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.