2016 Jaguar XJ: Can the Big Cat contend with the new 7 Series?

7-series | June 23rd, 2015 by 6
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As BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi dominate headlines, with their 7 Series, S Class and A8 respectively, Jaguar’s XJ seems to have been forgotten. The Big …

As BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi dominate headlines, with their 7 Series, S Class and A8 respectively, Jaguar’s XJ seems to have been forgotten. The Big Cat is often the less desired car, in terms of sales and technology, but it still has plenty to offer who want a car unlike the big Germans. The XJ is, in my eyes at least, the best looking car of the bunch, as Jaguar continues to make some of the best looking cars on the road. It also is by far the most aggressive and, despite its currently awful infotainment system, has a lovely typically British interior.

However, Jaguar has been making some changes to its flagship peasant crusher. The XJ has been revised for the 2016 model year, albeit only slightly but where it counts. The XJ’s strengths were always in its looks, sound and driving dynamics. Along with being seductively gorgeous, it can also properly handle, probably better than the new S Class, A8 and the previous-gen 7 Series (we won’t know how the new G11 7er stacks up just yet). So Jag has left those strengths mostly alone, as powertrains stay the same.

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Where the XJ fell down was in technology and luxury. While the interior is very aesthetically pleasing and very comfortable, it’s always lacked in the levels supreme luxury and technology that the Germans have become known for. For instance, the Jaguar XJ’s current touchscreen infotainment system in awful. It slow to respond, confusing and difficult to navigate. Everything you want to control is buried beneath what seems like a million sub menus. And even when you find what you want, when you touch the icon it seems to take forever to respond. It’s infuriating in a car with such a high level of luxury and such a high price tag.

Related: 2013 Jaguar XJL Portfolio – BMWBLOG Test Drive

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The good news, is that Jag seems to have taken what the XJ did so well and made it a little bit better and seemingly fixed what it did so poorly. The good looks have gotten a bit better, with a new, more upright grille and new “double J” headlights as well as “J” style taillights and oval exhaust tips. The look is still roughly the same, just a bit sleeker and more polished. Inside, the more premium XJL Portfolio and Supercharged models will receive diamond quilted leather and a rear-seat entertainment system featuring two 10.2 inch high-def screens.

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But the big news comes from the front seat. Jaguar has now fitted a new 8-inch touchscreen InControl Touch Pro infotainment system with a 60GB SSD, a WiFi hotspot and 3G connectivity for up to eight devices. There will now also be a standard 17 speaker 825 watt Meridian surround sound system, with an optional 1,300 watt version. Now I’m not one to get all giddy over WiFi and connectivity in cars, as I actually like driving instead of using my phone, but I am excited about the new infotainment system.

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Jag’s have long had a special place in my heart and the only criticism I had with the XJ was its atrocious touchscreen. Hopefully, that issue has been rectified, which, along with the subtly improvements to what the XJ already does so well, should put it back in contention with the Germans. The new 7 Series is sure to be far more luxurious and far more technologically advanced. It should also be able to keep up with the Big British Bruiser in the twisties, thanks to its high-tech lightweight construction. But if the Jag doesn’t fall on its face, in terms of technology, and now offer similar amounts of luxury with even better looks and more aggressive driving dynamics, BMW might have another serious contender on its hands.

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