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Jaguar XJ

X351 XJ

1 Jul 2010

Jaguar Australia hoped the XJ would boost the whole Jaguar brand in this country with its halo, building on the aura produced by the smaller XF that arrived the previous year.

Jaguar design chief Ian Callum’s bold – some might say controversial design – eschewed the conventional lines of its predecessor, featuring a sweeping, teardrop profile with almost coupe-like style. Its shape suggested hatchback, but under the traditional sedan boot lid was a huge 520 litre space.

At the other end, four engine choices started with a 202kW/600Nm 3.0-litre turbo diesel and continued with three versions of the third-generation AJ petrol 5.0-litre V8 – a normally-aspirated one producing 283kW, and two supercharged versions, with peak outputs of 346kW and 375kW.

The 375kW performance champion could sprint from zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds, outpacing all but the 6.0-litre V12 versions of the Benz S-class and BMW 760Li (both 4.6 seconds).

Naturally, the diesel carried green credentials with a combined fuel economy rating of 7.0 litres per 100km, beating both the Mercedes S350 CDI (7.7L/100km) and BMW 730d (7.2L/100km).

The XJ oil-burner’s claimed 0-100km/h acceleration was, at 6.4 seconds, impressive compared with the diesel Mercedes’ 7.3 and BMW’s 7.2.

All Jaguar XJ models shared a ZF connect-by-wire six-speed auto transmission, with steering column paddles for manual cog-swapping.

The XJ’s extensive use of aluminium, magnesium and high tensile steel helped keep the weight down to just 1755kg for the lightest model – undercutting the lightest contemporary BMW 7Series by almost 100kg and the lightest Benz S-class by 55kg.

Available in three trim levels – Premium Luxury, Portfolio and Supersports – the XJ range came in standard wheelbase or a 125mm-stretched long-wheelbase form for a more specious rear compartment, along with more expansive rear doors for easier entry and exit.

All models shared a hi-tech 12.3-inch TFT high-definition display for the instruments, which instead of traditional gauges, used three rings to present information.

There was also an innovative dual-view eight-inch touch-screen that could project DVD movies or television programs to the passenger, while the driver viewed vehicle functions or followed satellite navigation.

Audio purists could opt for a 1200w audio system developed exclusively for the range by Bowers & Wilkins and other advanced infotainment features included hard-drive-based audio and navigation systems and comprehensive connectivity for portable audio and video devices via the powerful media hub.

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