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Jaguar XJ facelift (2007) first news and photos

Published: 28 February 2007

2008 Jaguar XJ: the lowdown

Jaguar is sprucing up its XJ luxury saloon at Geneva next week to keep it fresh until a radical new model arrives in 2009 – and these pictures show the big cat for the first time. There are numerous subtle changes to Jaguar’s flagship saloon, most of which are well within the ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ category, but they add a little more polish to the big saloon, which has always suffered criticism for its conservative design.

So it’s spot the difference, then, with the facelifted XJ?

Most of the changes involve the bumpers, which have been given a more distinguished, deep and chunky look, and a more prominent growler on the revised grille. New, chromed side gills tucked behind the wheelarches are a bit more obvious, and there are sportier side skirts, a rear aero spoiler and Jag’s signature chrome blade across the back. Executive models now get lofty 19-inch wheels as standard and there are a further six paint schemes to choose from, too. Car spotters will also notice the indicators built into the door mirrors. Look closely at those bumpers, though: a similar design will make its way onto the front of the new XF next year, which is the long-awaited replacement for the S-type.

What about mechanical differences?

In short, there aren’t any. There’s still the same line-up of engines: the XJR’s supercharged 400bhp 4.2-litre V8 and its unblown 300bhp sister; a 240bhp 3.0 V6 petrol; and the frugal 204bhp TDV6 diesel. As far as the interior is concerned, there’s not much change to write home about, either. The seats are new and bum-heating is now standard across the range, while new wood trim is available. The Bluetooth hands-free phone system has been upgraded and is now standard on all models. Jaguar also claims that there is more legroom in the rear thanks to lower cushions in the front seats. Oh, and the XJR now features an ‘R’ gearknob. Hmm.

How will it drive?

The good news is that we’ve always loved the way the XJ drove. Some might find its style too olde-worlde, but there’s no arguing with its lightweight aluminium tech and pin-sharp chassis. The XJ is usefully fleeter of foot than its peers (the monocoque is 40% lighter than the old steel XJ’s) and it shows in its corner-carving ability, performance and economy gains. So we’re not too worried that mechanical changes are conspicuous by their absence. Prices are up slightly, by about £500. The cheapest 3.0 petrol costs £43,540, jumping to £60,150 for the XJR.

So there’s not much new at all then. Seems a tad pointless.

The 2008 rendition of the XJ is purely to keep Jag’s saloon looking crisp for the next year or so. The model is due for a complete overhaul in 2009, when we can expect the XJ to get radical at long last. Jaguar intends to drop the XJ’s formal image and place more prominence on style, as opposed to refinement and pampering luxury. If they can inject a bit of passion from the XK and forthcoming XF, they might just succeed. The world needs a more modern big Jaguar, we reckon.