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Beijing show: Jaguar celebrates XJ 50th anniversary

Happy birthday: It has been 50 years since Jaguar launched the XJ Series I, so the British car-maker has marked the occasion with the release of the special-edition XJ50.

Special-edition Jaguar XJ50 marks golden anniversary of premium upper-large sedan

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Jaguar logo25 Apr 2018

JAGUAR has celebrated the 50th anniversary of its XJ flagship with the special-edition XJ50, which is likely to be the swan song of the fourth-generation XJ upper-large sedan before it is replaced.

Speaking to GoAuto, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Australia product public affairs manager James Scrimshaw confirmed that the XJ50 will hit showrooms in the fourth quarter this year alongside the updated XJ range, with its pricing to be announced in May.

Outed at the Beijing motor show this week, the XJ50 is likely based on the updated XJ Premium Luxury grade revealed in July last year but adds a series of exterior and interior enhancements.

The XJ50 pinches its front and rear bumpers from the higher-specification Autobiography grade, while 20-inch Venom alloy wheels, a black front grille and unique badging for the bootlid and side vents are also added.

Only four paint colours are on offer, including Fuji White, Santorini Black, Loire Blue and Rosello Red.

Inside, diamond-quilted soft-grain leather seats, Jaguar logo-embossed headrests, an XJ50 logo-debossed centre armrest, XJ50-branded scuff plates, bright metal pedals and anodised-aluminium paddle shifters feature.

The XJ50 also has equipment added in the aforementioned XJ Premium Luxury update, including electrically assisted power steering, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, a 10.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

Just like the XJ Premium Luxury, the XJ50 will be available in short- and long-wheelbase forms with the choice of two 3.0-litre V6 powertrains – either a turbocharged diesel or a supercharged petrol.

The latter produces 250kW of power at 6500rpm and 450Nm of torque from 3500 to 5000rpm, while the former develops 221kW at 4000rpm and 700Nm from 1000 to 1750rpm.

Both engines exclusively send drive to the rear wheels via an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission with torque convertor.

While the petrol bests the diesel by 0.3 seconds when sprinting from standstill to 100km/h, at 5.9s, the latter returns serve with its claimed fuel consumption figure of 7.0 litres per 100 kilometre on the combined cycle test – 2.1L/100km less than the former.

According to Jaguar Cars director of design Ian Callum, the XJ50 serves as a worthy tribute to the long-standing XJ.

“Spanning half a century, the Jaguar XJ remains true to its heritage with a wonderful balance of beautiful design, intelligent performance and indulgent luxury that ensures it stands out from the crowd,” he said.

“This is a car worth celebrating, and the XJ50 pays homage to a giant within the Jaguar brand that we believe is one of the world's most stylish sporting saloons.”

If the XJ50 is indeed based on the XJ Premium Luxury, it is likely to attract a premium over the latter, which currently ranges from $210,120 before on-road costs for the petrol to $210,360 for the diesel.

British automotive publication Autocar reported in January this year that the fifth-generation XJ is expected to be repositioned as a pure-electric offering, borrowing technology from the soon-to-be-launched I-Pace SUV.

Furthermore, it is likely to take the form of a five-door liftback, which would better compete with the Porsche Panamera and incoming Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe.

Sales of the XJ took a hit last year, with 26 examples sold to the end of 2017, down 10 units over the total it managed in 2016.

Nevertheless, the Jaguar placed fifth in the $100,000-plus upper-large-car segment last year, trailing the BMW 7 Series (164 vehicles), Mercedes-Benz S-Class (113), Porsche Panamera (111), Audi A8 (35) and Maserati Quattroporte (34).

This downward trend has continued in 2018, with just five examples of the XJ sold to the end of March, which is half of the volume moved during the same period in 2017.

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