Fleet News

Jaguar XJ TDVI executive

Jaguar

Review

LOOKING at Jaguar’s new XJ diesel, you wouldn’t imagine that it is at the cutting edge of technology.

From the outside the XJ is pure old-fashioned Jag, a traditional look which hasn’t altered dramatically since the early 1990s. The interior continues the theme, with lashings of chrome, wood and leather evoking images of classic British cars from the sixties.

So it’s hard to comprehend that under this retro-trad skin beats the heart of one of the most technically-advanced diesel engines in the world.

The twin-turbocharged 2.7-litre V6 is the result of a collaboration between Jaguar’s parent company, Ford, and the PSA Peugeot Citroen group.

It offers 204bhp and 321 lb-ft of torque available from just 1,900rpm, giving the XJ a huge helping of mid-range grunt which is traditional of any diesel engine.

The main difference between this unit and any other diesel is the noise it makes. Or rather, the lack of noise it makes.

Jaguar has gone to great lengths to disguise the fact that this engine is a diesel, and it has succeeded. The TDVi features special engine mounts which are designed to virtually eliminate engine vibration while idling, extra insulation around the bonnet to cut noise and acoustic laminated glass which reduces wind and engine noise intrusion into the cabin.

It’s a bold claim, but one which is entirely true. This is the quietest diesel I have ever driven, and things get better once you’re on the move.

Because as well as not sounding like a diesel, it doesn’t drive like a diesel either, especially in the way it delivers its power.

Unlike other diesels, which have a narrow powerband which makes revving the engine to the red line irrelevant, the TDVi pulls up to its 4,500rpm limit, each time accompanied by an imperceptible upshift through the six-speed automatic gearbox.

But it’s not all good news. There is a delay in power arriving when setting off from a standstill – although this is more to do with an annoying inch or two of dead throttle travel rather than turbo lag, and the boot space is poor for a car of this size.

Unlike other rival luxury saloons which allow you to tailor the suspension to your preference, the Jaguar’s CATS (Computer Active Technology Suspension) decides on how the car should react.

And there are different set-ups depending on which trim level you choose. Executive spec gives a sporting ride and tighter handling, while the more expensive Sovereign errs much more towards comfort.

So if drivers want a soft-riding car then they will need to pay nearly £6,000 more for the Sovereign. But the standard car does a good job of blending the best of both worlds, and saves a whole heap of cash too.

Three rivals to consider:

  • Audi A8 3.0 TDI quattro
  • BMW 730d
  • Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI SE

    Fact file:

    Delivered price, standard car (P11D value): £43,787
    CO2 emissions (g/km): 214
    BIK % of P11D in 2005: 29%
    Graduated VED rate: £170
    Insurance group: 15
    Combined mpg: 35.0
    CAP Monitor residual value: £17,100/39%
    Depreciation: 44.47 pence per mile x 60,000 £26,682
    Maintenance: 4.25 pence per mile x 60,000 £2,550
    Fuel :12.27 pence per mile x 60,000 £7,362
    Wholelife: cost 60.99 pence per mile x 60,000 £36,594
    Typical contract hire rate: £801
    All figures based on 3yrs/60,000 miles. Rental quote from HSBC Vehicle Finance P11D price

    Jaguar £43,787
    Audi £47,177
    Mercedes-Benz £47,547
    BMW £47,942

    THE four cars assembled are all entry-level models and are the cheapest route to driving a diesel-engined luxury saloon. The Jaguar in Executive trim is by far the cheapest to buy, undercutting the Audi A8 by nearly £3,500. The German trio are closely matched. Jaguar does offer a higher-spec XJ which more closely matches the Germans. The £49,995 Sovereign adds a better sound system and upgraded alloy wheels, touch-screen satellite navigation and voice activation controls.

    SMR costs

    Jaguar 4.25ppm
    BMW 4.45ppm
    Audi 4.83ppm
    Mercedes-Benz 5.12ppm

    THE Jaguar is the only car in this test which has set service intervals, meaning the XJ will need to visit a dealership for four scheduled intervals over a typical 60,000-mile fleet life. The German rivals all run with variable servicing intervals, decided when the on-board computer thinks it’s time for some attention. Even though it will need four services, the Jaguar is the cheapest in SMR terms, costing £2,550 over three years. The S-class is the most expensive at £3,072.

    Fuel costs

    Mercedes-Benz 11.99ppm
    Jaguar 12.27ppm
    BMW 12.48ppm
    Audi 12.78ppm

    THE S-class is the most fuel-efficient luxury saloon, returning a claimed 35.8mpg (although we have managed a best of 30.2mpg with our long-term S320 CDI). But if your drivers can match Mercedes-Benz’s claimed figure, expect a fuel bill of £7,194 over three-years/60,000-miles. The Jaguar is the second cheapest on fuel, returning 35mpg for a bill of £7,362. The 730d is close behind on 34.4mpg, equating to £7,488-worth of diesel. The Audi returns 33.6mpg, resulting in a fuel bill of £7,668.

    Depreciation costs

    Jaguar 44.47ppm
    Audi 47.33ppm
    Mercedes-Benz 48.62ppm
    BMW 50.27ppm

    BIG luxury saloons suffer more than most in terms of depreciation and all of these cars shed more than half of their value over three years/60,000 miles. The XJ performs the best of the four, losing £26,687 over that period. It may not have the highest RV (39% compared to the Audi’s 40%) but it has by far the lowest front-end price. The Audi has the best RV but this can’t compensate for its higher price. CAP estimates the S320 will retain 39% and the BMW 37%.

    Wholelife costs

    Jaguar 60.99ppm
    Audi 64.94ppm
    Mercedes-Benz 65.73ppm
    BMW 67.20ppm

    THESE are scary numbers, with depreciation taking up the lion’s share of running costs on these saloons. The Jaguar is easily the cheapest to run and is nearly four pence per mile less expensive than the second-placed Audi. The XJ has one big advantage – it is nearly £4,000 cheaper at the front-end than its rivals. The A8 and S320 are fairly closely matched, while the BMW is some 6ppm more expensive than the Jaguar.

    Emissions and bik tax rates

    Mercedes-Benz 209g/km/28%
    Jaguar 214g/km/29%
    BMW 216g/km/30%
    Audi 226g/km/32%

    THE Mercedes-Benz has the lowest emissions of this group, falling into the 28% benefit-in-kind tax band. But it doesn’t offer the lowest company car tax bills. A 40% taxpayer will have to find £443 a month to drive the S320 CDI, which is £20 a month more expensive than the Jaguar. The XJ may not have the lowest emissions but its low front-end price makes it the tax winner. The BMW will cost the same taxpayer £479 a month, while the Audi just creeps over the £500 mark.

    Verdict

    THE Jaguar XJ is the last of the big-selling luxury saloons to be offered with a diesel engine, but the wait has been well worth it. The TDVi is supremely refined, economical and has a big running costs advantage over its German rivals. Personal preference will decide on whether drivers opt for the Jaguar or would prefer a more modern-looking car, but in black and white terms the XJ cannot be beaten.

  • WINNER: Jaguar XJ TDVi Executive
  • CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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