The old Jaguar XJ was a grand old vehicle and no mistake, but in a world of futuristic, tech-heavy luxury saloons it was starting to look more than a tad long in the tooth.
But, just like the rest of Jaguar’s line-up, the XJ has been given a huge injection of charisma, styling, gadgetry and sheer road presence.
Though it’s hard to see a lineage between the two models, the new XJ is unquestionably Jaguar in its high levels of luxury and beautiful design – and there’s a clear visual link to the excellent XF executive saloon.
Approach the XJ and it’s clear that Jaguar has embraced the future and shaken off some of its sleepy design DNA. The rear end is huge, but blacked-out D-pillars, cat’s claw rear lights and the purity of the leaper badge on the back serve to disguise the bulk.
At the front it’s rather more in line with the XF, though it seems even more aggressive than its smaller sibling.
Step inside the new Jaguar XJ and it’s another level up again. A wonderful boat-influenced bridge wraps around the front of the cars, and the simplicity of the layout and design of dials and switches is pleasing.
It’s a comfortable place to be too, with enough space for five adults and plenty of golf bags.
Driving the XJ is a lesson in classic Jaguar ride comfort. The XJ is comfortable, supple and smooth, without being wafty or disconnected from the road.
Turn into a corner with a little vigour and the car responds without drama. Switch off various active safety aids and you can even have a little fun in the XJ, thanks to adaptive dynamics that read the road as you drive.
The new XJ is powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel V6 engine that’s good for 271bhp and a hefty 444 lb-ft of torque. While that power figure may seem relatively low in comparison to similar cars, it never feels underpowered or needs working.
There’s also the 5.0-litre petrol monster that, needless to say, doesn’t lack for grunt. We’ve also driven the 5.0-litre model in long-wheelbase spec, which makes for a comfortable drive that hints at the underlying power, like a sleeping big cat.
But the 3.0-litre diesel S model will make far more sense to most drivers, returning an incredible 40mpg on the combined cycle. CO2 emissions are also very low for a car of this size, meaning the XJ will please tree-huggers and bean-counters alike.
The family will love you too, with a large car to stretch out in and plenty of gadgetry available to keep everyone entertained on long journeys.
But most of all, you’ll thank yourself for buying the big Jag. It is, perhaps, the best mix of ride comfort and handling in the sector. It’s a car that speaks of British luxury and British ingenuity, a curiously and recognisably British kind of elegance.
All of which goes towards making the new Jaguar XJ a very, very fine car indeed.