Prom Perfection

Jaguar XJ Portfolio SWB 3.0 V6

Model on test: £74,575

A few months ago, my niece asked if I could review something that would also work for me to take her and some friends to their high school prom. Thinking cap on, and we quickly agreed on the refined luxury of a Jaguar XJ.

While the long-wheel base version would have offered more leg room, the short-wheel base version is still massive, so room for three prom-bound girls and their dresses in the back without issue. The ride  was perfect – refined, elegant, luxurious, wafting along the roads with only a barely detectable rumble form the twin exhausts to bely the power that was on tap, should it be needed.

Not that you would have heard the exhaust with the 825 watt stereo (complete with subwoofer) at the hands of my niece, who’s music taste is actually very good as it turns out. I’ve kept the playlist she had prepared – but I do listen at a slightly lower volume!

But back to the car itself… it was everything you would expect from a luxurious Jag – exquisite leather, impeccable design, well laid out controls, responsive and, when you do put your foot down, incredibly powerful. While the car may be quite heavy, the three-three-litre V6 copes admirably an it really moves when you drop your foot. It’s easy to see why this is the car of choice for the British PM – comfort, space, luxury, but boy can it move if it needs to!

As far as gadgets go, it has plenty (including a TV tuner in the touchscreen display) adaptive speed limiter with road sign recognition, 360 degree parking cameras and cross-traffic warnings for blind junctions – necessary with such a long car, in my opinion, and a really quite relaxing seat massager system. But that’s not what really grabbed my attention.

Scrolling through the menu of setting with the steering-wheel mounted buttons (very well laid out, by the way), I found some settings for the headlights. While auto-high beam assist is not that groundbreaking and I’ve seen it on a number of other cars, one feature I don’t recall seeing is the option to switch the high beams for driving on the right – perfect if you wanted to cruise down to French Riviera!

If you did take this beast on that journey, you can be assured you’d get there relaxed, in comfort and with plenty of your luggage thanks to the spacious boot.

Usually when I review cars, I try and balance the features I liked and think are worthwhile by highlighting one or two things that I think are either unnecessary or that could work better. With this Jag though, I fear I may be beaten. It’s comfortable for both drivers and passengers, has plenty of space and all the refinement and technical know-how you would expect from the brand, and it goes like stink, should you need it to, as well.

Yes, the price is a bit steep at just south of £75k, but it really is a master of many different tasks and in reality, the only complaint I have on that price tag is that I can’t afford it, but that’s not really something I can criticise the car for, is it?

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