Jaguar XJ


Debut: 2010
Maker: Jaguar
Predecessor: XJ (2003)



 Published on 14 Mar 2010
All rights reserved. 

Think about how a big cat looks - slim, light and athletic on the one hand, calm and noble on the other hand.



I have a soft spot on Jaguar XJ since childhood. Many years ago a British guy ran a classic car garage near my house. Everyday on my way to school I walked pass the garage in front of which a Jaguar XJ6 Series III was parked. Of course, at that time I had no knowledge about the history or fame behind this car, neither had I heard the name William Lyons or Pininfarina. However, that did not stop me from admiring the classical shape of the XJ. Since then the Jaguar saloon had a special place in my heart.

History told us the original XJ was the most enduring saloon design of all time. From its birth in 1968 to the last generation ended in 2009, its style barely changed a little. Even though the underpinnings were thoroughly modernised from time to time - with major redesign in 1986, 1993, 1997 and 2003 - its appearance still sticked to the original design by Sir Lyons. However, this situation cannot carry on forever. As reflected by sliding sales in recent years, new generations of customers are not in fond of classical styling. Many of them went to the Avant-garde camp of BMW and Audi (now also Lexus). Moreover, the classical approach is difficult to work with modern aerodynamics. Further tweaks may damage the integrity of the original design. That is why Ian Callum, Jaguar's design boss, decided to reinvent the design language of XJ. Compared with his predecessor, the late Geoff Lawson, Callum is more willing to take risks and more eager to make a statement of his own. This sounds worrying to traditionalists and the hardcore fans of Lyons (like me). However, perhaps we should think in the other way: if William Lyons were still alive, would he do the same ? or would he choose to play safe ? Remembering his approval of the forward-thinking E-type, I think he would most probably agree with Callum.


Ian Callum is eager to make a statement of his own...


Having experimented with XK coupe in 2006, Callum hit the jackpot with the new XF launched next year. The latter is a landmark design, combining the sportiness of coupe and the elegance of luxury car in a way no one else has succeeded - not even Mercedes-Benz CLS. Now the new XJ develops further in this direction. Given a more generous length than the XF, the flagship Jaguar can only look better.

So what is the outcome ? Let me save a thousand words and summarize in this way: think about how a real jaguar (I mean the big-cat-style animal) looks - slim, light and athletic on the one hand, calm and noble on the other hand. You can see the same character in the new XJ. In my eyes, this is the best ever interpretation of "four-door coupe", and way more attractive than the conservative Mercedes, BMW and Audi etc. Drive it in urban area and you will find everybody staring at it. It is easily the most head-turning luxury car on the market. The only controversial point is the black-out C-pillars, introduced to lighten the visual mass of the back. It takes some getting used to, but it does make the XJ even more special, thus becomes a signature of the car.


Black-out C-pillars are its signatures.


Incredibly, under the sheet aluminum is the same platform as the last generation XJ. Jaguar spent substantial money to develop the outgoing car's aluminum monocoque chassis, so it has to recoup the investment from the new generation. Since the underpinnings are fundamentally the same, the 3034 mm wheelbase is unaltered. Its overall length has grown by merely 30 mm. Its width has grown by another 30 mm to house wider tracks. The 1448 mm height is identical to the old car's, making it lower than its mainstream luxury car rivals but taller than the sporty Porsche Panamera and Maserati Quattroporte. As expected, the sleeker shape returns lower drag. Cx is lowered from the previous 0.32 to a much more competitive 0.28.

As before, Jaguar XJ and Audi A8 are the only mass production cars in the world that use aluminum chassis. They are more costly to build than conventional steel monocoque, of course, but the price pays off on the scale. Take an XJ 5.0 V8 for example, it tips the scale at 1755 kilograms with full tank of fuel and fluid, undercutting BMW 750i by 190 kg, Mercedes S500 by 125 kg and Maserati Quattroporte by 235 kg. Without burdening by 4-wheel-drive hardware, it also beats the new Audi A8 by 80 kg. In fact, the XJ is even lighter than the steel-bodied XF !



Incredibly, under the sheet aluminum is the same platform as the last generation XJ.


