Be­hind the wheel Jaguar XJ Port­fo­lio

The Herald Magazine - - DRIVE - AN­DREW MACKAY

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

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