|On November 4, 2009, Jaguar dealers in the Greater Montreal Area invited their clients to witness the unveiling of the new XJ. Similar events took place earlier in Toronto and Vancouver.|
“It’s a home run! And I mean that in a humble way,” said Gary S. Moyer, president of Jaguar Land Rover Canada (JLRC). “Like the XF, the new XJ will act as a halo car, and that will draw new customers into our dealerships.”
The Jaguar XJ targets the exclusive sedan buyer, a niche mainly catered to by a German trio comprised of, in order of sales volume, the Mercedes-Benz S Class, the BMW 7 Series and the Audi A8. To which we have to add, according to Moyer, the Maserati Quattroporte and the new Porsche Panamera.
In fact, Moyer predicts that the arrival of the new XJ will result in a strong series of conquest sales for the brand. And Jaguar’s brand manager Steve Majewski confirms it: “Those buyers like to drive cars that are different and new, and the 2010 XJ offers a high level of exclusivity.”
Furthermore, Majewski doesn’t hesitate to put a number to these “conquests” – 70% of the anticipated sales volume.
Starting from scratch
In terms of design, the new XJ is making a clean sweep. The page has been turned on the 2009 XJ’s design language, inspired by the initial model introduced in 1968.
At the London launch, Jaguar Cars’ director of styling, Ian Callum, clearly expressed this: “The new XJ is a thoroughly modern interpretation of the quintessential Jaguar. Its visual impact stems from the elongated teardrop shape of the car’s side windows, that powerful stance and its wide track. It is the most emphatic statement yet of Jaguar’s new design direction.”
|The new Jaguar XJ “is a home run,” says Gary S. Moyer, president of Jaguar Land Rover Canada.|
Yet this original profile conceals an evolution of the 2009 XJ platform, which no one is actually talking about. Proof positive that the rejuvenation was a success.
|All the 2010 XJs will be equipped with virtual instruments and a panoramic sunroof.|
However, the new XJ retains some now-familiar characteristics, such as two wheelbases, one short and one long (meeting 60 to 70% of the demand in Canada). Same thing for the all-aluminum structure of the platform and body.
On the other hand, the automaker is counting on meaty high-tech equipment to peak buyer interest. That’s why every XJ sold in the country will boast virtual instruments displayed on a 12.3-inch screen. In the same vein, standard equipment includes front and rear heated seats, a four-zone air conditioning system and a 600-watt stereo.
This new XJ will also be rolling out of dealerships with a standard panoramic sunroof that perfectly complements its low-slung, slender lines and brightens up the cabin while suggesting increased space.
On the practical side, the now 520-litre trunk (11% larger) can house two extra-large suitcases side by side.
Higher price, richer appointments
The 2010 XJ is pricier than the outgoing models. But that doesn’t worry the brand’s marketing manager in the least. “Buyers in this segment are more sensitive to value than to price,” explains Majewski.
The brand’s Canadian strategists also believe that the “pure” British origin of the cars and their sumptuous interior will contribute to their commercial success. In fact, the automaker offers an impressive range of colours, wood trim and leather, a variety that does justice to a high-luxury product.
Canada says no to Dual View
At the world launch, Jaguar made much ado about the new 8-inch Dual View touch screen. The high-definition projection system allows passengers to watch movies or tv shows while the driver consults, on the same screen, information about the car’s operation or data provided by the navigation system.
|At the world launch, Jaguar made much ado about the new 8-inch Dual View touch screen.|
Unfortunately, the system is not legal on our continent, as it doesn’t comply with legislation in three Canadian provinces (including Alberta and New Brunswick) and several U.S. States. But Jaguar hasn’t thrown in the towel. “Like my American colleagues, I am putting pressure on the Canadian government to change the situation,” Majewski assured us.
Something new under the hood
The old 4.2-litre engine on duty since 2004 is making way for several new 5.0-litre V8 mills. Jaguar describes them as “the most sophisticated, powerful and high-performance engines in the brand’s history.”
They are either naturally aspirated or supercharged, depending on the version. The XJ And XJL base versions (with long wheelbase) inherit the naturally-aspirated V8 kicking out 385 ponies, 85 more than the equivalent engine from 2009.
|Three versions of the new 5.0-litre V8 are available. They’re more powerful and fuel-efficient than the outgoing engines.|
As for the XJ and XJL Supercharged, their V8 boasts 470 snorting horses, 70 more than the 2009 XJR and XJ Super V8s. The sporty XJ and XJL Supersport benefit from a supercharged version generating a whopping 510 hp.
The naturally-aspirated sedans and the Supercharged versions will hit dealerships in early spring 2010. The Supersport variants will follow shortly after.
Looking to the future
“Power is an important factor in the luxury car market,” explains Majewski. But that doesn’t stop the brand’s tacticians to lean towards green vehicles.
A 3.0-litre, 275-hp, twin-turbo, diesel V6 is also available in Europe. Powerful and sober (0-100 km/h in 6.4 seconds, average consumption of 7.0 L / 100 km), the engine is not part of Jaguar’s plans for North America, though.
“We know that our dealers would like to have ‘green’ vehicles,” confirms Majewski. “So we are considering several solutions: not only diesel engines but also hybrid, even hybrid diesels.”
And the brand’s strategists are taking their open-mindedness one step further. After all, some of the XJ’s competition is also offering all-wheel-drive versions, something that the XJ never benefited from. “This is not something Jaguar is ignoring,” concluded Majewski with a smile.