Jeremy Jaguar isn’t the first manufacturer to ditch an analogue dashboard display for something entirely different. Back in the 1980s, my father’s Citroen CX had a bizarre rotating ball that spun slowly as the car picked up pace. Inside our XJ, the standard dials have been replaced with a digital dash that looks so realistic it takes a few moments to realise that you are staring at graphics, rather than the real thing.
It’s just one of many features inside the XJ that help make the cabin a design masterclass. It may not be as roomy as some of the German competition but this is a sophisticated and very grown up interior. Wood, high quality leather and soft-touch materials adorn the cockpit – and there are so many neat touches it’s going to take the next seven days to tell you all about them.
The ignition key alone lets other people know you have arrived. It’s a solid, chunky rock of loveliness that’s heavier than my wallet – not a problem if you can afford the £72,000 price tag of our sparkling white test car. Then there’s the rotating gear knob that sits proud on top of the centre console. It is tactile, easy to grip and dispenses with the need for any kind of transmission gearstick.
I sat in the passenger seat while Jessica drove us across the Cotswolds. The centre touch screen display may not be as high res as the dashboard but using wireless headphones, I was able to listen and watch television as she enjoyed the V6 engine to the full. Dangerous for the driver? Not so because some clever gadgetry means the driver can only see button controls for other car-related functions on the same screen that I was watching TV. Next time I’m going to sit in the back seat and let you know what David Cameron feels like in his armoured XJ…