As before, the lightweight chassis of Jaguar is made of stamped, extruded and cast aluminum parts bonded by rivets and epoxy, like Lotus Elise but unlike Audi A8 (which uses mainly welding). However, plenty of fine tunings improved the new chassis:

1.
By using more high-strength aluminum and more cast nodes, its torsional rigidity is lifted by 11 percent.
2.
In order to improve turn-in response and steering precision, the front subframe is no longer mounted to the chassis via rubber bushings, but rigidly connected.
3.
The hydraulic-assisted steering rack comes straight from XFR. It is quicker and more accurate than the old helm.
4.
While the old car employed air springs front and rear, the new car reverts to steel springs up front in order to deliver keener response and feedback to the driver. Air springs still serve the rear suspension, as back seat passengers need that extra cushioning and the ability to maintain ride height regardless of load.
5.
The previous CATS adaptive damping was a two-stage system that switched between hard and soft setting. Now the new car follows XF and XK to adopt a continuously variable damping by Bilstein.
6.
The philosophy of suspension tuning has also been changed. Previous Jaguars always biased strongly towards supple ride. Now Gaydon prefers a sportier character like German cars, which means stiffer springs to tighten body control and a damping tuned to match the sporty character.
7.
Finally, an electronic active rear differential is added to the range-topping Supersport model, utilizing torque vectoring to eliminate under and oversteer.


You feel like sitting in a luxury yacht...


But before assessing its dynamic behaviour, let's get on board first. Open the door, wow, what you see is the most visually attractive cabin in the mainstream luxury segment ! It looks really special, like nothing else in the class thanks to its unusually sporty and bespoke feel. It makes the cabin design of BMW, Mercedes and even Audi dull in comparison. The German cars employ top-notch materials, unquestionably, but none of them mix and match leather and wood as tastefully as the British car. First of all, you will notice the dashboard level is set much lower than those in conventional sedans, more like that of a sports car, especially with the presence of a big transmission tunnel. The dashboard architecture recesses from the shoulder line by a couple of inches. Brilliantly, Ian Callum filled that gap with an arc of wooden stripe, which flows to an ocean of wood at each door. As a result, you feel like sitting in a luxury yacht !

The dashboard architecture is as simple and intuitive as those of traditional sports cars, but it is elegantly decorated with lacquer black (on center console) and a lot of chrome. Callum chose classic eyeball air vents to enhance the sports car feel further. They are nicely chromed and has a tactile feel in swivel. The small-diameter helm looks sporty and feels great in hands. Regarding fancy technology, how can we miss the XF-style rotary gear selector, which rises from the transmission tunnel when you wake up the XJ ? New toys include a virtual instrument panel by TFT screen, which also changes colors depending on driving mode, and a center console touch screen that displays something (e.g. sat-nav map) to the driver and something else (e.g. DVD movie) to the passenger at the same time, though both features were already available in Mercedes S-class. On the downside, the Jag does not offer a lot of advanced safety equipments like its rivals. Things like night vision, lane departure warning, blindspot warning or drowsy alert are all missing.


Eyeball air vents are chosen to enhance sports car feel.


Fortunately, interior space is adequate, although its coupe shape suggested otherwise. It is not as spacious as Mercedes S-class, of course, but it is not ashamed to compare with A8 or 7-series, at least in the popular long-wheelbase car (which adds 125mm). An XJ LWB offers vast of legroom and enough headroom to accommodate passengers up to 6 feet 4 inch. In short-wheelbase form, rear headroom is a little in short supply. However, either cars treat its driver well with loads of head and legroom, comfy seats and an ambience lightened by the glass moonroof. This is perhaps the most important to the driver-oriented Jaguar.

