Jaguar XJ Series 2021 review

The XJ Series is Jaguar’s flagship luxury saloon that was finally retired in 2020 as the brand puts more focus on SUVs

£18,040
Average price
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1
Out of 5

Pros

  • Luxurious interior
  • Stylish design
  • Good to drive

Cons

  • Not as much headroom in the rear as rivals
  • Firm ride
  • Expensive to run
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model Review

For generations it has been saloons that have been the absolute bread-and-butter for Jaguar. These large, imposing and luxurious models have found favour with a range of buyers, and it’s the XJ that has sat at the head of the line-up – being the brand’s flagship model that goes up against the likes of the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series

It’s actually been around since 1968, with there being many generations and updates over the years, with the latest new version arriving in 2010 as a far more stylish, modern and larger car than its predecessor. 

It has been notably used by the British royal family and even by the UK’s Prime Ministers over the years, and has received model-year updates since launching more than a decade ago. In 2014, for example, it benefited from upgraded suspension and a minor facelift, while the 2015 model gained LED headlights and more advanced safety technology. 

Latest model

The most recent update to the XJ came for the 2018 model year, with one of the main changes being the new XJR 575 performance model, which was the quickest XJ model to date. It also benefited from a larger 10-inch media system, along with 4G Wi-Fi. 

To mark the model’s 50th birthday in 2018, Jaguar also showed off the ‘XJ50’ – a commemorative model that featured styling from the flagship Autobiography model, as well as new 20-inch alloy wheels and black styling accents. 

The XJ was finally discontinued in 2019 after almost 10 years of one generation. While Jaguar was readying to replace it with an electric saloon with the same name in 2021, the firm has recently shelved plans, with the nameplate now looking quite unlikely to return. 

Value for money

As with any luxury saloon like the XJ, this was not a cheap car when new, with models starting from around £60,000 for the ‘entry-level’ car, and rising to almost £100,000 for the performance XJR575. However, with the model not being produced for a few years, it makes it a rather impressive used buy. 

Though used XJs start from as little as £2,000 these days, you’ll need to spend around £7,000 for the latest 2010 generation, though these will be high-mileage examples. You’ll need around £12,000 for something with fewer miles on the clock. If you’d prefer one of the later examples, at the time of writing a late 2019 model with less than 10,000 miles on the clock could be had for £34,000 – almost half the list price it would have cost just a couple of years earlier. In this respect, it represents superb value on the used market.

Looks and image

The XJ exerts an image you’ll either love or hate – it’s certainly not a model that’s shy about its size (particularly in long wheelbase form) and with a large grille, it certainly stands out on the road. We reckon it’s quite a handsome-looking thing, and really one of the most stylish cars in this class by not being too brash. Jaguar also offers a sportier-looking R-Sport model, which features a revised styling kit, that adds another side to the XJ. 

The stylish look also extends to the cabin, too, with solid metal air vents and a cool gear selector that pops up from below a panel. The later cars with the more impressive 10-inch touchscreen system are undoubtedly the best of the lot, while the quality is largely excellent throughout, too. That said, its technology struggles to compete with rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes – especially when it comes to later models. 

While luxury cars might often be bought as chauffeur vehicles or for rear seat travel, with the XJ it’s the driving seat where you’ll want to be. That’s because it drives brilliantly for a car of this size, feeling surprisingly agile and much lighter than you might expect. The compromise with this sportier drive, though, is that the ride is quite firm, which isn’t ideal on a model like this. The Mercedes S-Class is certainly a more comfortable option.

Space and practicality

Unsurprisingly for such a big car, the cabin is certainly a generous size. Those in the rear are treated to a huge amount of legroom, even more so on the long wheelbase model, though the XJ’s sloping roofline means there isn’t as much headroom as you’d get in rivals. Models were also available with two rear seat configurations – either a conventional three-seat bench or two individual chairs. The latter feels more luxurious thanks to the seats being electric, cooled and heated, though if you intend to carry more than four regularly, it could be worth finding an example with the more conventional rear seats. 

Measuring 479 litres, the XJ’s boot is also a decent size, and has a large opening that allows loading or unloading items to involve less hassle.

