Jaguar’s new XJ: news, photos, video of 2010 Jag XJ | CAR Magazine

Jaguar’s new XJ: news, photos, video of 2010 Jag XJ

Published: 09 July 2009 Updated: 26 January 2015

CAR is reporting live from the London launch of the new 2010 Jaguar XJ (you can even go backstage at the party on our video player below). Now the embargo has lifted, we can bring you the full unedited photos and story of the latest addition to the XJ family, the new X351 limo. It’s a four-door saloon that’ll set tongues wagging – with its brave new clothes, a design language many will find controversial and a host of tech to keep the lightweight XJ ahead of the competition.

Read on for our full guide to the XJ

>> Click here to read the critics’ verdict, including the reaction of our design guru Stephen Bayley

>> Click here to read the engineers’ and designers’ inside line on the new XJ

These are the first official XJ photos after a handful of pictures leaked out earlier. The new XJ is no shrinking violet, with a handful of radical design touches that prove Jaguar is firmly on the front foot. Retro? Pah. The new XJ embraces modernity with a vigour that makes the XF look just a little timid.

Jaguar XJ (2010): the first official photographs

The XJ takes the ball set rolling by the XF and runs a few furlongs further. The nose is undeniably influenced by the XF, or more specifically the C-XF concept car’s. The grille is upright, large, meshy; the headlamps beautifully slimlined units, wrapping around the snout. The nose is modern, attractive, look-at-me. Apart from those xenon headlamps, every light is LED, all 152 of them.

Move round to the side and there’s a wedgy, modern profile, not dissimilar to the XF’s. It’s 50mm wider than before and the new XJ remains a four-door only, obviously, although it’ll be offered from launch in two wheelbases. The LWB XJ will add 125mm between the axles, turning the passenger compartment into a veritable lounge.

But it’s at the back where you’ll be surprised. As we revealed on our artist’s impression, the C-pillars are glazed in black polycarbonate – think a back-to-front Mini with its shrouded windscreen pillars and you’ll get the idea. They shroud the back of the car like a back-to-front Mini, whose A-pillars use a similar polycarbonate treatment. They help make the XJ look like nothing else on the road, and accentuate the chrome DLO (daylight opening, designspeak™ for the chrome side window detailing). Peer overhead and you’ll see a fully glazed roof that’s standard on every model.

And the rump! The rear of the new 2010 XJ is quite something, quite unlike any Jaguar that’s been before. A thin stack of vertical taillights climbs up the boot and wraps over the lid. The number plate has been moved down low, leaving just a huge expanse of metalwork, like on an MG ZS (the 45-based one), with just a prominent Jag leaper for company.

Inside the new Jaguar XJ (2010)

If the XJ’s looks may prove divisive outside, the cabin of the new car is a marvel. Four of CAR’s writers have sat in the new XJ and to a man we all think it’s the cars best single feature. It’s a cockpit that at once ensconces and pampers, everything works with a stress-free simplicity and yet it feels special too.

And it’s far from a scaled-up XF cabin. Those air vents are large round chrome items, not dissimilar to those on a Bentley. They’re a tactile joy and the sand-dune hump housing dominates the top of the dash. Everything from elbow height upwards is leather, wood or chrome – dominated by a striking ‘Riva speedboat’ line that frames the top of the dash.

The dials, as we predicted, use the new Range Rover’s TFT screen. So like on a Merc S-class, the instruments are all virtual, allowing Jag to tune them depending on mode. Select Sport, and they adopt a red hue and the gear selection dominates the dash. In a few years’ time, you might even be able to personalise your layout. Quite a tempting prospect for the anoraks amongst us.

The pop-up automatic gear selector remains, and there are standard paddles on the wheel for manual over-ride of the six-speed ZF ‘box. Like on the XF, they’re disappointingly plastic – but they’re one of the few low points inside the XJ. You’ll quickly forget them, enjoying instead the bigger new 8in touchscreen whose graphics and usability has been improved massively. It’s like going from a first-gen iPod to the latest iPod Touch.

>> Click ‘Next’ to read more about the new Jaguar XJ

>> Read CAR’s full 16-page special on Jaguar in the new September 2009 issue of CAR Magazine out on 15 July


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Jaguar XJ: the engineering story

The new Jag is essentially a reworked version of today’s outgoing XJ, the X350. The wheelbase is the same and the basic architecture is carried over, in modified form. So there’s clever aluminium construction, the chassis and body panels joined together using aerospace riveting and bonding techniques. Net result? The new XJ weighs several hundred kilos less than any rival, spec for spec. It’s also highly recyclable, the new XJ.

The V8 naturally aspirated model weighs 1755kg, the best-selling (in Europe) diesel a reasonable 1796kg. That’s less than our smaller long-term XF Diesel. Impressive.

So the new Jag’s a lightweight. Does that help performance?

Yep. And emissions. And economy. And handling. Jag’s still holding back some of the details on the new XJ, but we hear the 271bhp 3.0 diesel V6 will top 40mpg with CO2 emissions of ‘sub-190g/km’, and yet still hit 60mph in 6.0sec. Sounds like all the XJ you’ll ever need.

Other engines include a naturally aspirated or supercharged 5.0-litre V8, producing either 380bhp or 503bhp (or, if you live in certain overseas markets, 464bhp). Despite that AMG-worrying performance, there will however be no XJR initially. Instead, Jag is introducing a new spec level called Supersport, which will have the trimmings of a Savile Row suit – with silk-lined gloveboxes and toys galore.

Jag XJ (2010): the chassis settings

Don’t worry the new Jag is based on the old car. That’s great news! The X350 drove well, just looked like a retrofest from the 1970s. So the new X351 is rear-drive, punting the power through an electro trick diff on some models to wheels spanning from 19-20in (‘There is an 18in one, but we don’t encourage it,’ confides design director Ian Callum).

Adaptive dampers are standard on the new car, as is rear air suspension. We haven’t ridden in the new XJ yet, but the engineering bigwigs promise it glides like a Jag should; we hope they’re right, because the XF took a turn towards the stiffer set-up typical on German rivals.

There’s tech galore available on X351 too: bi-xenon headlights are standard, intelligent main beam is available, seatbelts tug you into corners, monitors mind your blindspot and a splitscreen lets drivers read sat-nav while a passenger watches TV on the same screen. Audiophiles will love the 1200w, 20-speaker stereo option – and the hard drive media system even stores the whole Gracenote directory to catalogue your music.

When can I buy the new Jaguar XJ?

The order books are now open, and first customer cars will arrive right at the end of 2009, probably spilling into early 2010. Around a quarter of buyers will go for the LWB model, compared with around 10% of today’s customers. They’ll enjoy loads of legroom, though it has to be said that headroom isn’t great compared with the benchmark S-class.

Cost? Ah yes. Jaguar is banking on the new XJ moving up a notch. Away from the low-£40k bracket and into the £50k-something zone. That’s a big step up, but one Jaguar – and, on balance, CAR – feels is justified by this cutting edge sports saloon. It’s distinctive, different and, in some areas, brilliant. Will it be too different for some? Time will tell.

>> Read CAR’s full 16-page special on Jaguar in the new September 2009 issue of CAR Magazine out on 15 July

>> Click here to read the critics’ verdict, including the reaction of our design guru Stephen Bayley

>> Click here to read the engineers’ and designers’ inside line on the new XJ

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words