Jaguar XJ 3.0D facelift review, test drive

    Published on Mar 07, 2016 11:00:00 AM

    181589 Views

    More equipment, new tech, sharpened looks and more power make the most charismatic luxury limousine even more desirable.

    Make : Jaguar
    Model : XJ

    What is it?

    It is an updated version of what’s possibly the most charming and likeable luxury limousine on sale today. The Jaguar XJ’s shape is long, low and swooping like no other car in its segment, its look is aggressive and powerful, and it always managed to pull this off without compromising on the things owners wanted from it. Things like ride comfort, luxurious appointments, high-tech equipment and space are all part of the package, and it just so happens to be an invigorating drive too. After the recent launch of the new BMW 7-series, however, the big Jag is now the oldest car in the class, and so this facelifted version couldn’t have come at a better time. The next-generation XJ is still some years away after all.

    So what have they done to keep things relevant? The gorgeous exterior styling, thankfully, has barely been tampered with. The only differences are a new design for the chrome blades in the front bumper, a blackened out lower section in the rear bumper, new oval tailpipes, slightly re-profiled tail-lamp graphics and, on this top-spec Portfolio trim, smart full-LED headlamps with a new ‘double J-blade’ signature daytime running lamps. The other thing to note is that the wheel size has gone down from 19 inches to the segment-standard 18 inches, and though they don’t look quite as cool as the old wheels, the design Jag has chosen is still pretty smart looking.

    What’s it like on the inside?

    Just like the outside, the interior of the XJ is like nothing else on the market. Its flowing surfaces and surfeit of curves is the complete antithesis of the comparatively straight-laced German interior design. We still love the bulbous AC vents, the thick slabs of wood on the doors and the ‘Riva Loop’ trim that runs along the back of the dashboard, and a lovely new addition is quilted leather upholstery on the Portfolio trim. Fit and finish, as before, is perhaps not at the ridiculously high benchmark set by the German sedans, but it’s close enough to not matter.

    The seats, as before, are huge, plush and generously cushioned – more luxurious than sporty in design. All four seats are electrically adjustable, and can be reclined, heated, cooled and provide a massage to their occupants, and as before, legroom and headroom are not the best in class, but still more than sufficient. The rear seat is a bench, but you have to fold away the central arm-rest (which also houses several control switches) to find the fifth seat; as with any of these cars, the back seat is designed primarily for two. The only change is that the rear screens are new and can be folded shut when you don’t need them.

    A huge update on the tech front is the addition of JLR’s new InControl Touch Pro infotainment system. That last word ‘Pro’ makes all the difference, because although it looks almost identical to the smaller XE’s InControl Touch unit, this one is a lot smoother, quicker to respond and has more features. Flicking through it feels no different than a modern smartphone or tablet. You can even control each of the four seats’ position, heating, cooling and massage functions from the touchscreen. The instrument cluster is all-digital as before, but it’s a new, smoother, sharper looking screen with much better graphics. It can also be customised with a few different dial patterns, and the whole screen can even be turned into a sat-nav map.

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