Jaguar XJL Ultimate pictures and hands-on
You are never expected to drive the Jaguar XJL Ultimate. That's for your driver to worry about.
Once you grasp that concept you can sit back and enjoy the sheer luxury of the latest top-of-the-range Jaguar from the rear seat, as the world flies past the window.
Not content with having a pretty impressive top-of-the-range model already, Jaguar has decided to up the ante and create the Ultimate, an even better top-of-the-range Jag than the one before it. Feeling the urge to quaff a glass of champagne, Pocket-lint was the first in the UK to borrow one, complete with suited driver, for the morning to see if it really is worth the price.
The car comes in two options: a standard XJ Ultimate model or the long-wheel based version. We got the XJL and the one with the incredibly powerful 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol engine. There is a more conservative 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged diesel as well, but hey, if you're investing in a car like this you aren't really going to be fussed about fuel consumption. Needless to say, the V8 had absolutely no issues getting us out of trouble when we needed it and as our driver told us: "You need power to get out of a situation, not to put yourself in one." Wise words.
Beyond the bonnet the car offers a beautiful line that exudes the prowess we've come to expect from Jaguar. In London, heads turned.
At the two luxury hotels where we stopped (Coworth Park in Ascot and the W in Leicester Square) doormen where eager to rush to open our door. That's not something you can guarantee with an all-too-common Aston Martin, for example.
The dramatic styling is accompanied by 20-inch Maroa forged alloy wheels and, don’t worry, there's a badge that tells people this is top of the range.
You are definitively making a statement here, and it's not a bad one.
That kudos and cool value quickly seeps inside the moment the rear passenger door is opened for you: from the 15-channel, 20-speaker surround sound system by Meridian spotted on the door, to the central console that dominates the interior.
It is the console that is the start of your luxury experience. It houses your champagne glasses, a work table, a host of connectors for your gadgets, the remote control for the entertainment system, and numerous buttons for the air conditioning, seat settings and the chilled champagne cabinet.
The worktable slowly rises into place with the press of a switch before swivelling around into position - it has full 360-degree movement. It is strong enough to support a laptop for working and there is space for your phone or glass next to it. It's not without its issues though. It would have been far easier if the button just raised and lowered the table in one swoop rather than your having to hold a switch to do the whole process, for example.
While the glasses have a deep enough compartment - that's Paul Smith purple by the way - to store neatly away, the drinks holders don't. If you've got a bottle of water in the hole you won't be able to shut the table. Annoying.
Get beyond the table and you have the joys of the individual air con settings as well as the ability to manage the heat of your seat. Yes, you can have the car determine how warm or cold your bottom should be. There is also a cigarette lighter-cum-charging socket.
After that and there is another compartment, mainly to store the remote for the entertainment system, as well as various connectors for iPhones, DVD players and the like. Finally there is a hidden compartment that reveals space for a champagne bottle - chilled, of course.
Further buttons on the side of the seat let you recline it for longer journeys, set whether you want a massage, and how far you want the passenger seat in front of you moved forward - not on the driver's side, of course. Everything you do, your driver can do too if you really can't be fussed with that level of control.
READ: Jaguar XKX concept car
Directly in front of you is a seatback screen that comes with a built-in TV tuner and DVD player and each of the three passengers can watch something different at the same time. To stop the cacophony of noise all the TV sets are supplied with Bluetooth headphones - they sound really good - and the front passenger can also watch TV without disturbing the drive, who just gets the boring satnav thanks to some dual-screen magic.
Jaguar, understanding you might want to do more than watch episode of Cash In the Attic, has included docking stations for the iPad 3 and the car comes with two as standard alongside a wireless keyboard to make typing even easier. The iPads are constantly charged.
Sadly for us the XJL we had came straight from the factory and didn't have its assigned iPads, but that didn't stop us slipping our white iPad 3 in instead.
For your privacy there are screens for the side and rear windows, and they are good enough to completely block photographers' flashes, Jaguar tell us - important if you are someone who gets "papped" a lot.
With so many toys and pleasures to hand it's hard to wonder what more you could ask for.
Of course toys are one thing, what about performance? The car is quiet, but not quiet enough for you to miss the sound of that powerful engine, while the ride is incredibly comfortable. We covered about 40 miles in our test drive from Ascot to the centre of London via the M4 and enjoyed the experience. This is a car that will certainly keep you comfortable on journeys of over two hours.
While the V8 is a thirsty bugger, Jaguar have included an eco mode that, when in traffic and stopped, cuts out the engine automatically based on whether you've got your foot on the brake - the model we were in was an automatic. While that technology can be found on other cars, its nice that Jaguar has included it here and should save you some money if you are more a city passenger.
As a complete package we like the Jaguar very much indeed. There are plenty of nice little extras that are there to be enjoyed: the chilled champagne cooler, the worktable, the iPad dock and, of course, the ride.
READ: Jaguar XJ review
For those that do want to drive it themselves, the driver's cockpit is well organised and the full electronic dash easy to read and use as it changes according to the information at hand. Go into sports mode and the dials change to red; at key turns, the clock face becomes the satnav direction. It's all very clever.
Jaguar is very much a company that is embracing tech in a good way, and more than by just giving you an iPhone connector.
Whether you buy a XJL Ultimate or happen to book one for your next ride, one thing is for certain, you'll be beaming when you step out with a sense of excitement that will only rub off on to others.
The Jaguar XJ ranges from 3.0 V6 Diesel Luxury 275PS at £56,260 to a 5.0 V8 S/C Petrol Supersport LWB at £95,235.
The Jaguar XJ Ultimate as featured here costs £121,980.