|>Why the Jaguar XJ is a motorway muncher
By Ray Massey
Last updated at 11:57 AM on 5th July 2010
Jaguar XJ 3.0 diesel (Portfolio short wheelbase)
- Jaguar's new flagship saloon has already been spotted in Downing Street transporting Home secretary Theresa May. The PM's own fully armoured version has yet to be delivered.
- I took the standard aluminium-bodied version on a 700-mile round-trip to the beautiful Northumbrian coast, putting it through its paces on a golfing holiday.
- A mile-munching luxury limousine that eats motorways for breakfast. Smooth but also exciting and nimble.
- Strikingly contemporary looking for Jaguar, created by chief designer Ian Callum, who has propelled the car marque into the 21st century on 20-inch wheels. All the traditional Jaguar attributes with a modern twist.
Luxury: Jaguar's new flagship saloon has already been spotted in Downing Street
- Superb in-car entertainment stereo system — and even a seat massager.
- Fair size, though not cavernous, 520-litre boot.
- Sumptuous leather and wood interior akin to a top-class yacht.
- Three trim levels — Luxury, Premium Luxury and Portfolio.
- Brilliant blind-spot monitors on the mirrors. Amber icons of cars in the corner warn at a glance when an overtaking vehicle is sneaking up in the next lane 20 yards behind you.
- Handy parking aids include an audible alert and a rear-view camera, which pops up on the dashboard screen.
- Mood-enhancing interior lights and lots of toys, including an 8in dual-view touchscreen so the front passenger can watch TV and listen on headphones, while the driver looks at the sat-nav and listens to a CD, MP3 player, or radio. Bowers and Wilkins 1,200W 20-speaker voice-controlled sound system.
- Electronic instrument panel with 'virtual' computer-generated dials on a 12-in screen for the speedo, rev counter and key gauges.
- Automatic speed limiter and adaptive cruise control, which warns when you're too close to the car in front.
- The short wheelbase is for drivers. If you're going to be chauffeured around, you'll want the long wheelbase.
- It's no slouch. The V6 275 horsepower diesel will accelerate from rest to 60mph in six seconds. Top speed is limited to 155mph.
- Surprisingly frugal on fuel, with the maker claiming 40mpg. Co2 emissions are just 182g/km; low for a car of such presence, stature, size and power.
- Also comes in three versions of the 5-litre V8 petrol engine, including a 510hp supercharged, boasting 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds.
- Clever keyless entry, so you just need the fob in your pocket to open the doors.
- I became comfortable with this car quickly and was loath to hand it back.
- I'd need another week with the manual to work out all the gizmos.
- The exterior 'Caviar' coloured paint (a sort of indeterminate browny-purple) of the model I drove did not go down well. And the 'truffle' dashboard colour was bordering on tacky.
- One of the rear 'one-touch' anti-trap electric windows was temperamental and difficult to close without it opening again.