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Old cat learns new tricks. Image by James Jenkins.

Old cat learns new tricks
Jaguar has freshened up the XJ and though it's still a conservative looker, it ticks most other luxury car boxes with ease.

   



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| A Week at the Wheel | Cambs, England | Jaguar XJ V8 |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

The exterior revisions are probably the most important. As well as small changes to front and rear bumper mouldings - that make a surprising amount of difference to the looks - the flanks are now adorned with the vertical vent type strakes first seen on the XK and also set to feature on the new XF. Certainly the looks have been freshened and the XJ remains a classical looking Jaguar, but therein lies most of the car's problems. People now demand more modernistic designs and the retro style of the XJ no longer appears to cut it in the luxury market sector.

The interior on the other hand is very special indeed. The long wheelbase model adds about a foot between the axles and pretty much all of that goes straight into the rear part of the passenger compartment. Rear leg room is instantly increased to limo proportions and, as is the likely end purpose of the longer XJ, it's a wonderful place to be driven around in. Hugely comfortable, beautifully finished and with all controls for air conditioning and entertainment system within easy reach, occupants enjoy a truly pleasurable environment, as, of course, does the driver.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

Virtually impossible to fault the familiar V8 coupled to its six-speed automatic. It's a tour de force in terms of effortless performance and refinement that also indulges one with a delicious snarl when worked hard. Slick shifting in all conditions, the gearbox is the perfect companion to the 300 plus bhp V8 making driving, or being driven, a pleasure.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

The XJ manages to combine the comfort one would expect of a car designed to transport occupants in luxury with a sporting edge hard to find elsewhere. No doubting that much of the prowess is due to the lightweight construction, but the basic brilliance of the chassis is deeply impressive. It is genuinely a great car in which to be driven, courtesy of a fine ride with perfect damping, and, almost more remarkably, a very good car in which to enjoy driving, with responsive and well-balanced handling.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

There were no obvious shortcomings in the XJ's list of gadgets and toys and it manages to integrate them in a non intrusive manner. Bear in mind that this is the height of XJ luxury and the price doesn't seem too outlandish, particularly in comparison with rivals. Expect some savage depreciation in early life though.

In terms of economy, the all-aluminium construction pays dividends with an overall average of 22mpg achieved during our week. More time on the motorway - the XJ's most likely stomping ground - would push this average higher still.

Overall: star star star star star

It's very hard not to love the Jaguar XJ. To drive, or be driven in, it has the talent and ability to compete with any of its rivals. However, it's equally hard to overlook the fact that its appearance is now dated and no matter how capable it may be, its aging design is definitely putting off more buyers than it is attracting. The wonderful powertrain, chassis and craft are gagging for a more daring and modern body to house them. In isolation, that's not a terrible thing, but with the likes of the Lexus LS, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 on the scene, Jaguar's XJ needs more than a makeover.

Dave Jenkins - 31 Oct 2007



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2007 Jaguar XJ specifications: (4.2 litre V8 Sovereign long wheelbase)
Price: £59,892 on-the-road.
0-60mph: 6.3 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
Combined economy: 24.8mpg
Emissions: 269g/km
Kerb weight: 1615kg

2007 Jaguar XJ. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Jaguar XJ. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Jaguar XJ. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Jaguar XJ. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Jaguar XJ. Image by James Jenkins.

2007 Jaguar XJ. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Jaguar XJ. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Jaguar XJ. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Jaguar XJ. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Jaguar XJ. Image by James Jenkins.



2007 Jaguar XJ. Image by James Jenkins.
 

2007 Jaguar XJ. Image by James Jenkins.
 

2007 Jaguar XJ. Image by James Jenkins.
 






 

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