Sporty XJ has su­perb han­dling

Wales On Sunday - - MOTORS - ED­WARD STEPHENS news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

T HE next time you see Theresa May on the news get­ting into her of­fi­cial car in 10 Down­ing Street take note of what it is.

And if you happen to see a re-run of the James Bond film Sky­fall where M is sit­ting in her of­fi­cial car take a close look at the classy in­te­rior.

Sta­tus dic­tates that both women will be trans­ported in a car of qual­ity which ex­udes Br­tish­ness. And noth­ing fits the bill more than the Jaguar XJ.

Ver­sions of the XJ have been the car of choice of chief ex­ec­u­tives of some of this coun­try’s top com­pa­nies for years and re­garded very much as the busi­ness­man’s car. And while that’s still true to­day there are XJs that have a dis­tinctly younger im­age.

Opt for an XJ R-Sport, for ex­am­ple, and you get a car with sport­ing side sills, a gloss black ra­di­a­tor grille, gloss black lower grille and gloss black rear valance.

Or­der your car in Ital­ian rac­ing red and add the black pack op­tion – which in­cludes dark grey 20-inch al­loys and gloss black sur­rounds – and you have an XJ with at­ti­tude.

Add the no cost pri­vacy glass which means a much heav­ier tint to the rear side win­dows and you have an XJ of a very dif­fer­ent na­ture to the Prime Min­is­ter’s.

But it’s not just the exterior that changes. The R-Sport model means that in­side you get pow­ered, multi ad­justable sports seats with red stitch­ing which re­ally hold you firmly in place, the R-Sport logo on the tread plates and steer­ing wheel, and chrome rac­ing ped­als.

This trendy pow­er­house packs a big punch too, with a 3.0-litre, 300ps V6 under the bon­net which of­fers high per­for­mance with sen­si­ble econ­omy.

While the top speed is lim­ited to 155 miles per hour it will hit 62mph from stand­still in a very rapid 6.2 sec­onds.

But the best thing about this car is how smoothly it de­liv­ers the power, ef­fort­lessly and al­most in si­lence.

In fact it’s so quiet it’s of­ten hard to ap­pre­ci­ate that it has a diesel en­gine, although like all XJ mod­els the in­te­rior is a dis­tinctly silent co­coon thanks in part to very ef­fi­cient sound­proof­ing and dou­ble glazed win­dows.

The XJ R-Sport ver­sion might be the trendy, sport­ing model but Jaguar still pro­vides the sort of qual­ity trim and fea­tures that make it syn­ony­mous with lux­ury.

Qual­ity leather upholstery, a nice dis­play of chrome fea­tures on the trans­mis­sion tun­nel and dash­board and – in the case of this car – pi­ano black ve­neer pan­els to set the whole thing off.

This diesel comes with Jaguar’s eight-speed au­to­matic gear­box and as you push the starter but­ton – it’s key­less en­try/exit and key­less stop/ start – the round gear shift rises up in si­lence like a piece of the­atre.

Even in nor­mal drive mode this V6 is quick. When you want to liven things up a lit­tle just turn the gearshift to sport or use the pad­dles be­hind the steer­ing wheel and the RS­port re­ally lives up to its name.

And it’s nice to find a large rear­wheel drive car that han­dles so su­perbly. But then it would, wouldn’t it? You would ex­pect no less from a Jaguar.

The Jaguar XJ 3.0d V6 R-Sport is avail­able from £70,975

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