2013 Jaguar XJ 3.0 V6 diesel Sport Pack review

We try the 2013-model-year Jaguar XJ V6 diesel with the firm's optional Sport Pack

Evo rating
Price
from £57,905
  • Great to drive, bold to look at
  • Those looks might still divide opinion

What is it?

The updated 2013-model-year Jaguar XJ luxury saloon, here in its most popular, 3-litre V6 diesel guise. It costs from £56,260, while the exterior Sport Pack exhibited by our test car adds an additional £1645.Technical highlights?

Subscribe to evo magazine

Experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Subscribe now and get your first 5 issues for £5 or buy the latest issue in all good newsagents!

The new XJ debuted in 2009 to critical acclaim, so Jaguar hasn’t had to rewrite its recipe for this mid-life spruce-up. The bold styling remains untouched, with small changes under the skin: the six-speed automatic gearbox is replaced by an eight-speed transmission, stop/start is standard and there are slight suspension tweaks, with improved passenger comfort the focus. An 825-watt Meridian stereo is the new premium audio option, replacing the Bowers & Wilkins set-up of before.

The Sport Pack adds 20in Venom alloy wheels, red brake calipers, a subtle body kit and a small rear lip spoiler, but doesn’t change the XJ’s dynamics.What’s it like to drive?

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

If you want an agile saloon that reacts deftly and belies its luxurious kerb weight, this is it (though the XJ’s aluminium structure means its 1.7 tons are actually a few kilos down on the smaller, steel XF). While many of its rivals are good to drive, none manages to combine ride comfort and agility with the aplomb of the XJ. It’s a very fluid car to drive quickly, and given the enormous 442lb ft punch of its turbodiesel engine, it’s an easy car to do so in. Typical Jaguar complaints of uncommunicative, overly light steering and a lack of rear grip in less than ideal conditions remain, though the XJ’s natural balance means you can work around these.

It’s a quick car, this, and the twin-turbo diesel engine even sounds good, keeping up with its rorty-sounding equivalents in BMWs and Audis and not punishing you for choosing diesel over petrol. The gearbox’s eight speeds do feel excessive, and it’s easy to feel a little muddled in manual mode, but select Drive or Sport and the XJ shuffles its ratios adequately. And the extra two cogs no doubt assist the efficiency numbers, fuel economy and CO2 emissions rated at 47mpg and 159g/km respectively.

How does it compare?

A Porsche Panamera Diesel is a more driver-focused choice and the Mercedes S-class remains an epic all-rounder. But the XJ’s classy, character-rich interior and striking styling – plus the patriotic good feeling surrounding Jaguar Land Rover products right now – ensure it’s a more emotional choice, as long as you don’t need best-in-class rear interior space.

Anything else I need to know?

If you’re in the minority who won’t accept diesel power and want to stay petrol, you have two choices, both of them supercharged. The wondrous, 503bhp V8 Supersport still tops the range, while a new 3-litre V6 model – with an engine related to that in the Jaguar F-type V6S – comes in with the 2013 model year. You can read a review of that here.

Specifications

EngineV6, 2993cc, twin-turbo diesel
Max power271bhp @ 4000rpm
Max torque442lb ft @ 2000-4000rpm
0-606.0sec (claimed)
Top speed155mph (limited)
On saleNow
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/ford/mustang/201952/ford-mustang-mach-e-uncovered-as-all-electric-suv
Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Mach-E uncovered as all-electric SUV

The Mustang has been hit with the all-electric, SUV treatment
18 Nov 2019
Visit/porsche/911/201958/porsche-911-gt3-vs-gt3-rs-vs-gt2-rs-track-battle
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 GT3 vs GT3 RS vs GT2 RS - track battle

Porsche’s GT3, GT3 RS and GT2 RS are the most hardcore of the 911 breed, but pitched head‑to‑head which will we crown champion?
15 Nov 2019
Visit/buying-advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
used cars

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
15 Nov 2019
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019