One Elle of a car

KEVIN HEP­WORTH purrs about the new Jaguar

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

THE Body has come face to face with the Cat, and come off sec­ond best. In­vited by Jaguar to help launch its new lux­ury XJ sedan, su­per­model Elle Macpher­son turned up wear­ing a gold mini-dress that left lit­tle to the imagination, but she still took a back seat to Jaguar’s new topof-the-line model.

The new XJ is a rad­i­cal step away from the car that has been Jaguar’s apex preda­tor for the past 40 years.

Bor­row­ing from the suc­cess­ful XF, it looks fresh and con­tem­po­rary with styling Jaguar Aus­tralia boss David Black­hall says equals that of its Ger­man ri­vals.

‘‘We all know the mar­ket is very com­pet­i­tive, but we are now on terms, styling-wise, for the first time in a long, long time,’’ Black­hall says.

‘‘Some say the XJ hasn’t changed its styling since 1968 . . . well, now we have— and you can see (de­signer) Ian Cal­lum has touched ev­ery panel.’’

With the new look comes a new self-worth re­flected in a top-end strat­egy that would have made Jaguar a laugh­ing stock with the old model.

Black­hall con­firmed the su­per­charged ver­sion of the XJ — the Su­pers­port — would be stalk­ing Porsche’s new four-door Panam­era and Maserati’s Qu­at­tro­porte.

‘‘If you think about the su­per­charged car as hav­ing sim­i­lar per­for­mance, com­pet­i­tive pric­ing and styling that some peo­ple would think more at­trac­tive, there may well be an op­por­tu­nity for us at that end of the mar­ket,’’ Black­hall says.

Jaguar has re­tained its in­dus­try lead in the use of aero­space-in­spired alu­minium body tech­nol­ogy, giv­ing the new XJ a 150kg weight ad­van­tage over its ri­vals.

The new cars will have air sus­pen­sion, adap­tive dy­nam­ics (con­tin­u­ously vari­able damp­ing), ac­tive dif­fer­en­tial con­trol and quick-ra­tio power steer­ing.

There will be a choice of four en­gines — all driv­ing through a sixspeed au­to­matic — and all will make it to Aus­tralia de­spite Black­hall’s de­sire to limit the model’s com­plex­ity.

‘‘We don’t want a lot of com­plex­ity. To be hon­est we couldn’t han­dle that in our mar­ket,’’ Black­hall says.

‘‘The range for Aus­tralia will run fairly close to the cur­rent ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

The V6 diesel is the com­pany’s proven 202kW twin-turbo 3.0-litre. The nat­u­rally as­pi­rated of­fer­ing will be a 5-litre V8 with 283kW and a 0-100km/h time of 5.7 sec­onds.

At the top of the tree is the full­works su­per­charged V8 with 375kW and a 0-100km/h sprint of 4.9 sec­onds.

The new XJ goes on sale here in March, start­ing in the low $200,000s.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.