Why The Replacement Jaguar XJ Will Be Extremely Important
Right, this is the first time I've written anything on here for a while. And I apologise in advance. This is mainly because I moved into University 2 months ago and have been too busy getting to grips with the course and my social life... assuming I have one, that is...
Nonetheless, one bloke who writes on here (with the name of 'Blee CarsWell') was bloody-well invited down to the DriveTribe office in London after writing up a few great blogs. I don't know how or why... but I fancy a trip down to London myself, so I'm back writing again! (plz invite me down, guys :)
ANYWAY, you may have heard that Jaguar's flagship saloon is soon due for replacement by some time next year, and people are speculating what it's going to be like.
What I don't think people are realising however, is just how important this really is. Jaguar has tried to reinvent itself since the XF back in 2008, but the XJ is always the car that encapsulates into what goes on in the head of Mr Ian Callum.
To understand how iconic the XJ is, we need to take a step back in the swinging '60s.
Radical design, the original.
So, back in the '60s, Jaguar was relaxing in the success of the MK2, S-Type and E-Type - the latter selling like hotcakes to the likes of anyone from Steve McQueen to Britt Ekland.
But despite that, the 420G, (or formerly the MK X), was an ageing tyrant. It had been around for nearly a decade and Jaguar needed to update it with something sportier, and with a bit more oomph.
Believe it or not, prototypes of the Series 1 XJ were actually E-Types with 4 doors. But the design was eventually toned down to this distinctive, sleek shape. It's like a big wildcat hunting for prey in the bushes.
But it wasn't just the design which caused a hit, it handled like it was on rails and went like a train. The wonderfully smooth 5.3 litre V12 was also introduced to the XJ in 1972, so now bankers wouldn't have to wait long enough before they could surge pass a trundling bread lorry.
Yes, I know it's a Series 2. But the concept remains the same.
Nevertheless, without getting ourselves caught up in Leyland Britain, the XJ was a car which changed the saloon movement. With the exception of the ridiculously expensive Maserati Quattroporte, the big Jag showed that large saloons didn't have to behave like floaty land-yachts. They could be sporty, cool and surprisingly quick.
The Jag did all this while still being a refined, comfortable beast with rakish good looks and an amazingly courteous price tag, compared to other luxury cars (Rollers and Bentleys in particular).
Design stays similar, but everything underneath is different.
The unique thing about XJs over the years, is that any passer-by could look at them and say, "oh yeah, that's an old Jag." often without knowing that a lot of work had been done underneath to try and keep the big cat up-to-date. At least on a dynamic level.
The XJR for instance became available in the late-90s with a new 4.0 litre supercharged V8 with 375bhp. 0-60 was dealt with in under 5 seconds and the top speed was way beyond 155, with the limiter removed.
People have often criticised Jaguar for being stuck in the past or making cars for old blokes from Buckingham. But the truth is, they've churned out some of the best driving cars in the business. Chassis' are always taught and to say the engines are magnificent is an understatement.
And these wonderful developments are always taken to the max with the XJ. Think of it as a best hits album, but with more leather and pale wood. It's always a wonderful thing when a new one arrives: it showcases what Jaguar has done to make a car brilliant.
Don't be fooled by the design!
The reinvention doesn't stop there either; when the X350 generation was introduced in 2003, it had this radical new aluminium space frame - which shaved off a significant amount of weight. This meant, despite the retro styling, the drive was as slick as a Swiss Omega.
What you have to understand about the XJ, is that it behaves so much more athletically than an average Audi or Mercedes Benz, yet retains the gentleness of an Earl Grey cuppa.
The Major Re-Design
Suddenly, the XJ broke away from its traditional lines.
In 2010, a shock circulated amongst petrolheads of the world. Jaguar had finally stopped evolving the distinctive shape of previous XJs and had completely transformed the big cat.
Ian Callum - the designer - said that he wanted to create the impression that people would've felt back when the original XJ arrived in 1968. He wanted to create amazement, a paragon of forward thinking. More-or-less what Jaguar has always been about.
Nevertheless, the XJ followed what all the previous generations had encapsulated: athletic dynamics while retaining a suave sophistication. Yes, the electronics were pretty awful, but the mechanical bits remained absolutely sublime.
What About The Replacement?
The Series 3: what a gorgeous car!
How on earth Jaguar will top it? I can't answer easily. But they'll have to do it somehow.
Apparently, it'll be fully electric. But whether this'll be a good idea or not, we'll have to see in the long term. But it certainly carries on Jaguar's original ethos of radically changing the luxury saloon car segment.
If Tesla could make the electric saloon car, then Jaguar has the chance of making the electric saloon car a cool one. A big cat that handles like a sports car, yet - once again - retains the wonderfully suave atmosphere.
The fact of the matter is, the new XJ will be one of the most important cars for a long time. Jag aims to completely reinvent it and showcase what XJ will really mean in the modern world. What technology will it introduce? What will it look like?
But most importantly, will it be a proper Jag?
Thanks for reading, guys! I hope you enjoyed the article.
P.S. I had no idea which tribe to post this in...