The coupe-like roofline makes the car look mean, but the design has one drawback  a loss of interior space.
The coupe-like roofline makes the car look mean, but the design has one drawback  a loss of interior space.
Sarel van der Merwe
Sarel van der Merwe

I really wanted this car to be good. I am a huge Jaguar fan and I once owned the Daimler version of the old XJ.

But I do not believe Jaguar is up there with the BMW 7-Series, the Mercedes Benz S-Class and the Audi A8.

I liked the drive in sport mode. You should use it all the time, because the normal setting is not as good.

I have a choice bit of tarmac near my home where I drive test cars. It includes typical rural road surfaces with the necessary undulations and a nice tight corner as well as a long sweeping one.

The car’s suspension is very neutral, with a bit of over-steer, as you would like it in a car like this.

It is a heavy car and you feel it when the car is in the normal suspension mode. The car tends to wallow in normal mode.

I really liked the fact that the traction control and ABS is not as “interfering” as on some other cars in normal mode.

It handles a sharp turn at high speed quite well and allows the driver to drive.

The diesel engine is very nice and the car handles well in sport mode. The performance of the engine is very good and I think this car will be a great long-distance drive.

The gearbox is slightly notchy, you feel it shift. But that is not necessarily bad.

The steering is genuinely good and the car is very stable at high speed – once again in the sport setting. It gives you self-confidence, but I could feel it is a heavy car. The BMW is just as heavy but it hides it a bit better.

I am in favour of the car’s looks. For some people it may be a bit radical, but I really like it.

It is the kind of design that won’t leave you neutral. You will either like it or hate it.

One of the biggest drawbacks of this car is the relative lack of rear legroom compared to other cars in the class. This class of car has to have that space, but I believe it has to do with the car’s shape and roofline.

The finish inside is not quite as good as in the BMW, the Audi or the Mercedes Benz.

At the price, I think Jaguar will have to do a bit more work.

If you are the new kid on the block, you need to compete and either look at your price or make sure you offer a competitive overall package.