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Published on July 27th, 2010 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Latest Jaguar XJ For Malaysia driven in Phuket

Ian Callum had a tough job keeping Jaguar’s traditional design language intact whilst trying to attract a new breed of buyers to something so British that even German automakers find hard to un-seed in the ultimate prestige top spot. Today, even a 30 year old jag commands more respect in front of a 5-star hotel lobby over a multimillion German marquee. Classic lines and the leaping cat had to be tamed for various reasons and so the leaping cat was tamed and planted on the center grille and the all too familiar Jag lines hidden away by modern wind cheating architecture. The first thing you must realize about this car is its ability to attract a new generation of buyers previously interested in German made luxury sedans.

Forget about the way it looks as your negative remarks about its design will only mean that you are not the demographic buyer and instead you are the just a casual dreamer. This is car that will attract buyers previously looking at a business sedan able to impress clients as well as accommodate the owner’s supercar needs in the weekend and after hours.

This XJ’s curvaceous lines and bold proportions take just a short few seconds to absorb. The side profile of the car confirms to us that a true master artist sketched this car. Unlike its most immediate competitors from the precision factories in Munich, Stuttgart and Inglostad, this new XJ exudes charm and exclusivity from the word go. The protruding nose grille is flanked either side by rather smallish headlamps with daytime running lights included now. The boot lid is high and rather square-ish after coming from a moulded nose. Twin exhaust pipes peep out from under the large bumper.

Open the driver’s door and there is more excitement to be had. The interior is a smorgasbord of the finest materials known to test drivers like myself and it is exquisitely combined to confirm why the British just know how to outfit a car. You sit high in the XJ with a commanding view out front but a rather restricted view of the rear with its headrests in the way and the high boot line.

Side windows are also rather wide and narrow as the greenhouse area of this new XJ is slimmer than the competition. A timeless analog clock sits on the top center of the dashboard. The instrument cluster is a full XBox type display with digital everything and items change and alter to suit you every need, from BLUE in normal mode to RED in dynamic sports mode.

Installed is a concert hall sound system from Bowers and Wilkins rated at 1200W and it produces insane levels of clarity and sound separation in all seating zones.

New on the center console is a 8-inch high-definition screen with dual-view technology that can project DVD movies to the front passenger while the driver views vehicle functions or follows satellite navigation.

It all works even with the midday sun shining in and can be learned in a few minutes easily. Rear passengers get their own screens by paying a smidgen extra.

Owners will miss the electric sun visors on the rear windows and adjustable individual rear seats that the Germans and Japanese provide.

We ignite the engine expecting a drama to unfold however it is quiet and with only a slight rumble imposing the cabin serenity. Our test car is the top version which comes fitted with a 5-liter V8 supercharged AJ GEN III engine good for 510ps and an easy 4.9 seconds from rest to 100km/h. We start off with vigor and after the first few minutes on the road the charisma of this XJ starts its magic spell on us and as we keep driving, the 6-speed gearbox moves its gear changes before the engine boils to 4000rpm. We reach the open highway and push the engine to past 4000rpm and its starts singing with its melodious growl impeding the cabin and raising our level of enthusiasm. Past 4000rpms and the engine changes its tune returning a ruff muscle car note to the cabin and a smile to the driver. The cabin is so well insulated that the Bowers ICE needs to be switched of for us to enjoy this melody and leave the ‘in car entertainment’ for later.

This XJ is easy to doodle around in city traffic without any drama as the 6-speed gearbox works its charm at low revolutions. The handling on the highway past legal limits is confident inspiring and passengers will see no reason to complain.

Undulations along the highway might cause some unnerving effect but it is understandable as the suspension has been set for ‘Sports’ (Dynamic Drive) by us with a single button on the center console as want some spirited driving with a touch of finesse. Find a long curve or a highway off ramp and you need not slow down however make sure your palms are firmly planted on the steering wheel and your fingers ready to use the paddle shifters to engine brake if necessary. This XJ takes corners with little drama but it is not as surefooted as purpose built sports car and rightly so as it is a luxury sports cruiser and not a power speedboat.

It may lack some of the additional luxury trappings of the competition and an extra gear or so, but its lower kerb weight, willingness and ability to chase down most supercars half its size and nimble, assured, sharp handling will have more owners wanting to drive it and not be driven in it. This is a drivers Jag and one which Sir Lyons would have been proud to carry his leaping cat.

Jaguar XJ Longwheelbase Specifications

Engine: Roots 6th Gen Supercharged 8-cylinder
Displacement: 5000cc
Gearbox: 6-speed semi automatic
0-100km/h: 4.7 seconds
Top Speed: 155mph restricted
Max power: 510 hp @ 6000-6500 rpm
Max torque: 424lb/ft @ 2500-5500 rpm
Price: If you need to ask then you can’t afford it!

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