Road tests

Jaguar XJ 3.0 V6 Supercharged

We drive the revised Jaguar XJ, with the all-new 3.0-litre supercharged V6

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This new supercharged V6 fills the void left in the range by the naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8. It’s smooth, powerful and flexible, plus it sounds great – and it makes the upcoming F-Type an even more exciting prospect. Tweaks to the suspension have improved the ride, if not quite perfected it, while the infotainment updates keep the XJ in touch with the competition.

The Jaguar XJ has been refreshed, with uprated suspension, new technology and – most importantly – an all-new 3.0-litre supercharged V6.

This engine will eventually appear in the F-Type sports car. It replaces the 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 in the line-up – and with 335bhp, it’s 45bhp less powerful. But the new model is only two tenths slower in the sprint from 0-62mph, posting a time of 5.9 seconds.

Jaguar has also fitted an eight-speed automatic gearbox – previously the car only had a six-speed – and added a stop-start system. Together with the smaller-capacity engine, these changes boost economy by 6mpg to 30mpg and slash emissions by 40g/km to 224g/km.

But Jaguar believes that improving efficiency shouldn’t mean compromising the driving experience, so it’s worked hard to keep the V6 as flexible as the larger, naturally aspirated V8. There’s plenty of low-end torque, impressive throttle response and a sweet-sounding exhaust note, which will no doubt be turned up for the F-Type.

The eight-speed automatic works well in most conditions, although it can be slow to shift down in normal mode. Leave it in Sport or take control yourself, however, and it responds well.

Jaguar hasn’t just made changes to the powertrain; it’s also tweaked the dampers and springs for better comfort. Unfortunately, the slightly jittery ride over bumpy roads hasn’t been completely ironed out.

It’s not all bad news, because over larger undulations in the road the car wafts along in serene comfort. The XJ has always prioritised handling, though, and that’s no different in this updated version. The lightweight aluminium construction and quick, light steering make it more enjoyable to drive quickly than anything else in this class.

A limousine has to impress inside, and the XJ still does, even though Jaguar hasn’t changed the design. It’s a great mix of modern style and traditional luxury, while the updates to the infotainment system have made everything a little more intuitive, too. The iPod interface is now easier to navigate and the satellite navigation has new features like a lane guidance system.

DAB radio is also fitted as standard across the range, while the superb 825W 20-speaker Meridian stereo (already seen on the Range Rover Evoque) is an option on all but the top-end Portfolio and Supersports models.

So while the changes to the suspension aren’t quite as effective as we’d hoped, the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine will broaden the XJ’s appeal in important markets like Russia and the US.

Two litres of capacity and two cylinders seems like a lot to lose under the bonnet, but drive the old V8 back-to-back with this new V6 model and you’ll struggle to tell the difference. That’s great for the XJ, and also brilliant news for the forthcoming F-Type.

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