Behind the wheel Jaguar XJ Portfolio
LARGE luxury cars are not bought in large numbers and much of the trade in this segment is commanded by way of imports from Germany. Apart from the super-luxury class that has RollsRoyce and Bentley, our next best offering is the Jaguar XJ. It is a name that’s been around since man landed on the moon but now we are in a new century and reaching for Mars, the XJ bears no resemblance to what it looked like in the Sixties.
Recently, I had a pleasant drive down the Ayrshire coast in a new XJ, stopping in Largs to have a picnic by the seaside.
From my picnic bench, I studied the profile of the XJ. In the past 10 years it has received subtle modifications and its physique now has a much more athletic stance. Creases and folds in its metal have introduced some vigour and the revised styling of the headlamps and taillights have also added spice. A resident gull that had joined me at the bench also appeared to look upon it with some approval.
My model was the XJ Portfolio SWB with a three-litre 350ps V6 diesel engine that was linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. The cabin impresses with superbly quilted, perforated leather covering the seats. Opulence continues when the wood veneer on the door panels has an inset line of multiwood, stylish and very Jaguar.
This display of British craftsmanship is clouded in my opinion by a swamp of what appears like black fondant icing edging towards the instruments from the top of the headed towards Lochwinnoch. Here long stretches followed by sweeping bends showed this Jaguar to be immensely pleasing to drive, gripping fiercely in corners and remaining taut and upright at all times.
The XJ will probably remain as next best luxury car to what the Germans can offer but I think it deserves better. If it might be accepted that its style and charisma is now of the modern day it casts a shadow that’s not much different to its opposition. The Jaguar brand in general has a fine line-up in the F-Pace, E-Pace, I-Pace and F-Type, all modern cars that are ready and able to make a dent on imports – after all, business is business.
The Jaguar XJ is opulent and comfortable but can respond in an instant when necessary