Jaguar XJ 3.0: Nifty nip, tuck

The Jaguar XJ 3.0 comes with a panoramic glass roof (above) and four-zone climate control that can be adjusted from the back seats (below).
Jaguar XJ 3.0. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
The Jaguar XJ 3.0 comes with a panoramic glass roof (above) and four-zone climate control that can be adjusted from the back seats (below).
The Jaguar XJ 3.0 comes with a panoramic glass roof (above) and four-zone climate control that can be adjusted from the back seats. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
The Jaguar XJ 3.0 comes with a panoramic glass roof (above) and four-zone climate control that can be adjusted from the back seats (below).
The Jaguar XJ 3.0 comes with a panoramic glass roof and four-zone climate control that can be adjusted from the back seats (above).ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Jaguar's five-year-old XJ has been tweaked and is still a viable contender in a field dominated by newer German rivals

When the current-generation Jaguar XJ was introduced five years ago, there was a 5-litre V8 petrol and a 3-litre V6 turbodiesel.

Later, a 3-litre supercharged petrol was added, followed by a short-wheelbase 2-litre turbo. But The Straits Times has never test-driven the 3-litre supercharged until now.

The car has been given a mid-life nip and tuck. Its shiny mesh grille is a wee bit more upright, with front and rear lights refreshed.

Full-LED headlights are now an option. These come with J-blade daytime-running lights. The standard issue bi-xenon headlamps are paired with linear daytime- running LEDs.

Inside, the car gets a new touch-screen infotainment system which offers full-screen navigation guidance. It is a tad friendlier and less glitchy than before, although keying in your destination is still not as easy as in a premium German car.

  • SPECS/JAGUAR XJ 3.0

    Price: From $450,000 with COE

    Engine: 2,995cc 24-valve supercharged V6

    Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with paddle shift

    Power: 340bhp at 6,500rpm

    Torque: 450Nm at 3,500-5,000rpm

    0-100kmh: 5.9 seconds

    Top speed: 250kmh

    Fuel consumption: 9.1 litres/ 100km

    Agent: Wearnes Automotive

The more pertinent tweaks are in steering and safety. The XJ has finally embraced electric steering and is much better for it.

It has reverse traffic detection, which is useful when you are backing out of a parking space or garage and cannot see oncoming traffic.

The blindspot detection system is now more sensitive and will even alert you to a vehicle that is not yet in your blindspot but is approaching fast.

The XJ is also equipped with All Surface Progress System, which was first seen in the XE but is not really relevant here unless climate change brings ice and snow to Singapore.

Other goodies, which are optional, include adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera, autonomous parking and a 1,300-watt 26-speaker Meridian hi-fi system.

Driving the XJ 3.0 without these extra frills is no hardship, of course.

The flagship Jaguar, with its well-appointed cabin and plush ride, is always a pleasure to drive.

But with the new electric steering system, the 5.3m by 1.9m car feels a bit more nimble. The steering is effortless, yet sharp and responsive. It remains calm and confident when you take the 1.8-tonne luxe barge through narrower lanes and twistier tarmac at speed. And you do not feel the weight of the car or the shocks of a wheel hitting a rut.

It is not the most communicative steering around, but the many gains (including improved fuel efficiency) are well worth the singular trade-off.

The XJ was class-leading in comfort and luxury until Mercedes- Benz released its latest S-class three years ago.

Its cockpit was once a technological showcase, with digitised meters and colour touchscreen, but the new BMW 7-series takes the cake on that front.

Still, despite being five years old, the car is no pushover. Besides the spanking new 740Li, no similarly sized German rival is quicker than it. And no one in the segment does leather, wood and chrome quite like Jaguar.

The 3.0 also comes with soft- closing doors, rear sunscreens, panoramic glass roof with two separate screens and four-zone climate control which the chauffeured can adjust from where they sit.

Topping them all are ventilated seats with heavenly massage function all round.

Styling-wise, the XJ remains the most regal limo in its class.

And should you want more grunt, you can opt for a 3-litre turbodiesel with 300bhp and a whopping 700Nm of torque (up from 275bhp and 600Nm before), which is available on order.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2016, with the headline 'Nifty nip, tuck'. Print Edition | Subscribe