Limited by its small economy of scale, Jaguar can offer only three choices of powertrain - 275 hp 3.0 twin-turbo diesel V6, 385 hp 5.0 V8 and 510 hp supercharged 5.0 V8 (remark: some markets are offered with 470 hp version of the last engine) - all come straight from XF together with the compulsory ZF 6-speed automatic. Fortunately, all of them are excellent engines. In Europe, majority of sales will go to the diesel V6, which is immensely torquey (442 pound-foot), quick (0-60 mph in 6 seconds flat), frugal (40 mpg combined) and remarkably refined. It is the most sensible choice in the bunch. Globally, the naturally aspirated V8 is expected to take 60 percent shares of the total sales because clean diesel is not available in America. It is also a good engine, being the smoothest and quietest in the range. Though not as quick as the turbocharged BMW 750i, its 0-60 mph time of 5.4 seconds is by no means slow, and definitely feels faster than Audi A8 4.2 FSI which claimed the same time. It's not a surprise, because the Jaguar V8 is not only larger in capacity but also packs virtually any technologies available, from direct injection to variable valve timing and lift. The Jaguar's 6-speed ZF box might be a generation older than Audi's 8-speed unit, but in terms of response and smoothness it lost nothing.


While previous XJs were magic carpets, the new car feels far more connected to the road...


The supercharged V8 of range-topping XJ Supersport is carried over from XFR. As both cars weigh the same, you can expect the same performance - we are talking about 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and 0-100 mph in about 10 seconds. Jaguar could have named it as XJR, but a change in marketing strategy means the flagship large car will no longer be promoted as a fire-breathing performance saloon. That task will be left to the smaller XFR. The XJ Supersport is more about strong performance at minimum fuss. Its extra sound insulation (see that plastic engine cladding) effectively filters out most of the supercharger whine, although you can still hear pronounced exhaust note once you hammer the throttle.

On the road, if you had driven the old XJ, you will be impressed by the new car's effortless performance as well as its quiet cabin. Not so sure is the ride quality. While previous generations of XJ were renowned for a magic carpet ride over poor surfaces, the new car with its stiffer suspension setting and lower profile tires feels far more connected to the road. On broken surfaces, it is not as comfortable to back seat passengers. Some may feel disappointed, but in return the car provides you unprecedented level of control. Each encounter of bumps gets responded immediately and cleanly without following by bounces. As a result, on normal roads the ride is actually more composed. If you go cross country, the new XJ will be the more comfortable companion.


The Jag feels old-school honest, and it delivers handling and ride in one consistent manner...


However, what makes the XJ special is its handling. This car feels really agile and light on its feet. It delivers much the same cornering prowess as a 7-series or A8 without resorting to active anti-roll bars, active steering, 4WD or 4WS. The only fancy electronic driving aid it provides is a simple control system with the choice of comfort, dynamic or snow mode, which alter damping stiffness, gearshift speed and throttle response. That's all. The Jaguar utilizes its inherent advantage in weight and balance to tear its rivals in pieces. Therefore, its driving feels natural and engaging. While the German cars feel like a summation of different systems and their handling/ride characteristics depend very much on the settings you choose, the Jaguar feels old-school honest, and it delivers handling and ride in one consistent manner. With a light yet accurate and uncorrupted steering, a neutral cornering attitude, excellent body control, progressive braking and deeply contoured driver seat, the XJ is the most enjoyable big limousine to attack winding roads. In this way, it sounds closer to the camp of Maserati Quattroporte and Aston Rapide.

Because the new XJ is this good to drive, this good to look and this good to sit in, we have no reason not to declare it as the new class leader. Although Mercedes S-class is still the better car to back seat passengers, to those who drive by themselves, nothing else is as great as the XJ.
Verdict: 
 Published on 4 Oct 2012 All rights reserved. 
XJ 3.0V6 SC

New supercharged V6 fills the gap between V8 and V6 diesel, but it is not the best choice...


Since the demise of the Ford Duratec 3.0 V6, Jaguar has been missing a petrol V6 for some time. The current XF and XJ are powered by either 3-liter turbo diesel V6 or 5-liter V8 (supercharged or not). This mean for diesel-unfriendly markets like the USA, China and Russia these cars are being sold without a relatively affordable and frugal engine. The introduction of new V6 should fill this missing link.