Engines

The majority of used XJs you’ll see for sale will be powered by a 296bhp 3.0-litre turbo diesel, which also produces a huge 700Nm of torque. Performance is brisk, too, with 0-60mph taking less than six seconds and being able to reach a top speed of 155mph.

If you fancy a petrol, though, there is a choice of a 335bhp 3.0-litre option or a meaty 5.0-litre V8 unit. The latter was available with various outputs throughout the XJ’s lifetime, including 379bhp, 503bhp, 542bhp and 567bhp – the two most powerful are restricted to the XJR models. These are the quickest XJs , too, and are able to reach 0-60mph in just 4.4 seconds and can head onto a claimed 174mph top speed. 


Running costs

Given the XJ’s status, it’s unsurprising to learn that it won’t be particularly cheap to run. If you’re looking to keep a tab on that sort of thing, the diesel will be the choice to go for, though. Jaguar claims this model can return up to 37.9mpg, with CO2 emissions of 196g/km. The petrol options will be very costly to keep, though, with CO2 emissions of up to 264g/km, as well as returning around 25mpg. 

It’s important to note that servicing, maintenance and replacement parts will also be steep, so if you’re looking at used prices and thinking they seem quite affordable, it’s worth factoring in the increased running costs. 

Things to look out for

Though Jaguar hasn’t had the best reputations for reliability, it’s actually been one of the better performing luxury cars in this respect. However, there are a number of electrical faults that the XJ is known for, particularly to do with the touchscreen media system. 

As with any car of this expense when new, there is the possibility for plenty to go wrong, so it’s worth having a vehicle independently inspected before buying and also checking all maintenance has been carried out.

Rivals

The luxury car segment has three main key players that the XJ has always struggled to compete with – the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Audi A8.

More left-field alternatives to the XJ include the Lexus LS, Maserati Quattroporte and Porsche Panamera, while if you have deeper pockets and want the utmost in luxury, the Bentley Flying Spur is worth considering. 

Depreciation

Luxury cars are known for steeply depreciating, and the XJ certainly plummeted in value when new. But with all models now a few years old, the initial depreciation hit will have already happened – now making it an appealing used buy. 

Trims explained

Six main trim levels were available on the latest Jaguar XJ, with equipment highlights and pricing as follows.

Luxury

All XJs come with a very generous amount of standard kit, including electric front seats, full leather upholstery and heated seats throughout. It also comes with a 10-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and Bluetooth, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors and two-zone climate control.

From £10,000 (used)

Premium Luxury

Premium Luxury adds cooled front and rear seats, soft grain leather upholstery, embossed headrests, keyless entry and soft closing doors.

From £10,000 (used)

R-Sport

If you want something sportier to look, go for the R-Sport, which brings additional electric seat adjustment, heated steering wheel and a Meridian sound system. It also gets a sportier bodykit, along with four-zone climate control, gloss black styling and an Alcantara headlining.

From £19,000 (used)

Portfolio

The Portfolio builds on the Premium Luxury grade – adding 18-way electrical seat adjustment massaging front seats and a heated steering wheel. Automatic high beam assist is also added, along with a Meridian sound system and four-zone climate control.

From £12,000

Autobiography

Arguably the ultimate XJ model, the Autobiography builds on the Portfolio with its LED interior lighting, adaptive LED headlights and 360-degree camera system. It also comes with park assist and blind spot monitoring.

From £25,000 (used)

XJ50

Designed to commemorate the XJ’s 50th birthday, this special edition brings unique 20-inch alloy wheels, styling from the Autobiography model and special XJ50 branding. You also get a walnut veneer inside, massaging front seats and adaptive LED headlights.

From £31,000

Summary

  1. Stylish luxury saloon
  2. Discontinued in 2019
  3. Great to drive
  4. Plush interior…
  5. Though technology can’t match German rivals
  6. Strong engines
  7. Loads of standard equipment
  8. Very appealing used buy
  9. Expensive running costs
  10. Perhaps not as well-rounded as rivals, but an appealing luxury car nonetheless

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