Is it a Cat Worthy of the XJ Legacy?
I think that I've reached a new record in how long between driving a press car and writing a review. I don't know if somehow I've been intimidated by the new XJ or if it simply had yet to inspire the muse, well maybe a bit of both.
|While not as elegant as the earlier Series III, compared to some of its full-size luxury rivals the new XJ is quite attractive. (Photo: Shawn Pisio, Canadian Auto Press)|
I'm an ex-Jaguar owner actually, a 1990 XJ6 Sovereign to be exact. It was a wonderful car that gave me non-stop reliability, tremendous performance for the time, and luxury that knew few limitations. While the squared off lines of this particular model were nowhere near as elegant as the earlier Series III, nor as graceful as the car that replaced it, I still found it prettier than the majority of its contemporaries.
|The 2004 XJ is quite a bit taller than the previous version, but only marginally longer, giving it a slightly stubby appearance. (Photo: Shawn Pisio, Canadian Auto Press)|
The same should be said about the all-new XJ. I can't say I find it as attractive as the outgoing car, but compared to some of its full-size luxury rivals it's quite marvelous. So what could my misgivings be about a car that looks almost identical to its predecessor, despite featuring completely altered dimensions skinned in all-new aluminum bodywork? Glad you asked.
The 2004 XJ is taller, quite a bit actually. Standing at 1,448 mm (58 inches) high, the new sedan is 109 mm (4.3 inches) taller than the 1,351 mm (53.2 inch) height of the 2003 car. This wouldn't be so alarming if it had been stretched lengthwise by about twice the amount raised, what it would need to look proportionally similar. As it is, the new XJ is only 66 mm (2.6 inches) longer at the old car's shortest length. When compared to the extended wheelbase 2003, the 2004 is actually 59 mm (2.3 inches) shorter, hence the stubby, slightly less elegant appearance.