MY JAGUAR XJ LWB Autobiography

REGISTRATION

DMQ52E

VIN

W05867

ENGINE

MAX POWER (kW)

MAX TORQUE (NM)

MAX SPEED (KPH)

0-100KPH (SECS)

FUEL ECON (L/100KM)

WEIGHT (KGS)

5.0 V8 Supercharged Petrol

375 @ 4000rpm

700 @ 2000rpm

250 (limited)

4.9

11.1

From 1,885

STANDARD FEATURES

JaguarDrive Control with Dynamic, Normal and Winter modes

Electric Parking Brake with Drive Away Release

Adaptive Dynamics

Active Differential Control

20″ Mataiva Wheels

Loire Blue Metallic Paint

Solar Attenuating Panoramic Glass Roof with One-Touch Open/Close Front Section and Fixed Rear Section

Heated Power Fold Electric Door Mirrors with Auto-Dimming, Puddle Lamps and Memory Function

Adaptive LED Headlights with Auto High Beam Assist, LED Rear Lights

Heated Front & Rear Windscreen

Rain Sensing Windscreen Wipers

18 Way Front Seats with Lumbar Adjustment and Massage Function

Quilted Semi-Aniline Leather Perforated Seats

Heated and Cooled Front and Rear Seats

Soft Grain Leather and Wood Steering Wheel

Leather Headlining

Gloss Rich Oak Veneer with Linear Laser Inlay

Phosphor Blue Halo Illumination and Interior Mood Lighting

Four Zone Climate Control

Electric Rear Window Sunblind

Premium Carpet Mat Set

InControl Touch Pro

InControl Remote Premium for Warranty Period

Satellite Navigation System

Bluetooth® – including Audio and Video Streaming

Interactive Voice™ – Front Voice Control of Audio, Bluetooth® and Navigation

Meridian Digital Surround Sound System (825W)

Digital Television

Rear Seat Entertainment System with 2 x Folding 10.2″ HD Screens

Rear Business Tables

Electric Rear Side Window Blinds

Individual Electric Rear Seats with Massage Function

Emergency Brake Assist

Pedestrian Contact Sensing

Whiplash Protection System (Front Seats)

All Surface Progress Control (ASPC)

Surround Camera System

Front and Rear Parking Aid

360° Park Distance Control

Closing Vehicle Sensing with Blind Spot Monitoring and Reverse Traffic Detection

Park Assist – Parallel, Bay and Exit

Security System – Alarm and Engine Immobiliser

Soft Door Close including Keyless Entry

COLOUR/TRIM

Loire Blue/Mineral/Ivory Quilted

RRP

$299,995

OPTIONS

Adaptive Cruise Control – $2,200

InControl Connect Pro Pack (InControl Remote Premium for Warranty Period, InControl Pro Services and InControl Apps) – $1,440

InControl Secure for Warranty Period – $1,030

InControl Protect for Warranty Period (SOS Emergency Call with Automatic Collision Detection, Optimised Assistance Call & InControl Remote Essentials App) – $670

Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) Radio Receiver – $620

PRICE AS TESTED

$305 995

(Please note – ORC are dependent on which state is registered, driver history, age, etc.)

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