The new V6 is derived from the existing Gen III AJ-V8. Apart from getting rid of two cylinders, its bore and stroke have been reduced to 84.5 and 89 mm respectively, dropping capacity to 2995 cc. As it shares the V8's all-aluminum construction and 90-degree V-angle, it necessitates counter-rotating balancer weights to be added at both ends of the crankshaft to cancel the first order vibration. Dual-VVT and direct injection are carried over from the V8 as well, but compression ratio has been lifted from 9.5:1 on the supercharged V8 to 10.5:1. Inside the V-valley sits an Eaton TVS twin-vortex supercharger.

XJ is the first model to get the service of this new engine. In this guise it produces 340 horsepower and 332 pound-foot of torque, more than its Audi and BMW rivals. However, that cannot match the naturally aspirated V8's 385 hp and 390 lbft, even though it might have a flatter torque curve, which stays flat from 1800 to 4000 rpm. Official figures said the 3.0 SC goes from rest to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, a couple of tenths longer than the 5.0 V8. Meanwhile, CO2 emission is reduced by 15 percent to 224 g/km, partly thanks to the inclusion of automatic stop-start and the upgrade to ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox.


Expansion joints on motorway are better dealt with than before, but still you won't buy this car for rolling refinement.


On the road, the downsized engine feels plenty strong and flexible. Refinement is generally excellent, although at high rev it does not deliver the same turbine smoothness as the V8. The supercharged sound is by no means unpleasant, while the exhaust note is well tuned. Even so, you won't find it as musical as the naturally-aspirated V8. The 8-speed gearbox works flawlessly most of the time, but it could be slow to downshift when you floor down the throttle suddenly from cruising speed.

The rest of the car is not much different from our first review. Even though Jaguar has taken this opportunity to soften its suspension a little, the big cat is still easily the hardest riding big limousine on the market – save Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS perhaps. It still crashes over low-speed bumps and broken pavements. At speed, expansion joints on motorway are better dealt with than before, but still you won't buy this car for rolling refinement. On the flip side, it is still the sportiest to handle and the most enjoyable to drive hard. Great body control, keen response and communicative steering mark it out from the usual German luxury limousines. This is why it still catches our hearts.

Having said that, the 3.0 supercharged V6 is probably not a leap as big as we hoped for. Considering its emission and fuel consumption are only 10 percent lower than those of the 5-liter naturally aspirated V8 (now also pairs with 8-speed auto), its compromises in sound quality and high-end refinement are not so easy to justify. To purists, the V8 is still the better choice.
Verdict:
 Published on 13 Aug 2013
All rights reserved. 
XJR

The XJR should have been called XJR-S instead, considering how sporty the XJ Supersport is.


The rebirth of XJR, the introduction of XKR-S, XFR-S and F-Type are signs that Jaguar is adjusting its product strategy. In the attempt to distinguish itself from the established German rivals, it is edging closer to the forefront of sporty motoring. You might argue that XJR is not exactly a new addition. Jaguar produced 3 generations of XJR before the birth of the current generation XJ, and each of them represented a giant leap in performance from the lesser XJ models. However, the new XJR is on a different level again. Considering the existing XJ Supersport is already a very sporty limousine – for example, its supercharged 5-liter V8 produces 510 horsepower, some 110 hp more than the last XJR! – it could be easily branded as XJR if Jaguar wished. With even more power and sportier suspension, the new XJR should have been called XJR-S instead, especially when you know it employs the same engine tuning as XKR-S and XFR-S.


The exhaust note is too civlized and no where as special as that of AMG or Maserati.


The XJR engine is practically unchanged from the Supersport, but its revised ECU and new exhaust liberate another 40 horsepower and 41 lbft of torque at the top end. By percentage it is not a big jump, but anyway the extra performance can be felt on the road, as is the 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds. Top speed is now governed at 174 mph instead of the usual 155 mph. Although its performance is still no match with that of Mercedes S63 AMG or Porsche Panamera Turbo S, the gap is so small in the real-world that I suppose the only thing leaving something to be desired is the exhaust note, which is too civlized and no where as special as that of AMG or Maserati.

