This is the home of automobile road tests in South Africa. We drive South African cars, SUVs and LCVs under South African conditions. It also just happens that most of the vehicles we drive are world cars as well, so what you read here probably applies to the models you can get at home.
*To read one of our road tests, just select from the menu on the left.
*Please remember too, that prices quoted were those ruling on the days I wrote the reports.
The engine: The Ford/PSA joint venture engine displacing 2.7 litres was bored and stroked slightly to bring capacity up to 2 993 cc. Although Ford's name appears in the description, it was actually Jaguar engineers who took the mechanical basics of the Peugeot engine design and made it something special.
Thrust is courtesy of parallel sequential turbochargers with only the larger variable geometry unit being used when the engine is running at low revolutions. When speed reaches 2800 rpm, the smaller fixed turbocharger pushes boosted air to the intake port of the larger one before redirecting to the intercooler 300 milliseconds later. Fuel injectors have their piezo crystals seated more deeply to render the telltale diesel click less intrusive.
The body: Obviously from the same design studio as the XF, the XJ is 161 mm longer, 17 mm wider and 12 mm lower on a 3032 mm wheelbase, compared to 2909 mm for the XF. The practical implications are an additional 57 mm of rear legroom and 20 litres more luggage space. The Portfolio version we drove recently, boasts a few nice-to-haves over its less pricey sibling, the Premium Luxury edition, which is no shrinking violet itself. Try 20" wheels, a 1200-Watt Bowers and Wilkins surround sound system, 20-way adjustable heated and cooled seats in soft grain leather with contrasting stitching and piping and embossed head restraints, leather trim on the door panniers in addition to the upper fascia, suedecloth headlining, four-zone climate control and a wider choice of interior trims and veneers.
The experience: As expected at this price level, an arsenal of electric motors controls everything imaginable. The seats (three memory settings each) adjust every way from Sunday, while windows and mirrors, sunroof and rear window blinds and steering column and wheel, all get the power treatment too. Just as on the XF, one needn't do anything as crass as push a button on the key fob (a decent, expensive-feeling fistful, by the way) to lock or unlock doors. One simply touches a little silver square on an outside handle to do that. The difference is that the trick only works with front doors on the XF - the XJ allows you to do it with all four. Interior lights and the glove box lid also react to your most casual almost-caress.
In the back, where the Chairperson updates her office work, one finds ample knee space, separate air controls and vents, warmed seats, storage in seatback pockets and in the doors, a pair of oddments boxes and two cup holders in the fold-down armrest, reading lamps and separate controls for the window blind and rear sunroof curtain. If one absolutely has to be politically correct, there are three head restraints and seat belts back there, so one could use the XJ to ferry the heirs to and from boarding school as well. If one must.
In front, the previously mentioned electrical adjusters enable even the fussiest bodyguard-driver to get comfortable, while satnav, Bluetooth connections and voice control allow him to concentrate on what he does best. The co-pilot, meanwhile, can attend to Madame's musical and video choices thanks to split screen technology that enables a completely different viewpoint from that of the driver. Choice of one's music source is practically limitless. Think radio, CD, DVD, hard disc storage within the unit itself, iPod, flash drive, auxiliary socket or from a compatible Bluetooth-enabled player.
Keeping everything comfortable, tidy and decorous is a wealth of electronic kit working in tandem with highly competent engineering. Jaguar has been in the business of building executive expresses since before many of us were born, so be assured they know what they are doing. Jeeves will understand all the boring technical stuff. You simply need to know that it works. As for ambience, that beautiful naturally draped leather upholstery is available in five colours matched with six different veneers and a choice of fourteen outside colours, so there is absolutely no need to be upstaged by anyone.
Performance? Extremely adequate, thanks to a silky smooth diesel engine with bags of pulling power. Jeeves might put it like this: "Most satisfactory, Ma'am. One of the perks of my job."
Price: R1 085 472
Engine: 3.0 litre V6 turbodiesel
Power: 202 kW at 4 400 rpm
Torque: 600 Nm at 2 000 rpm
Zero to 100 km/h: 6,4 seconds
Maximum speed: Governed to 250 km/h
Average fuel consumption: about 8,4 l/100 km
Tank: 82 litres
Boot: 520 litres
Warranty and Maintenance plan: 5 years/100 000 km