It was 1968 when the XJ6 first burst on to the scene, envisaged by company founder Sir Williams Lyons as a four-door with the handling of an E-type. It has been a permanent fixture of the luxury saloon firmament ever since.
There have been eight generations over the half century, all, except the latest, low and sleek three-box interpretations of the first, with its signature grille and twin pairs of round headlights. The eighth-gen is, of course, low and sleek and, even today, daringly contemporary, and it is this that provides the basis for the new XJ50 celebration model.
Jaguar, these days selling more SUVs than saloons, has been restrained in its celebration. The XJ50 gets a modest going-over of bumpers, badges and blacked-out grille, with new wheels and, inside, quilted leather with embossed leaper logos. XJ50 is spelled out in the illuminated kick plates.
It is powered by the 296bhp 3.0-litre diesel engine and is available in either standard or long wheelbase forms, in white, black, blue or red, with prices from £74,280.
In its time Sir Williams Lyons’ saloon car legacy has been the choice of business leaders, celebrities, politicians and royalty. Designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK it has been exported to 100 countries worldwide.
Times change, but there are still people for whom a Jag XJ is the ultimate, and thank heavens for that. In today’s sea of luxury SUVs, an XJ is a surefire way to stand out from the crowd.