Jaguar XJ vs Audi A8

31 Oct, 2012 11:15am

Even luxury cars have to move with the times, as the new V6-engined Jaguar XJ meets the Audi A8

Just like any country manor house, petrol-powered limousines are as expensive to run as they are rewarding to own. So in a bid to drive down sky-high bills, Jaguar has introduced a new 3.0-litre supercharged V6 version of its eye-catching XJ luxury saloon.

Not only does this entry-level, stop-start-equipped petrol model cost no more to buy than the naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 version it replaces, it’s also much cleaner. Tweaks to the suspension have been designed to address our main gripe with the car – the overly firm ride – and we’re testing the new XJ in Premium Luxury trim.

Facing the Jaguar is an equally efficient limousine, in the shape of Audi’s imposing A8. It also has a supercharged 3.0-litre V6, but it’s cleaner than the XJ’s, plus the Audi is cheaper to buy. Which provides the better balance of refinement and performance for buyers keen not to resort to diesel power? We drive the two cars to find out...


Despite how different these two cars seem on the surface, we struggled to separate them in this test. While the Audi lacks character, it’s a hugely capable luxury saloon that will tempt buyers more with its sharp pricing and superb quality than its visual flair.

The revised Jaguar is the more engaging choice, though, and its svelte exterior and dramatic cabin will be enough to convince some buyers before they even drive it. And it won’t disappoint them when they do – the new engine is as refined as the 5.0-litre V8, with no discernible loss of performance.

The Jaguar remains the keen driver’s limo thanks to its poised and lightweight chassis, while its cabin has the bespoke feel you expect in this sector. And while it’s pricier than the capable and beautifully engineered Audi, it feels more upmarket and luxurious.

Ultimately, if you demand petrol power over the far more cost effective diesel, costs clearly aren’t an issue. If this is the case, the XJ gets the nod here. For us, the Jag’s extra charm justifies the higher price, as it makes even short trips feel special. The revised air-suspension also ensures it’s a more talented cruiser, without compromising the sharp dynamics.

However, neither of these cars makes much financial sense in the UK. The diesels are cheaper to buy and run, and remain the best choice.

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there clearly is no contest here, XJ wins. its a good mix of performance and luxury and very distinctive which cannot be said about Audi's range other than good engineering.

At least the Audi has some rear headroom. Other than that, I agree with you. Audi's saloons all look the same nowadays.

The XJ is absolutly a beauty! What a presence (the Audi looks like a Jetta beside the Jag!)

Is this a matter of 'show' and 'elegance'?? Jaguar is certainly on the come-back trail, but did NOT leap from building also-rans to top notch luxury cars in one stride. Imagine Audi doing a C-XF [equivalent], then building a dead boring car, like the XF was at introduction. Audi has held the gold cup on benchmark interiors for years now, and has an integrity and engineering excellence Jaguar has yet to catch up with. Look at the way Jaguar has devalued time honoured traditional hallmarks and pedigree pointers, and i'm talking of the Leaper, consigned to a dowdy two-dimensional caricature, and littered round the car as no more than a dress-up. Tacky, and while they trash their heritage [for what good reason??] they still have some way to go. Audi has been at the top of the pile for ages. And for the myopic 'all the same' critics of Audi's cars, if you cant discern in your rear view mirror the difference in size between an A4 and A8, or even an A6 and A8, you need sight improvers. I'd buy from the investment man, not the showman. In spite of having owned two Jaguars, and never having owned an Audi.

Avatar , you are a very lucky Dude owning 2 Jags rather than owning 2 Audis or BMWs . I have 4 Jag owner friends who bought them for their wives in 2000 while they , sad to say bought Audis and BMWs . The Jags became with there cute V8s sport models became car of choice and now all of them have new Jags XJS models since there other choices spent tooo much time in the shop and luckily they were traded before warranty ended .They buy every 3 yrs after 80,000 miles for 2 of them .Oh were in Alberta , cheap gas .