In the latest of our full reports from The Chauffeur Car of the Year Awards 2010, we concentrate on the all-new Jaguar XJ long wheelbase which was judged in the £50,000 to £100,000 category.
The XJ L took joint second place in the awards receiving only two points less than the winner, the BMW 730Ld. As one of the newest vehicles to be judged, the XJ was awarded a total of 80/100 points which matched the previous shape Audi A8 L.
In the Power and Performance section, the XJ was marked extremely high for its outstanding 3.0 V6 diesel engine, producing 275 bhp and returning around 40mpg at the same time. The XJ is extremely quiet under acceleration and it remains that way for the rest of the journey. Judges noted the smooth gear changes, precise steering and also marked the XJ high for its low Co2 emissions of only 184 g/km.
The quietness of the XJ then extends to the physical ride from the rear seats. You are cocooned within the acres of well-crafted wood panels and beautifully stitched leather which together make the cabin of the XJ an amazing place to be. Rear reclining seats would be beneficial in the long wheelbase model which is expected to be an option in the future.
It has already won an array of awards for its stunning interior which is unlike any other car on the road – you sit low in the cockpit surrounded by plenty of elegant touches and state-of-the-art display which replaces the traditional dials on the dash.
The boot is much bigger than the previous model XJ, now offering 520 litres of space which is on paper more than an Audi A8. However, chauffeurs might struggle to get three large cases in the boot, but with the XJ L not being a traditional ‘airport run’ car, then it shouldn’t cause too many issues whilst on duty.
In the rear, the seats are comfortable and a high waist line on the car gives you a sense of being protected from the outside world. However, this does have an effect on the headroom available to taller clients. Those who are more then six feet tall, might find it a little tight which could certainly be fixed if the whole rear seat was dropped by an inch or two.
From the outside, the XJ is simply stunning. It’s angry but then somewhat elegant grille makes it stand out from any other luxury vehicle in the market. Large LED lights and plenty of chrome certainly makes a statement and there is no doubt that the XJ would turn heads in any situation.
The revised Chauffeur Programme was also marked highly by the judges. Even though the overall monthly price is a few hundred pounds more than its closest competitors, the Jaguar programme does include a variety of other benefits such as a replacement PCO vehicle, fault and non-fault accident management, £500 contribution to your first year of hire and reward insurance policy and priority servicing and repairs.
The XJ does everything pretty well in general. The driving experience is one yet to be matched by other vehicles but there are some very small areas it can be improved on – these are bound to improve over time. It has already proven to have the lowest running costs in its sector and some of the best residual values.
Even though the Jaguar XJL did not win its category, it is certainly one to watch in next years awards. As the newest vehicle in the competition, it scored amazingly high and with a few extra touches here and there as the development continues, the judges are expecting the XJ to drive away with the title another year.