2008 Jaguar XJ Vanden Plas

I've heard a lot of people talk about how well this Jaguar has aged over the years, so I asked Marc to book one before this generation of the car became history. The appeal is very easy to understand as soon as you slide into a soft leather seat and notice the tasteful expanses of wood and leather used in the interior. Everything feels very old school luxury.

Sadly, the old school feel is very much true of the radio/navigation unit. The controls are all easy to use, but the interface looks ancient and clumsy compared with the likes of a new S-class, Audi A8, or Lexus LS. I can see how that is a good thing to certain buyers, though. Not everyone wants or needs the latest technological wonders.

The aluminum construction of this car allows the 300 hp engine to feel adequate and the normal aspiration gives very linear power delivery. Again, this feels old school, but not in a bad way. The big Jag feels very steady on the highway and composed in turns. Not quite as sharp as an S-class, but more fun than a Lexus.

I hope the next XJ feels as refined and dignified inside, improves upon the radio/navigation unit, and has a distinctive exterior. The current shape turned old a while ago, but at least the car is distinctive going down the road. Everyone knows what you're driving, and it makes a statement.

Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor

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