More important is how it corners. The XJR has beefed up suspension, which is 10 percent stiffer than the Supersport, thanks to harder springs and revised adaptive damping program. The hydraulic power steering is recalibrated to be heavier and 10 percent faster around the straight-ahead. The Pirelli rubbers are not only wider, with 265/35ZR20 up front and 295/30ZR20 at the rear, but also specially developed for the car. The active differential and stability control are also recalibrated to reflect its higher cornering prowess. Lastly, larger disc brakes (380 mm front and 376 mm rear) provide enhanced stopping power.


A worthy choice to keen drivers who also want the comfort and image of big limos.


Inside, the only change is the sporty bucket seats. No complaint here, as the XJ already has one of the most stylish cabins, it would be foolish to use gadgets like carbon-fiber trims to ruin its purity. Outside, the car can be distinguished with the bezels at the front side intakes and quad-exhaust at the back. Like other performance limousines, it is deliberately understated to please its buyers.

On the road, as expected, the XJR is a little sharper to drive than the XJ Supersport. It grips better, corners flatter and steers sharper. The difference is not as dramatic as, say, a Mercedes S-class transformed to S63 AMG, because the XJ Supersport (or actually all XJs) is already a very good driver's car in the limousine crowd. It feels light and agile, willing to turn and has its large body controlled precisely. The R treatment just lifts the game by 10 percent here and there. On the downside, the ride quality suffers a bit on poor surfaces, which means it suits the smooth roads of USA and European continent more than Britain. Anyway, the compromise is well judged for a sport limousine. The bottom line is: XJR is a worthy choice to keen drivers who also want the comfort and image of big limos.
Verdict:
 Published on 26 Oct 2017
All rights reserved. 
XJR 575


The improvements might be subtle, but the XJR's great fundamental still shines.


First impression on the XJR 575 is not good: the eye-catching blue paint suits more a Ford Focus RS than a Jaguar luxury performance flagship. The same goes for the black instead of chrome inserts in its front grille and bumper intakes. Inside, the “575” decals on seats pleases boy racers instead of the wealthy and matured buyers Jaguar aimed at. The design is not quite as tasteful as we expected from Jaguar or Ian Callum. This proves that even a great designer may have off-form days.

In essence, the XJR 575 is only a subtle evolution of the outgoing XJR – yes, the 550hp model is no longer available. And don’t forget that the current generation XJ has been soldiering since early 2010. The next generation XJ is likely to become an all-electric limousine, but it is at least 3 years away from reality. Meanwhile, sales of the current generation dropped to just 11,500 units in the last fiscal year as Mercedes S-class and BMW 7-Series dominate. This year the F-segment is going to be tougher still because of the renewal of Audi A8 and Lexus LS.

With limited sales volume in sight, Jaguar has no option but a subtle refresh. All XJ models now get the company’s electric power steering finally, which is a must to enable the car to equip automatic driving aids like parking assist and lane-keeping assist. It also gets an updated infotainment system, which is a big improvement from the old unit but still no match for its German counterparts. On the XJR 575, the interior adds carbon-fiber trims (quite pointless to me but buyers love anyway) and diamond stitching on the seats. However, what makes the XJ outstanding is still its low-setting, cocooned dashboard architecture. Even though the quality of materials, build and switchgears is no longer as good as those of the German, it feels more special. And its sports car-like low driving position is unmatched by anything in the class without a Porsche badge.


For pure driving excitement, it beats even the big Porsche.


As suggested by its name, the 5-liter supercharged V8 gets a power boost of 25 ponies thanks to a remapped ECU. Peak torque inches up by merely 14 lbft, and it is seen at a narrower window, so in the real world it is hard to say if the XJR 575 is faster – unless you push it on Autobahn beyond 174mph, because its speed regulation has been lifted to 186mph, or the magic 300kph mark. 0-60 mph is supposed to take two-tenths less at 4.2 seconds, but hey, the new Mercedes S63 4matic takes 3.4 seconds while BMW M760Li needs 3.6 ticks!

