23/04/2012 Jaguar XJ Ultimate: The most luxurious Jaguar ever
At the Beijing Auto Show, Jaguar has shown the most luxurious version of its flagship saloon yet: the XJ Ultimate. Rear passengers are the main beneficiaries of heightened levels of opulence, and a new supercharged 3.0-litre petrol V6 makes an entrance into the range.
Daimler and Vanden Plas might no longer be relevant designations for top-of-the-line Jaguars but, given today’s prosperous markets overseas (the new car’s chosen launch platform of China being a perfect example), halo XJs are as pertinent as ever.
However, the XJ Ultimate is a little more discreet than some recent offerings aimed at these markets, meaning it’ll look just as composed parked outside the Savoy as it would gliding along the streets of Dubai. The only exterior clues to its enhancements are subtle ‘Ultimate’ badging and dual-tone 20-inch wheels, along with mildly revised tailpipes and lower front air intakes.
Inside, it’s a different story. Rear seat passengers are treated to Bentley-rivalling levels of luxury: premium leather graces most visible surfaces, while Herringbone veneer meets contemporary machined aluminium. The seats are electrically adjustable in every conceivable direction, and also have massage and climate control functions. From this position, one can watch a film on the integrated iPad with audio delivered through a 20-speaker system by British specialist Meridian, or enjoy a bottle of chilled champagne set out on the powered fold-out table, trimmed tastefully in piano black.
Revised suspension provides the XJ Ultimate with a smoother ride, but it’s the new engine which takes centre stage in terms of engineering. Of 3.0-litre capacity in V6 format, the supercharged petrol unit provides V8 levels of performance (340HP, 332lb ft) with the emissions and fuel economy of a V6 – and will filter down into the rest of the Jaguar range, eventually to grace the upcoming F-type convertible. In the XJ Ultimate, it’s joined by the familiar 3.0-litre turbodiesel and the fearsome, supercharged 5.0-litre petrol V8.
The XJ Ultimate is the latest offering from Jaguar’s new ‘Engineered to Order’ division, which has been formed to provide bespoke machines in the manner of similar programmes from Ferrari, Bentley, McLaren, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin. Prices for the XJ Ultimate are yet to be announced.