Jag XJ joins the green party

Revolutionary Limo Green is a hybrid big cat promising planet-friendly luxury motoring

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

There’s no doubt that the Limo Green is the most important new Jaguar ever built. The Big Cat is understandably proud that this XJ has gone from drawing board concept to running prototype, just 18 months after the electric/hybrid project began. Having driven it, it’s certainly a totally fresh take on luxury transport, compared to a conventional V8-powered limo. There’s a long way to go before the Limo Green is the finished article and the future of Jaguar. But the firm is confident that it will eventually be another key milestone in the firm’s long history.

IT’S Jaguar’s new green machine! While the Coventry firm has a long and rich heritage for building British Racing Green-coloured cars that set the pace for rivals, well, here’s one that turns the theme on its head.

This very special XJ – nicknamed Limo Green – is a prototype of a super efficient 57mpg petrol and electric-powered Jaguar of the future. And if the firm’s plans come good, executive car owners will all be motoring in silence in the hybrid in just five years’ time.

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

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Although it may look identical to the sleek and stately new XJ – save for some stickers on the sills – but underneath it’s a different story. The car is powered by a 145kw electric motor, a 360 volt battery and an 80bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder Lotus-developed petrol engine. Battery power delivers the real performance, while the smaller petrol engine ensures you aren’t stuck when the other powerplant goes flat.

The arrangement is similar to the system in Vauxhall’s Ampera – but in the Jaguar, the 1.2-litre engine provides power directly to the rear wheels. In the Ampera, the unit only charges the battery.

It’s a system that sees the big Jaguar limousine manage 30 miles on pure electric power, and offer an extended petrol and electric range of over 600 miles. On a long run, the car will return 57mpg, while Jaguar aims to get CO2 emissions down to 50g/km – figures that would make it free of road tax and congestion charges. 

The Limo Green shows that Jaguar is at the cutting edge, despite the fact that the firm lacks the huge research budgets of rivals in the executive car world. Although it did receive funding from the Government’s Technology Strategy Board for the Limo Green project. The car is a test bed for pioneering technology, such as materials that reduce the weight of a car that is over 17 foot long.

The prototype is still in the earlier stages of development so it’s not perfect. Occasionally, after you’ve pressed the start button and got used to the eerie silence, you hear a slight clunking from the automatic transmission, mostly heard as the throttle is pressed – but it’s still mightily impressive stuff. And already it’s capable of running 30 miles solely on electric power – we did over 20 miles on electric power alone before the electric engine fired up.

The Limo Green is quick, too, 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds, although the top speed is only around 80mph, but Jaguar says it will eventually have a top speed in excess of 100mph when it goes into full production. We can’t wait for it to go on sale.

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