Jaguar XJ 3.0 Diesel Portfolio long wheelbase

Richard Bremner

You'll surely have seen pictures of Jaguar's much publicised new XJ saloon by now, and if you regularly travel on the motorways that head from its Birmingham birthplace you may well have seen them stacked on transporters. But seeing this new Jaguar on the road is still a surprise - it's long, low and radical enough to get heads swivelling and tongues wagging, because there's nothing quite like it out there right now. There's certainly nothing as fresh and good-looking from the usual German premium brands (BMW's 5 Series GT might be fresh, but it's not good-looking) and Maserati's handsome Quattroporte is a little old and showing it these days.

The outgoing XJ looked old almost from day one - it was, after all, another update of a model launched in 1968 - but underneath it was, and is, a rather advanced car. That's because its body was made from lightweight aluminium, its panels riveted and glued together, an arrangement that gives it a major power-to-weight advantage. It drove well too, with its potent engines and sophisticated suspension, even if its interior décor reminds you of the living room of a high-end house from