The absolute pinnacle of Jaguar luxury is found in the XJ model. Owned by royalty, sheikhs and gangster rappers, this car sends out a definite status symbol message. While the powerful engine options keep it punchy, the interior is adorned with all the latest gadgets and upholstery for ultimate comfort. Jag doesn't scrimp when it comes to the XJ.
The Jaguar XJ 2016 has had plenty of upgrades to make it the leading car for Jag, to be sold to the elite that can afford it. With standard, long wheel base and supercharged options there's an XJ for everyone.
This year the competition from the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class is fierce. Have Jag's new infotainment system, lighter frame and smart driving assistance features put it ahead of the pride?
We took the Jaguar XJ Autobiography LWB 3.0 V6 out for a spin to see what the most kitted-out model in the range has to offer.
Jaguar XJ 2016: Design and build
The new Jaguar XJ for 2016 wants to get all up in your grille with its massive front end. It's the most obvious thing to stand out when you see the car, like an animal with its jaws wide open, ready to consume you, with chrome lower blades like teeth bared. And consume you it does as you circle around the vehicle.
The lines are long and elegant sticking to that classic Jaguar E-Type length that's never been lost. What has been ditched is the weight. This year's model now utilises an all-aluminium body construction meaning the car is lighter than previously, yet still offers stiff frame performance. It should also mean a better fuel economy for anyone who drives a 3.0 V6 and thinks about that sort of thing.
The lights are now full LED and include Jaguar's J-Blade daytime running lights. This is that instantly recognisable shape in the front that the F-Type's rear lights have similarly become well known for. These are also smart enough to move into corners so you can see ahead as you turn and to dim when in full beam mode as other cars approach.
Inside, the seats are stitched with quilted diamond patterns that look luxurious and feel the same. Under that look is massage chair functionality to back it all up. From there on out it's comfort and leather trimmed finishes all over the interior of the car.
Jaguar XJ 2016: InControl Touch Pro infotainment
Despite sticking to a classic analogue clock in the centre of the console, the XJ is crammed with next-gen technology. At the heart of it all is the latest InControl Touch Pro system backed by a 17-speaker, 825W Meridian Audio Surround Sound system. This model had the Meridian 26 digital speaker 1300W system which is an extra on the standard XJ.
The InControl Touch Pro system uses an 8-inch centre console touch screen display coupled with a driver's console screen display also. This means the three clusters behind the wheel are fully customisible. This is great for showing directions beyond the wheel while a passenger plays with the entertainment on the main screen. The head unit in the model we drove also had a heads-up display which offers speed and the limit clearly. This limit is automatically updated by the car's traffic sign recognition system.
The car is camera equipped to the point of verging on creepy, as you can see everything. From reversing camera, which is barely needed despite the long wheel base thanks to auto parking, to forward and over-wheel angles. There's even a virtual view of the car from above that uses the cameras to show what's near. Lucky it's such a nice car to look at then, you can even enjoy it from the driver's seat.
The rear seats - which are heated, cooled and will massage you - come equipped in this model with screens and a remote. These mean access to music, television, web browser, navigation and connected smartphone content. Thanks to wireless headphones each person can enjoy their own entertainment experience without pestering another. Find a nice place to go from the browser? Send it to the front so the driver can navigate right there. All while eating a massive lunch on your fold down table that uses the rear seat space perfectly.
Jaguar XJ: Performance and handling
The long wheelbase XJ we drove was certainly a lot of car to turn in a small space. But with the myriad cameras it wasn't that difficult, even if the turning circle wasn't great. The ride, as you'd expect was comfortable.
To be fair this wasn't like riding on a marshmallow as the Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7 Series can be. It definitely has a stiffer ride that equates to a sportier, more responsive feel.
This is a big car, so even with a 3.0 V6 kicking out 300PS, you're never going to feel like you're flattened into the back of your seat. The progress from standing to 60mph in 6.2 seconds, or from that onward to 100mph is consistently fast. This is a reassuring way to drive, always knowing if you need it there's enough power to progress rapidly. The eight speed automatic transmission with paddle shifts help. And, of course, it eats up motorway miles, especially with adaptive cruise control turned on.
All that said you could splash out on a 5.0 litre 510PS V8 supercharged petrol version and get all the power without sacrificing luxury. Just be prepared to spend plenty of time at the petrol station. There are also rear wheel drive and all wheel drive variants making it possible to go for a real road-thrasher option if you want you or your driver to really enjoy yourselves up in front.
The Jaguar XJ 2016 is more high-tech, more luxury and has the option of being as powerful as ever. The car feels like a no compromise combination. But at the starting price of just under £60,000 you'd expect that.
The Autobiography model we drove starts at around £80,000, but comes with pretty much all the best extras as standard. If you hit the very top spec level you're looking at about £100,000.
The competition from BMW and Mercedes offer comparable luxury and also sporty options. But if you want signature design and that aggressive sporty look and feel of a Jaguar, without losing luxury, the XJ is the ideal model. If even more sport is your thing consider the XF line perhaps.
The Jaguar XJ 2016 is a luxury powerhouse that still maintains the heritage of the name while pushing forward into the future with plenty of tech.