Yes, the Jaguar cannot win over its German rivals in straight line speed. However, it is also the lightest and lowest car in the class. Coupling to Jaguar’s great chassis tuning and a suspension setting biased towards the sporty side, no wonder it feels the sportiest to drive this side of Porsche Panamera. It feels lighter, nimbler and tighter controlled than either S63 or BMW M760Li even though without the aid of rear-wheel steering. As in the case of XE and XF, its electrical power steering is direct, precise and nicely loaded with the information you need, or in other words, peerless. The engine might not be as crazy as AMG’s V8 or as smooth as BMW’s V12, but it is still a faithful powerplant with linear power delivery, crisped throttle response and a nice, albeit muffled snarl at work. The automatic gearbox shifts impeccably and responds quickly to manual shift. The brakes are also very good and trustable. For pure driving excitement, it beats even the big Porsche.

When you want to relax, the Jaguar is not quite as good as the German. Even in comfort mode the suspension still rides firmer than others, although it is more than acceptable. At higher speeds there is more wind noise penetrated from the pillars. That said, there is no point to pursue maximum refinement if you buy a performance flagship like this. What make you hesitant are likely to be its older packaging, electronics, build quality and the questionable cosmetics. As a 7-year-old model, yes, it does feel outdated in many aspects. But if you focus on dynamics, it can still teach the German cars a lesson or two.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout
Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
XJ 3.0D
2010 (2015)
Front-engined, RWD
Aluminum monocoque
Aluminum
5122 / 1894 / 1448 mm
3032 mm
V6, 60-degree, diesel
2993 cc
DOHC 24 valves
Sequential VTG twin-turbo
CDI
275 hp (300 hp)
442 lbft (516 lbft)
6-speed auto (8-speed auto)
All: double-wishbone
Adaptive air spring + damping
F: 245/40ZR20
R: 275/35ZR20
1796 kg (1835 kg)
155 mph (limited)
6.1 (c) / 6.3* (5.9 (c))
16.5*
XJ 5.0
2010
Front-engined, RWD
Aluminum monocoque
Aluminum
5122 / 1894 / 1448 mm
3032 mm
V8, 90-degree
5000 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT, VVL
VIM
DI
385 hp
380 lbft
6-speed auto (8A from 2013)
All: double-wishbone
Adaptive air spring + damping
F: 245/40ZR20
R: 275/35ZR20
1755 kg
155 mph (limited)
5.4 (c)
-
XJ Supersport
2010
Front-engined, RWD
Aluminum monocoque
Aluminum
5122 / 1894 / 1448 mm
3032 mm
V8, 90-degree
5000 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
Supercharger
DI
510 hp
461 lbft
6-speed auto (8A from 2013)
All: double-wishbone
Adaptive air spring + damping
F: 245/40ZR20
R: 275/35ZR20
1892 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.7 (c) / 4.1**
9.3**




Performance tested by: *Autocar, **C&D





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout
Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
XJ 3.0 Supercharged
2012
Front-engined, RWD
Aluminum monocoque
Aluminum
5122 / 1894 / 1448 mm
3032 mm
V6, 90-degree
2995 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
Supercharger
DI
340 hp
332 lbft
8-speed automatic
All: double-wishbone
Adaptive air spring + damping
F: 245/45ZR19
R: 275/40ZR19
1755 kg
155 mph (limited)
5.7 (c) / 5.2*
12.7*
XJR
2013
Front-engined, RWD
Aluminum monocoque
Aluminum
5122 / 1894 / 1448 mm
3032 mm
V8, 90-degree
5000 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
Supercharger
DI
550 hp / 6500 rpm
502 lbft / 2500-5500 rpm
8-speed automatic
All: double-wishbone
Adaptive air spring + damping
F: 265/35ZR20
R: 295/30ZR20
1870 kg
174 mph (limited)
4.4 (c) / 3.9*
8.8*
XJR 575
2017
Front-engined, RWD
Aluminum monocoque
Aluminum
5130 / 1899 / 1460 mm
3032 mm
V8, 90-degree
5000 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
Supercharger
DI
575 hp / 6250-6500 rpm
516 lbft / 3500-4500 rpm
8-speed automatic
All: double-wishbone
Adaptive air spring + damping
F: 265/35ZR20
R: 295/30ZR20
1875 kg
186 mph (limited)
4.2 (c)
-




Performance tested by: *C&D





AutoZine Rating

XJ


XJR 575


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