The last Jaguar XJ we tested was the supercharged Jaguar XJR; this time with ever increasing fuel costs we are testing the diesel powered Jaguar Sovereign LWB (Long Wheel Base). Once the thought of a diesel Jaguar would have been sacrilegious but haven driven an S-Type with the same engine we knew that we would be in for a treat.
The current version of the Jaguar XJ has been with us since 2003, for 2008 the Jaguar XJ was given an aggressive facelift; starting with a distinctive new front grille, a look complemented by new side vents, lower body sills and a subtle rear spoiler. The interior has revisions mainly centred on the seat design, with heated front seats now as standard across the range. Rear legroom has been improved by redesigning the front seat backs.
One of the major advantages of the XJ over the competition is that it is built from aluminium which is a lot lighter than steel - with its monocoque design it is 60% stiffer and 40% lighter than the previous model, which translates into better performance and fuel consumption figures, especially over the XJ’s key competitors.
Although we are driving the diesel powered V6 2.7 litre (204 bhp) bi-turbo diesel, there are three petrol variants, the V6 3.0 litre (240 bhp), V8 4.2 litre (300 bhp) and a wonderful supercharged V8 4.2 (400 bhp), which we tested last year - all variants are mated to a six speed automatic ZF ‘J’ gate gearbox.
The diesel engine is shared with various modifications by a lot of different cars including the Land Rover Discovery through to the Peugeot 407 Coupe and we love it, it is fabulous. If you have never really been that keen on diesel engines, it might well be the engine that changes your mind.
In the Jaguar XJ it produces 204 bhp @ 4000 rpm, delivering 321 lb/ft of torque @ 1900 rpm, which propels the XJ from 0 - 60 mph in just 7.8 seconds and moves it onto 141 mph.
The engine and gearbox are silky smooth and although the 6-speed ‘J’ gate automatic gearbox, is beginning to show its age, the changes remain a smooth as ever, but we would prefer to have manual control over our gears. You cannot manually change gear as you can in the Jaguar XK; you are only able to hold the car in gears using the ‘J’ gate, which is a bit of a shame. There is a sports mode which hangs on to the gears for a little bit longer before changing up; our car spent 80% of its time simply in drive.
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