Previously I said goodbye to the current iteration of the Land Rover Discovery and felt sad at its passing. Demonstrating a shallower side to my nature however I bucked up enormously when I key-swapped the old Discovery for the nice new Ammonite Grey Jaguar XJ R-Sport SWB you see in the snaps. Well, you have to move on, don’t you?
Looking The Part
The Jaguar XJ has a bold and assertive design with features that include an imposing, more upright new front grille, more powerful full LED headlamps and eye-catching new tail lamps. The body has a low, wide stance and a long, taut waistline. It looks fab from most angles but personally I remain unsure about the rear view which has a touch of, I don’t know, Kardashian, about it. Much better than the previous model though.
The car comes in short or long wheelbase versions, the latter allowing for more lounging room for budding entrepreneurs. Having driven both I can confidently say that this makes no difference to the ride or handling.
Emphasising the XJ R-Sport’s sporting attitude, this trim level (the spec does not bring forth any performance mods) includes a gloss black radiator grille, gloss black lower grille, front splitter, rear spoiler, gloss black rear valance and ‘R’ style aerodynamic side sills. It looks the business.
Limousine Or Performance Car?
The XJ is big, about the same size as a particularly glamorous and sleek Minke whale, yet it handles like a much more compact car thanks to an ‘Adaptive Dynamics System’ that continually monitors the car and varies the damping to suit the conditions. These continual adjustments help keep the Jaguar XJ flat and stable, improving control without loss of ride comfort.
The model tested here offered a stonking twin-turbocharged, 3.0L V6 diesel that is the most popular variant amongst buyers. Petrol engines are available too but this is the one you want. The 301bhp power plant is superbly refined and virtually silent at cruising speeds. Power comes from the impressive low down punch of 516lbft torque. Overtaking is effortless and the opportunity to lose your licence rushes up to meet you like a long lost dog wagging its summons behind it.
The standing start to 60mph takes a breath under six seconds but what really impresses is the mid-range acceleration taking just three seconds from fifty to seventy. Boom! You have arrived, emitting just 155g/km which isn’t bad for this class of motor.
The Jaguar XJ R-Sport is festooned with safety equipment and parking aids as you would expect for around £72,000. Drive in a stately limousine style and you will be rewarded with over 40mpg. Exploit the performance potential however and watch this number drop.
Therein lies the problem with this car. Put a keen driver behind the wheel and he will have difficulty reining in the urge to eclipse all nearby traffic. Still, if you can afford this car then around 30mpg ain’t bad.
For me, the steering was way too light and lacking in feel. It is responsive and precise though, especially through the corners. Body control is exceptionally good too and at high speed the Jaguar XJ R-Sport feels totally planted. ‘Jaguar Drive Control’ has three modes to select from: Winter, Dynamic and OFF.
My preference was to select ‘Sport’ on the super-smooth eight-speed gearbox and ‘Dynamic’ on the Drive Control. There are flappy paddles for extra control but I found the auto ‘box so good I didn’t bother after a trial. Steering grumbles aside this is one fine ride.
The soft grain leather upholstery is offered in two colourways and the front seats feature adjustable side bolsters that provide the driver and passenger with exceptional lateral support during hard cornering. The test car came with Jet/Ivory leather which looks great but might well show the ravages of children in time. Families should maybe select a darker hue.
The cosseting interior is a wonderful piece of design too with some uniquely Jaguar touches. You can see it for yourself in my images. It is also fully-loaded with state-of-the-art technology The finishing touch is provided by the exclusive ‘R-Sport’ logo which appears on the steering wheel, tread plates and side power vents. All the details are on the specification sheet below.
It’s a saloon but travellers will find that the deep 520L boot will take plenty of luggage and under the floor – joy of joys – a proper space saver spare. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all cars came with a proper spare?
Would I Buy One?
Well yes, in a heartbeat if the Jaguar XJ R-Sport suited my purposes. For the business user I am hard-pushed to think of anything more impressive to roll up at client’s premises. The BIK rate is currently 31% for this diesel model but who knows what matey-boy in the Treasury will do to squeeze a little more from motorists. Top of the class. Geoff Maxted