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Jaguar XJ 2016 review

Jag’s large sedan brings pomp and presence to the road

Jaguar has taken too long to make its midlife revamp to the XJ large sedan — about six years — but it’s been busy building a raft of completely new cars. The stylish XJ has dropped off many buyers’ radar but the update should bring it front and centre.

Designed about eight years ago, the XJ missed much of the wave of technology in the intervening years. To bring its flagship almost up with the competition, Jag was able to fit radar cruise control with queue assist — which can bring the car to a complete stop in traffic and take off when the car in front moves — but automatic emergency braking and head-up display are not available.

The XJ range has short and long-wheelbase variants with three engines and a handful of equipment levels. There is ample street cred, no matter which model you choose.

The low arcing roofline and aggressive frontal treatment give the low and sleek XJ a ready-to-pounce look.

Styling guru Ian Callum has produced something out of the box. The XJ has huge presence on the road and projects an ultra classy image, almost up there with a Bentley.

The low arcing roofline and aggressive frontal treatment give the low and sleek XJ a ready-to-pounce look. There is an innocuous styling tweak for the rear, which with its odd-shaped LED lighting might be somewhat polarising.

In the cabin, the curved dash runs from the front door caps along the bottom of the windscreen. The new controls are set low and out of the way, are simple to operate, especially the touchscreen, and the layout is easy on the eye.

We spent (quality) time in the rear of the supercharged V6 and the XJ-R V8. This is where you want to be — some of the time. Your right hand twitches ready for the royal wave as you luxuriate in the supple leather and oak inlays, surrounded by 1300W of Meridian audio.

This big pussycat would be problematic to park in the city, even with the aid of semi-automated park assist and 360-degree camera.

The boot is good and access is reasonable despite the low roofline of the big four-door.

Multiple adjustments to most controls make the XJ easy to customise to your tastes. We appreciated the fast Bluetooth synch and voice quality.

Fuel economy takes a hit around town but that’s not likely to be an issue for owners. The super punchy diesel could be the remedy if thirst is an issue.

It’s quiet and refined at all times as you waft along in a luxury bubble.

Having sampled the petrol V6 and V8, we were surprised by how handy the V6 was — we cruised, commuted, traffic jammed, country roaded and generally swanned about in the “base” model and really, it’s all you need in an XJ.

You can scarcely hear it under full acceleration and the eight-speed automatic is as smooth as silk.

XJ-R would stay with anything from the German competition, particularly through a set of switchbacks.

Tidy dynamics make the car all the better and, in terms of fittings and options, well, how much is too much?

That brings us to the XJ-R (the grey car pictured here), the aspirational beast in the new XJ range. Jag’s aluminium chassis and body save some weight but you’re still looking at 1800kg-1900kg. With 404kW on tap, you know it’s going to have some serious mumbo and the XJ-R would stay with anything from the German competition, particularly through a set of switchbacks.

Jag has allowed some V8 rumble to penetrate the otherwise muted, full luxury cabin, which adds to the allure of the XJ-R.


Most XJs will be unappreciated, as hire cars or in the hands of people who pay other people to drive them around. They are impressive cars in just about all respects, a touch dated but still with plenty of cut-through on the street. Shop an XJ against any prestige candidates.


Does Jaguar's updated XJ bring enough to the table to challenge other flagships in its class? Let us know in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Jaguar XJ pricing and spec info.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

3.0 V6 SC Premium Luxury SWB 3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $55,440 – 63,690 2016 Jaguar XJ 2016 3.0 V6 SC Premium Luxury SWB Pricing and Specs
3.0 V6 SC Portfolio SWB 3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $62,040 – 71,280 2016 Jaguar XJ 2016 3.0 V6 SC Portfolio SWB Pricing and Specs
3.0D V6 Premium Luxury LWB 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $61,160 – 70,290 2016 Jaguar XJ 2016 3.0D V6 Premium Luxury LWB Pricing and Specs
5.0 SC V8 Supersport LWB 5.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $127,380 – 146,410 2016 Jaguar XJ 2016 5.0 SC V8 Supersport LWB Pricing and Specs
Peter Barnwell


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