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Jaguar XJ 3-litre V6 Supercharged Petrol Review - Hands On

Andrew Unsworth
8 May 2013

Effortlessly fast and supremely luxurious

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Having been mightily impressed with the Jaguar XF and XKR when we drove them in 2012, we couldn’t wait to drive the new Jaguar XJ. As with the XF and XKR, the Jaguar XJ provides a heavenly combination of high technology and high performance. Indeed, the excitement starts as soon as you start the engine, with the dashboard bursting into life and the gear selector rising from the centre console.

Perhaps most exciting for us was seeing the Jaguar XJ’s virtual instrument panel burst into existence. You won’t find an analogue dial here, just colourful and incredibly smooth graphics that elicited the same kind of joy we felt when playing the original Gran Turismo for the first time. Sadly, we had a little trouble seeing it in very bright daylight, but we imagine you can change the brightness settings in one of the XJ’s control menus.

Jaguar XJ 3-litre V6 Supercharged Petrol Three-Quarter Shot

We drove the supercharged 3-litre V6 petrol model, which develops 340PS at 6,500rpm and propels the XJ from 0-60 in 5.7 seconds – an astounding figure given the size and weight of the XJ. Although you can simply select “D” and let the XJ decide which of its eight gears is the most appropriate, a pair of paddles on the steering column lets you override the auto box and select the gear that’s most appropriate for you.

The XJ’s power delivery is well judged and smooth. It was perfectly calm and serene when setting off onto the test track, so we don’t see any trouble driving it around town or edging forward in traffic jams. Yet a sharp press of the throttle unleashes immense acceleration that throws you back in your seat. The XJ’s acceleration is so swift it’s addictive, and you find yourself involuntarily dropping a gear when exiting a corner just to feel it again. The gear change is fast – one press of the paddle and the acceleration hits you straight away, making it hard to resist the temptation.

So effortless is the acceleration, so smooth is the ride and so forgiving is the handling that we often forgot just how heavy the XJ is. There were times when we could feel gravity acting upon the XJ, trying to force it off the road and our stomachs through the floor. Despite this, we didn't feel the XJ slide or roll, it just kept on going. We don’t think we were pushing it to its full potential, though.

Of course, it's no surprise that the Jaguar XJ is luxurious. The seats are very comfortable, and although they provide lateral support, the side bolster's aren't intrusive. There's plenty of room in the cabin and the XJ's boot is a very large 520-litres, which is more than enough for a couple of suitcases.

Jaguar XJ 3-litre V6 Supercharged Petrol Front Shot

Modern Jaguars haven't failed to please, and the Jaguar XJ is no exception. Its dashboard is a tech-lover’s dream, and its supercharged engine, great handling and smooth ride made our test drive immensely pleasurable. The Jaguar XJ really does feel like a 21st century car. The version we drove costs £72,815 on the road and is in insurance group 50.

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