When it comes to  modern luxury saloons, no one does it better than our brethren across the  Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Whether it be Germany with their storied “big three franchises” or Japan with their techno-infused, ultra reliable, Lexus, Infiniti, and  Acura franchises, the current essence of the four door luxury automobile rests solely in the hands of these select companies. But the original essence of the luxury saloon itself can be found in American companies like Buick, Mercury, and Cadillac. American companies dominated the 40’s, 50′, and 60’s with gorgeous and powerful automobiles that were accessible to a large audience but the 70’s brought in the dark ages for such companies and they haven’t been the same since. Greed, bad business decisions, and a lot of bad cars allowed the world’s European luxury car makers to capitalize on their risky chances at new technology and seize the market. During the late 80’s, Japenese super corporations Toyota, Nissan, and Honda all began drafting plans to compete against their German and American counterparts for the luxury crown. Throughout their history, Japanese luxury cars have been known for their unwavering reliability, amenity, and design with power and motorsport taking a backseat to unparalleled comfort. German luxo-cars have been known by solid driving mechanics, beautiful body styling, and powerful engines. Within all this lays Britain, the home of royal pomp and circumstance, breath taking palaces, and unique luxury cars.

Britain’s car market is known today really for Bentley, Aston-Martin, Rolls Royce, MINI, and Jaguar/Land Rover. It has a long history of motoring with companies like MG, Morris, Lotus, Vauxhall, and Morgan but Britain finds itself struggling to try to reach the world dominance they was at during the 40’s and 50’s. Britain is known for some seriously sexy coupes like the Aston Martin DB5 and Jaguar E-Type but when it comes to saloons, they are master coach makers. Think of British luxury saloons as rolling palaces. The bodies are big, stately and ornate. The interiors are plush and extravagant. The cars must make a statement and be breath-takingly beautiful. I know, when I see Bentleys, Aston Martins, or Rolls Royces in person, they literally take my breath away. They’re are gorgeous cars those Arnage’s, Phantoms, and XJs. The British luxury car makers are all debuting or have debuted new flagship sedans now though. Bentley has the replacement to the Arnage T with the Mulsanne, RR is dropping the Ghost, Aston Martin is debuting their first sedan in nearly 50 years with the Rapide, and Jaguar has released a new XJ.  All the other aforementioned cars are staying true to their original design styles with some seriously sexy new age cues, but the Jaguar is going in a complelty different direction and I don’t like it.

The original XJ was like the coming of the seasons. Every year, you knew it would be there. It was first produced in 1968 and for 40 years it was more evolutionary than revolutionary. Some way or another, each generation XJ shares something with the last. In most cases, this type of production is unacceptable to me, but for Jaguar it’s almost like a custom. The XJ has always been a beautiful car, inside and out, and it has always been powerful. Instead of looking at the XJ as never changing, it’s more like it sits ominously atop the Jaguar line up as the beacon of the past. After all, the XJ was the last Jaguar to be personally touched by founder Sir William Lyons. To drastically change the XJ would almost be like erasing the face of the company or throwing away the last piece of the puzzle that links Jaguar’s past to its future. The car might have not always been reliable, and it may not have been as good as its competitors, but it was an XJ. It’s like buying an Alfa Romeo. You don’t buy it for comfort, reliability, or values, you buy it for passion.

The new XJ is a beautiful car indeed, but it is not the car Sir William Lyons had in mind 50 years ago. You may say, “It’s 2010 dumbass. Get with the program. The car is 50 years old.” but to that I say, you cannot drastically change a classic. Aston Martins can be spotted by their trademark grills, Bentley body styling can be spotted miles away, and Rolls Royces are painfully obvious. If you saw this XJ on the road you wouldn’t be able to identify it quickly. And there inlays the problem. The X-Type was an abomination in the long run, so the brand new XF that replaces it gets my vote, but the XJ is a classic. Jaguar just replaced 50 years of XJs with this huge, generic space ship. I’m pretty sure the interior is beautiful (this is Jaguar we’re talking about) and the ride is great (this is the new Jaguar we’re talking about) but it’s just not my beloved XJ.