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New Jaguar XJ has giant appeal

Taking on the Mercedes-Benz S-class, the BMW 7-series and the new Audi A8, is no small task, but the new Jaguar XJ has the appeal to take on the giants in the league.

autos Updated: Sep 13, 2011 00:11 IST

Taking on the Mercedes Benz S-class, the BMW 7-series and the new Audi A8, is no small task, but the new Jaguar XJ has the appeal to take on the giants in the league. Unlike the long wheelbase versions of its German rivals which look a bit too stretched, the XJ’s bonnet and swooping roofline make it look like it was designed to be stretched in the first place. It is convincing as a luxury car on the inside too.

Thumb the starter button and, like the smaller XF, the gear selector rises out of the centre console as the 3.0 litre twin-turbo diesel hums to life. Leather and well-finished wood adorn surfaces and there is a new-to-Jaguar digital dashboard display, in place of the conventional, real analogue dials. The almost 3.2 metre long wheelbase ensures plenty of legroom. The latest XJ uses aluminium for its body panels and chassis.

Unencumbered by the A8’s four wheel drive system, however, the rear wheel drive XJ is one of the lightest cars in this class. Even this long-wheelbase version, at 1,813 kgs, weighs just 13 kgs more than the smaller XF diesel!

Flicking the steering wheel-mounted paddles activates a manual mode, which, if the car is set to Dynamic mode, will hold gears to the limiter. Jaguar engineers developed both the short and long wheelbase versions alongside each other with the chassis development of the LWB version even taking precedence at times. This shows in the way this 5.2 metre long saloon changes direction with the agility and precision we’ve not seen on any other car this size, including the BMW 7-series.

Switch the adjustable dampers to their softer setting and you’ll find a car that rides with aplomb over most surfaces with the occasional shudder over lumpy surfaces.

JAGUAR XJ 3.0 V6 DIESEL

Price: Rs 83 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
L/W/H: 5247/1894/1448mm
Wheelbase: 3157mm
Kerb weight: 1813kg
Engine: 6 cyls in Vee, 2993cc, diesel
Installation: Front,
longitudinal, RWD
Bore/stroke: 84.0/90.0mm
Power: 271bhp at 4000rpm
Torque: 61.18kgm at 2000rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed automatic
Brakes: 355mm/ 326mm
ventilated discs
Torque: 61.18kgm at 2000rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed automatic
Brakes: 355mm/ 326mm ventilated discs

Verdict

The XJ diesel costs Rs 83 lakh in Portfolio spec. It is well rounded and full of character, making it an excellent alternative to mainstream German saloons. What goes against the XJ is Jaguar’s relatively small dealer network making it not as practical to own as the 7-series or the S-class.