Car group tests

Ultimate Jaguar XJ vs Porsche Panamera

Which luxury sports saloon is better – Jaguar’s new XJ Supersport or Porsche’s Panamera? Our testers give their verdict on another England vs Germany clash

Ultimate XJ vs Panamera

Enthusiasts would argue that Jaguar invented the concept of the sports saloon. The 1955 MkI introduced the handling prowess and performance normally associated with the firm’s sports cars to a four-door audience.

So it’s appropriate that the new XJ is billed as a sports limousine. After years of retro-inspired evolution, the latest incarnation of the flagship saloon has followed the lead of the superb XF and been reinvented as a thoroughly modern, driver-focused and sharp-witted saloon car.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Jaguar XJ

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As a result of this sporty edge, it could be at its best in range-topping 5.0-litre Supersport trim, with a 503bhp supercharged V8 engine and £88,000 price tag. Our short-wheelbase model will need to be on top form if it’s to beat the car filling its rear view mirror, though.

The Porsche Panamera provides the space, opulence and refinement of a traditional luxury limousine, but adds the performance and handling for which the manufacturer is famous.

The 395bhp 4S tested here is nearly a match for the Jag on price, and while it’s not as powerful as its British rival, it does have four-wheel drive. Will that help to propel the Panamera to victory?

Verdict

AS with other Panamera models we’ve tested, the 4S has a wide array of talents. It’s great to drive, practical, luxurious and adaptable, while the range of dynamic adjustment options means you can play with the gearbox, suspension and throttle settings at will – transforming it from a relaxed cruiser into a focused sports car. A superb cabin and top-notch quality are also plus points, but the new XJ Supersport is faster, more stylish and provides superior refinement. In addition, its supercharged engine is really smooth, yet delivers devastating performance. While the Jaguar can’t match the ultimate body control of the Porsche, it’s still amazingly agile and engaging to drive. We think the XJ is at its best in Supersport guise, and that’s enough to see it take the top step on the podium in this test. The characterful and charismatic flagship claims its first scalp.

1. Jag XJ Further evidence that Jaguar is once again producing cars that are desirable, beautifully built and attractive. With its blend of power and refinement, the flagship XJ Supersport will appeal to those who want engaging handling and scintillating performance without sacrificing refinement, class or comfort.

2. Porsche Panamera It’s hard not to be impressed by the 4S’s array of talents. With folding rear seats and a hatchback body, it’s more practical than the Jag. But the 4WD drivetrain is clumsy at low speed and we prefer the purity of lesser rear-wheel-drive versions. The Panamera is a gifted machine, but comes second.

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