Being picked up at the George Airport in a brand new Jaguar XJ and chauffeur-driven to the launch venue certainly made me feel ever so grand. The last time such luxury was bestowed on me was in London at the beginning of this year after the Women’s World Car of the Year function as a guest of Jaguar Car Limited en route to the Castle Bromwich Jaguar plant – the assembly plant of the XF, XJ and XK models.
Take a back seat
Sitting in the rear I could not help but admire the cabin’s elegant surfaces and luxurious materials. The new XJ enjoys more sumptuous leather than any previous Jaguar. It adorns all of the main surfaces, including the seats, instrument panel, door tops, centre console and armrests.
A panoramic glass roof, standard on all models, dramatically enhances the sense of light and space inside the new XJ. A dark tint and reflective coating prevent the interior from overheating under strong sunlight, while twin electric blinds provide another level of sun screening. I also noticed that Jaguar branding is very visible in the cabin – in the centre of the dashboard and rear door handles.
A large 8-inch Touch-screen display in the centre console is the ideal complement to the virtual instrument cluster, providing an intuitive way to manage many of the XJ’s functions, including climate control, audio, communications and navigation.
Million-rand car with benefits
The XJ benefits from one of the most advanced, powerful and efficient Jaguar powertrains ever. Customers will have a choice of four petrol and two diesel engines, all coupled to a shift-by-wire, six-speed automatic transmission, controlled by the JaguarDrive Selector or steering wheel-mounted paddles. On the launch we drove the 5-litre SWB Premium Luxury 283kW naturally aspirated direct-injection V8 petrol derivative that has a recommended retail price of R1 100 000. (I wonder whether a tall, good looking sugar daddy comes with the car?)
With a stiff, lightweight body structure, a new generation of ultra-efficient, high-performance powertrains and the latest chassis technologies, the all-new XJ is an outstanding premium sports saloon that delivers an exhilarating driving experience. It is very much a driver’s car and surprisingly agile for its size.
Jaguar XJ’s core beauty
At more relaxed cruising speeds the new XJ is blissfully silent. The JaguarDrive Control allows you to tailor your driving experience to suit your mood or the conditions. It offers two different modes – Dynamic mode for a more sporting and responsive character, and Winter mode, for greater confidence in low-grip conditions like snow – obviously not needed in South Africa.
The new XJ’s beauty is much more than skin-deep: it is constructed using Jaguar’s aerospace-inspired aluminium body technology, that makes it lighter than its rivals by at least 150kg. These technologies significantly improve performance, handling and economy, while delivering increased strength, refinement and safety.
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