Have we become so lazy that we need amplifiers in cars to ensure clear passenger conversation? Jaguar thinks so. Its “Conversation Assist” consists of microphones above each seat to amp up the occupant's voice. Embedded in the optional Meridian Reference Audio System in the latest XJ, it “makes it much easier for occupants to be heard clearly by the other occupants in the vehicle above any cabin noise” says Jaguar.
Which could be a damning indictment of the legendary quietness of a Jaguar saloon. Conversation Assist is one of the upgrades in the mid-life makeover XJ that also enhances its long wheelbase model with two rear airline-style seats. These seats include cushion and squab adjustment, three massage programs - wave/rolling, lumbar and shoulder - and lumbar adjustment.
Rear seat passengers have 13mm more headroom than the outgoing model and can recline the seats by 11 degrees and move the cushion over 103mm. They can even control the front passenger seat from the rear.
The XJ has optional front-seat massage functions for each seat with five levels of intensity, allowing occupants to personalise their massage settings to their preference.
Options stretch as long as the wheelbase with an entertainment package of two 10.2-inch high-resolution screens mounted on the back of the front seat headrests. These display inputs from sources including the DVD player, digital TV tuner or an external media player. Audio can be transmitted through the wireless headphones, allowing each passenger to watch separate entertainment sources.
Rear passengers also have a wireless controller to alter individual climate zones and seat heating and cooling functions. The XJ long wheelbase also has optional leather-surfaced business tables which fold out of the seatbacks of the front seats, rear window blinds and electric side window blinds.
Options also extend to a 1300-Watt Meridian Reference Audio System with 26 speakers that include a set of two 80mm standard and one 25mm tweeter in the rear of each of the front seats. All XJ models in the latest iteration have soft-closing door technology and changes to the rear suspension to improve the ride suppleness. The XJR, to be launched later this year, expands on the 2014 XJ range by adding bespoke chassis and aerodynamic developments.
It has a 404kW/680Nm 5-litre supercharged V8 engine capable of a 0-100km/h time of 4.6 seconds and will be available only in standard wheelbase for $298,000. This is the first time an R badge has been applied to the latest generation of the XJ range. Prices for the long wheelbase models are unchanged – and parallel pricing for the standard wheelbase versions. The long bi-turbo diesel V6 Premium Luxury is $198,800 and the supercharged petrol V6 is $198,445.
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