The long wheelbase Jaguar XJ-L just got even more luxurious. We take the new Diamond Edition for a spin in the Middle East
|Engine||Power||Torque||0-100kph||Top speed||Weight||Basic price|
|V6, supercharged, 2995cc||335bhp @ 6,500rpm||332lb ft (450Nm) @ 3,500-5,000rpm||5.9 secs||250kph||'from 1775kg'(189bhp/ton)||$110,500 (as tested)|
It’s the territory of the Mercedes S Class and the BMW 7 Series. It’s like entering Bolivia trying to fight the Cali or the Medellin Cartel in the 80s. It’s war, an arena in which players use all their resources to gain control of the territory, to get a bigger market share, gain the love of the people, and the loyalty of their clients.
Jaguar has always been a bit-player in the luxury segment, an area in which the Germans have dominated for decades now and will do everything they legally can to stop the interference of the British Empire in their ‘cartel’. With the XJ-L Diamond Edition, they may have found a new invading force.
The XJ-L is a beautiful car, harmonious in its lines, British in its presence, potent yet slick, elegant and sober. High-end Jaguars were once famous for their thick leather upholsteries and walnut burl panels. Jaguar made its cars so British and elegant, that you felt like you were siting in an Oxford living room. Today things have changed but yet, it is unmistakably a Jaguar. The trim and upholstery are more aluminium and carbon fibre, but the leather remains as soft, and the ride almost obscenely comfortable. The wrap-around seats are more than my 70kg body requires, and – surprisingly – are quite firm, but ergonomically exceptional, ditto the minimalist centre console and rotary dial infotainment system control. It’s stunning.
So, it’s luxurious and gorgeous. What about power?
Oh plenty. Under the bonnet lies a 3-litre supercharged V6, a solid engine made to feel so much bigger thanks to the supercharger that helps churn out 335bhp and a 5.9 second 0-100kph time. Plenty of quiet torque – 332lb ft to be precise – propels the long wheelbase Jaguar at respectable speed with ease. The steering is quite numb, as expected, but admittedly precise, letting the front end turn into the corners with delicious accuracy, even if the back end follows the front with a little bit of delay.
The gearbox, which has always been one of the strongest pieces of equipment on automatic Jaguars, is also very quiet and quick. I do wonder though, why eight gears? Wouldn’t six be enough? When you have so much torque and good software to govern it, you want to feel the least amount of changes possible.
Like the German cousins, this machine has been designed for someone who wants to be driven by their ‘James’. Well, job well done. The back seats are perfect. Simple. There’s plenty of legroom, all the controls are easily within reach, and – in one particularly neat touch – rear passengers have the choice of a headrest mounted TV screen and a foldaway table apiece. Plus blinds to hide indiscrete looks from passers-by. All this for $108,600 (or $110,500 as tested).
Does it match a S500 or a BMW 740? Not just yet, but it costs a lot less and handles comparably well with much more personality. At the end of the day you don’t see how beautiful this car is when you are sitting behind the wheel. Small things maybe dictated by modernity and design are so important in the highest end of such a car. So, it’s not an S Class yet, but the value for money is surely its strength. Yes, the Jaguar XJ-L can find a niche in the war with the Germans and yes, it can gain market share, in a discreet battle with the Cali and the Medellin Cartel.
Enjoy our Jaguar XJ-L Diamond Edition test drive?
You can find more Jaguar stories HERE, and more of our Car Reviews HERE
- Technical specifications available on page 2