There are three distinct Jaguars in three different market sectors, from the compact XE and grown-up XF to the more luxurious but still sleek XJ. In spite of distinct differences, their relationship is obvious - each carries the all-important Jaguar DNA.
The smallest of the three is the compact executive XE, followed by XF in the middle. Luxury class XJ is the largest and most extended. All three cars, when viewed in profile, share a shoulder line that starts near the ground ahead of the front wheel, then curves gracefully over the wheel arch and flows the length of the car into the rear.
XE’s shoulder line rises as it spans the length of the car, exaggerated by the low-set front grille. The car looks ready to pounce – just like the brand’s four-legged animal namesake.
There’s a crisp flick of the shoulder line into the boot lid that informs XF’s sporty profile. The overhangs are shorter than before, but there’s more room inside – especially in the back – and with lightweight aluminium architecture, it’s 190kg lighter than its predecessor.
Although the Jaguar grille in its current form was introduced with XF in 2007, XJ demonstrated Jaguar’s confidence in it. The current interpretation makes arguably the biggest statement. Look more closely, and you’ll see that XJ adopts the latest in lighting technology, with cuboid shapes and light guide accents. XF’s jewel-like headlights have a blade through them as well, which distinguishes the car from XE.
XJ introduced the ‘Riva Hoop’ design cue to the modern Jaguar. This is the graceful spar that flows seamlessly from one side of the dashboard to the other, giving a gentle ‘cockpit’ feel, much like the classic speedboat brand after which it is named.
It is this strong design statement that sets XJ’s interior apart from the opposition. It’s more of an English members’ club,
XE also sports the ‘Riva Hoop’ but in a cosy and sporty cabin (above). XF’s interior strikes a fine balance between the other two, with an astonishingly roomy back seat quite capable of accommodating 6-foot-plus people.
With its high central transmission tunnel you’re immediately cocooned within the cabin, surrounded by the ‘Riva Hoop’ and faced with a broad, crisply styled dashboard. In pride of place is the 10.2ins InControl Touch Pro touchscreen infotainment system – fast, responsive and powerful when you swipe, pinch and press – just like on the latest smartphones. Its technology is shared by the XJ, while XE gets the similar and still great InControl Touch version, with InControl Touch Pro as an option.
Among the various petrol and diesel units in the XF range, the 2.0 litre Ingenium diesel is available in 163 and 180hp power outputs, mated to a slick-shifting 6-speed manual gearbox or an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
It’s clear that there’s plenty of low-down torque available, remarkable when you consider it is capable of up to 70.6mpg economy and as low as 104. g/km*. XF steers with trademark Jaguar fluidity and precision. The petrol XE in S trim is a punchier character still. The supercharged 340hp 3.0 litre V6 emits a fabulous bellow under acceleration and unleashes some serious performance – 0-62mph in just 5.1 seconds. Its double wishbone front suspension sets it apart from its rivals and helps make it really dynamic and agile. You’d expect XE and XF to dazzle behind the steering wheel, but the way XJ shrinks around the driver and begs to be driven is a genuine surprise. Now offering 300hp, the 3.0 V6 turbodiesel has effortless shove out of corners, and the light, accurate steering is more sports car than big saloon.
It means you can cruise in comfort one moment and drive with verve the next. It’s that wonderful duality that links all three cars. Like brothers they, are clearly different in looks and personality, but all very much part of the family.
*The fuel consumption figures provided are as a result of official manufacturer's tests in accordance with EU legislation.
A vehicle’s actual fuel consumption may differ from that achieved in such tests and these figures are for comparative purposes only.
Official fuel consumption figures for the Jaguar saloon range in l/100km (mpg): Urban 16.2 (17.4) – 4.4 (64.2) , Extra urban 8.2 (34.5) – 3.4 (83.1) , Combined 11.1 (25.5) – 3.8 (75.0) . CO2 emissions g/km: 264 – 99 .