Jay Leno was in London last week to unveil the new Jaguar XJ, the Coventry firm’s new top-of-the-line saloon. Having attracted criticism at times for the relatively traditional – if not retro – appearance of their products, Jaguar has gone on the offensive since the launch of last year’s sharp-looking XF and the daring XJ is evidence of a new-found aesthetic boldness matched only by BMW in the luxury saloon car market.
At the front, the upright grille links the XJ clearly to its smaller stablemate, the XF, and the slim, flowing LED and Xenon headlamp units pick up on themes first established by the C-XF concept car. In side view the profile is strong with a sporting stance and an almost fastback-like silhouette suggesting not just pace but the hallmark Jaguar grace as well. It is at the rear of the XJ that chief designer Ian Callum and his team have really set the cat amongst the pigeons though, the C-pillar of the car is hidden behind black polycarbonate to give a wrap-around feel to the rear screen – unique in a car in this class – and the vertical tailights frame an unadorned rump that is home to little more than the company’s classic leaping cat logo. Jaguar have made sure that there will be no mistaking this car for anything else on the road.
The interior is cosseting in typically Jaguar fashion. A sweeping feature line wraps from one side of the cabin to the other, framing the dashboard like a classic 1950s speedboat. Sumptuous leather is set against expertly applied wood veneers and all of this is matched with the very latest technology: an 8inch touchscreen in the centre console, the pop-up cylindrical gear selector first seen in the XF, virtual instrumentation on a TFT screen in the dashboard and a 1200W, 12 speaker stereo system from UK hifi experts, Bowers & Wilkins.
These are tough times for car makers and we’re witnessing seismic upheavals amongst the established order. All of which makes the boldness of Jaguar, in creating a truly modern design, all the more remarkable.
See more images and Jay Leno’s introduction video on the Jaguar XJ after the jump.
Source: Car Magazine