First drive: 2012 Jaguar XJ-L V6 in the UAE

First drive: 2012 Jaguar XJ-L V6 in the UAE

Jaguar is reinventing itself, according to their new “Alive” marketing campaign. After years of peddling classically-handsome automobiles to traditionally-older gentlemen, things took a turn for the modern when the XF debuted a few years ago. And then the XJ continued that transformation. The XK was always around in the background. Now with three ultra-futurist models making up the range, they’ve revamped their logo and are heavily pushing their cars towards potentially-younger customers. Part of the GCC launch event for the campaign involved a round in the V6-powered XJ-L which debuted last year. This was the first time in our seven-year existence that we’d actually been invited to a Jaguar driving event.

The XJ-L V6 isn’t the quickest of cars, nor the most tech-laden, but it does provide a cheaper entry-point into full-size Jaguar ownership, and it benefits from the same stylistic flair as the line-topping XJ SuperSport Supercharged, the latter one costing twice as much. The only external clue were the “smaller” 18-inch wheels. There are no special badges to indicate we were packing a V6.

But it became rather obvious that we were piloting a 240 hp 3.0-litre V6 as soon as we stepped on the throttle pedal. The motor sounds excellent, but while the car doesn’t really move with any real verve, it is an aluminium-bodied lightweight, so it makes the most of its limited horses. It does cruise well though, doing a bit more than 2000 rpm at 120 kph. The gearbox doesn’t like to always downshift as it prefers to save fuel, but it can be shifted manually using paddles, and there’s a sport mode.

As part of this media event, we were put up overnight at the lavish Al Maha Desert Resort, mingling with oryx deers in our private pools and taking long groin-straining camel rides on the dunes, while some “preferred” scribes were offered a chance to go sky-diving. While I was offered the chance to parachute as well at the last minute, I declined as I wasn’t keen on jumping out of a plane. I also wanted to get some more wheel-time with the car before heading out for another engagement.

The XJ-L V6 also seems to have a bit of a sporting streak. The suspension is firm, the steering is well-weighted and the view from the driver’s seat is just above the bonnet. That’s great if you want a full-size sedan to carve corners with on mountain roads, as the ‘Alive’ tagline is encouraging you to do, but that comes at the cost of a stiff ride, pretty much like an XK-R. To get the best of both worlds, you’d have to upgrade to an XJ equipped with adjustable air suspension. We did note that the ride feel stays constant, whether on tarmac or on a gravel washboard-surfaced road.

Still, luxury is not forgotten completely, as the cabin in our test car was trimmed in top-notch materials, with more wood and leather than any other car we’ve tested, short of a Bentley. With an LCD screen in place of the gauges, a touchscreen navigation system, and a dual-pane sunroof, we were sure we were sitting in a top-spec model. Paying more would only net you niceties that you probably won’t miss, such as ventilated seats, adaptive cruise control and other intricate gadgetry.

Up front, the surroundings don’t appear as spacious as you’d expect, especially for tall riders. From the driver’s seat It almost feels like you’re sitting in an XK-R, with a sharply-raking windshield, low roofline, recessed dashboard and knee-hugging footwells. But this being the long-wheelbase model, rear space is excellent, with ample legroom and headroom.

And with that being said, we suspect a car like the XJ will not particularly appeal to older buyers any more, especially the kind who prefer the spacious lounge-feel of something like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and like to do their own driving. However, it may very well appeal to someone younger, who will appreciate the sports-tourer cockpit feel of the cabin. Ironically, it should also appeal to back-seat CEOs, as the rear accommodations are perfectly suitable.

The Jaguar XJ is a very desirable car, full of character in a segment dominated by the increasingly-characterless German marques. Of course, cars with character aren’t always going to agree with everyone’s tastes. As much as we liked this British carmaker’s classic designs from a decade ago, today’s reinvented Jaguar is certainly more interesting than the previous geriatric Jaguar.

What do you think?



  1. this is a long ass car , missing the old xj which was one of my favorites after 7series

  2. so how much is it?

  3. Still has the best looking interior of any car

  4. The Luxury V6 model costs 289K whereas the Premium Luxury costs 309K.

    Can we have a more detailed review?
    Gorgeous looking car though! How about a comparo between 7 series, S class, A8, lexus LS and the XJ?

  5. It a nice car but v6 for that price I think I will go for 5 series or E class v8

  6. fully agree with xalan, the rear end looks funnily long.

    also strongly prefered jaguar’s old models from the 60-80s

  7. btw a month ago I sat in one in the front and my head was touching the headliner and I am 6′.
    I wonder how this would do in US or maybe this was designed keeping the chinese and new markets in mind.

    I found that very strange.

  8. too long and too big..i would prefer the XF as its got the new front which makes it awesome

  9. The car looks good. The rear is better than most Cars in the same segment. The S Class has an ugly rear too and the A8 can’t get anymore boring. The Jaguar’s got the edge in finish wise. I just loved the interior when I went to the showroom!
    And the performance should match all it’s competitors. The car’s under rated.

  10. If people liked the previous styling of the Jag so much then it wouldn’t have been a total let down in terms of number of cars sold. Ian Callum has worked his magic wand with this car.

  11. how different is this generation of jags different from the previous one in terms of reliability???

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