New Jaguar XJ (2010): reaction from around the world

Published: 09 July 2009

Jaguar XJ more videos

You’ll have seen the new Jaguar XJ (2010) by now. And no doubt been shocked by what you’ve seen. We’ve asked CAR’s team of experts, and other independent critics, for their verdicts on the new X351 XJ. Here are their verdicts:

Executive editor Gavin Green’s verdict on the new Jag XJ

‘I think it looks strong. There is enough of a link with the XF – but not too much – and the Quattroporte-like quasi-coupé lines are totally appropriate for a company seeking to make “beautiful fast cars”.  It’s a big step on from the current model, but such a clean break with the XJ’s past is long overdue. Plus the interior is the best in the class, and by some margin.’

Jaguar Drivers’ Club director Steve Fermor’s verdict on the new Jag XJ

‘I’m quite an XJ purist and I know that some of my fellow purists will be banging their heads against the wall when they see this, but Jaguar has to evolve. The old cars are still there and we continue to enjoy them. But they must reach out to a new audience and this car will certainly do that. There’s a lot of C-XF in that front end, it’s gorgeous. And for anyone who says this is too different to be a Jaguar, just remember the XJS. That was wildly different and we look back on it fondly now.’

European editor Georg Kacher’s verdict on the new Jag XJ

‘It’s different, it’s modern, it’s good. It’s NOT German. More like a Citroën C8 by Jaguar. Thumbs up. I like it best in black, but I also like the blacked-out D-posts. I don’t like the rear view that much. Too American, too much Lincoln in what also could be a high-end saloon from Korea. Without the oversize leaper, this would be nothing, or could be anything.

‘The profile/side view is very strong, especially in combination with the big wheels. The front end is much better than XF, but perhaps not yet quite the epitomy of British luxury. I can’t wait to see the Supersport, though. What I’m missing is a retro-look plan view. All Jag saloons used to be at their widest around the B-posts. The XF and this XJ look like painted bricks from above.

‘The interior is very strong. Are these the world’s prettiest door panels or what? Slabs of wood, leather, chrome – I love it. The packaging however is very poor. Not enough room behind the steering wheel, not enough room in the rear unless you go LWB. What were they thinking?

‘All in all, a promising effort. Maybe they’ll sell 15,000 units a year, maybe less. But the new XJ is highly visible, totally unique, modern country living with a city slicker twist. It stands no chance against A8, 7-series, S-class in the sale chart – but’ll easily beat Lexus & co. And Bentley? I’d rather take X351 over a Flying Spur, any day of the week.’

Editor Phil McNamara’s verdict on the new Jag XJ

‘At the XJ’s sneak preview, I spent time trying to decode the design. The front is familiar: it’s a more brutish version of the XF’s face. The unembellished rear and wraparound glass are undeniably elegant. However, the XJ looks heavy over the rear wheelarch, and the segmented rear pillar jars the eye. I’ll reserve judgment on the XJ’s cohesiveness until I’ve seen cars out on the road – contrary to the rapid response internet age, I’m loath to make a daft judgment in haste, and squirm at leisure.’

Design critic Stephen Bayley’s verdict on the new Jag XJ

‘Ian Callum has the most difficult job in the world – with its back catalogue of such extraordinary beauty. But beauty if a thing of the past. It’s now about being extraordinarily interesting and interesting is good. I feel very positive about the new Jaguar XJ. Ian Callum has proven absolutely that he has not run out of ideas. The interior of the new XJ is up there with the best of the best.’

Car And Driver verdict on the new Jag XJ

‘At last, a Jaguar XJ that doesn’t resemble the one that came before. And before. And before.’

>> Click here to read the full story on the new Jaguar XJ (2010)

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

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet