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First look: Jaguar presents its new XJ flagship

What a beauty: Our Elle Macpherson and the new XJ Jaguar competed for attention at the launch of the new-generation Big Cat in the UK.

Jaguar’s redesigned XJ limo emerges in star-studded London reveal with full details

10 Jul 2009

JAGUAR presented its all-new XJ limousine in a glamorous reveal overnight in the UK, hosted by Jay Leno and starring Elle Macpherson.

As expected, the British brand’s redesigned four-door flagship, official images of which were leaked onto the internet 24 hours ahead of last night’s long-anticipated reveal, takes on a revolutionary new look similar to that of the ground-breaking XF large sedan.

But the sleek new XJ, first deliveries of which will arrive in Australia in March next year, takes on an even more contemporary and dynamic persona by featuring a hatchback-style silhouette, integrated panoramic glass sunroof, massive chromed mesh grille and longitudinally-stretched tail-lights reminiscent of the Maybach Exelero.

Designed to appeal to a whole new generation of customers its retro-style forebear could not attract, the new XJ made its global debut at the exclusive Saatchi Gallery in London last night, presented by the petrol-headed US talk show host and 46-year-old Cronulla-born supermodel.

Jaguar Cars design director Ian McCallum described the car as "a thoroughly modern interpretation of the quintessential Jaguar".

“Its visual impact stems from the elongated teardrop shape of the car’s side windows, that powerful stance and its wide track," he said. "It is the most emphatic statement yet of Jaguar’s new design direction.”

6 center imageBoth short and long-wheelbase versions of the new XJ will be available from launch, both offering an expansive 520-litre boot that’s said to be capable of swallowing two large suitcases side by side, while the latter is claimed to deliver an extra 125mm of legroom. Despite its smoother and lower-slung shape, the biggest Jaguar model’s aerodynamic drag coefficient is an unremarkable 0.29Cd.

The modern look extends to the 2010 XJ’s all-new interior, which features extensive chrome and piano black highlights and a prominent wood veneer beltline that runs across the top of the new wrap-around dashboard and continues along the sides of the luxurious new leather-clad cabin.

Again constructed using aerospace-inspired aluminium spaceframe body technology, the new XJ is claimed to be at least 150kg lighter than its key luxury limousine rivals, including the BMW’s new 7 Series, the Mercedes-Benz S-class and Audi’s A8.

Naturally for a vehicle in this segment, the car includes latest technologies such as air suspension, a continuously variable damping system dubbed Adaptive Dynamics, a new Active Differential Control feature and a quick-ratio power steering system, all of which are said to combine to give the new XJ the sort of “responsive, dynamic handling and refined, supple ride expected from a Jaguar”.

Four petrol and diesel engines will be offered, all of which are expected to be available in Australia, and all of which will come in conjunction with a shift-by-wire, six-speed automatic transmission controlled by the JaguarDrive Selector or steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.

Headlining what are described as the most advanced, powerful and efficient (third-generation) Jaguar engines ever is a 375kW/625Nm version of the supercharged, direct-injection Gen III 5.0-litre petrol AJ-V8, which propels the range-topping XJ to 100km/h in a claimed 4.9 seconds.

At the same time, the supercharged Jaguar flagship returns combined average EU fuel consumption of 12.1 litres per 100km, and average NEDC-cycle CO2 emissions of 289 grams per kilometre.

Next engine down is a detuned 346kW/575Nm version of the same force-fed V8, which is available only in short-wheelbase guise. Officially, it is 0.3 seconds slower to 100km/h (5.2 seconds), yet returns the same fuel and emissions figures.

The naturally-aspirated version of the new AJ-V8 produces 283kW at 6500rpm (500rpm higher than the blown engine) and 515Nm of torque at 3500rpm – 1000rpm sooner than the SC V8, which holds its torque peak between 2500 and 5500rpm. Naturally, both body iterations of the atmo V8 are said to be more efficient, at 11.4L/100km and 269g/km.

In the absence of a six-cylinder petrol engine this time, the new XJ range opens with the new 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 with twin sequential turbochargers, as seen in the recent XF upgrade as well as Land Rover’s upcoming 2010 SUV range and Citroen’s upgraded C5.

Jaguar says the XJ V6D offers 202kW from 4000rpm and no less than 600Nm of torque from just 2000rpm, and can return 7.0L/100km and 184g/km in SWB form. The diesel XJ’s claimed 0-100km/h acceleration time is a respectable 6.4 seconds.

Like the current 2.7-litre XJ6D, which is priced at $160,600, the new XJ V6D is expected to be the entry-level XJ, but is expected to exceed $200,000.

That will make it more expensive than the A8 2.0 TDI quattro LWB ($172,900) and both the S320 CDI ($198,810) and new 730d ($198,800) - all of which offer less power, torque, acceleration and fuel efficiency.

All versions of the new XJ meet strict new EU5 emissions standards, offer an 82-litre fuel tank and boast an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h and, while the short-wheelbase has a 12.3-metre turning circle, the long-wheelbase XJ’s is less tight at 12.7 metres.

The standard XJ rides on a 3032mm wheelbase and, overall, measures 5122mm long, 1894mm wide and 1448mm high, while the stretched version has a 125mm-longer 3157mm wheelbase and is 5247mm long. Front and rear tracks are a respective 1626mm and 1604mm, and both models also feature 890mm and 1200mm front and rear overhangs.

While the LWB’s front legroom remains at 1055mm, rear legroom extends from 987mm in the SWB to 1121mm in the LWB.

EU kerb weight figures range from 1796kg in the SWB V6D, to 1813kg (V6D LWB), 1755kg (V8 SWB), 1773kg (V8 LWB), 1892kg (both V8 SC SWB variants) and 1915kg for the high-output V8 SC LWB flagship.

Along with an eight-inch touch screen with Dual-View technology that allows passengers to watch DVD movies or TV while the driver views vehicle or satellite-navigation functions, the XJ also features “stunning” new 12.3-inch high-definition “virtual instruments”.

Jaguar says the optional 1200-Watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system is comparable in audio quality to the world’s best home entertainment systems and includes hard drive-based audio and navigation systems, plus external audio and video connectivity via a ‘Media Hub’.

The XJ’s all-new cabin will be available in “a choice in colours, veneersand leathers not seen before in a Jaguar” across three specification levels for the AJ-V8D and AJ-V8: Luxury, Premium Luxury and Portfolio. The top-shelf 375kW XJ ‘Supersport’ will come with leather headlining, semi-aniline leather trim and interior veneers with laser inlays.

“These are truly exciting times for us at Jaguar," said Jaguar Cars managing director, Mike O'Driscoll. “The new XJ is truly beautiful, exhilarating to drive, and with its bold, enlightened approach to design, it meets the challenges of our fast-changing world. It re-imagines the ultimate sporting luxury car.”

Read more:

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