IT'S been the choice of business leaders, celebrities, politicians and royalty for half a century and now Jaguar is marking the golden years of its flagship XJ luxury saloon with the launch of a new 50 anniversary special edition model.
Revealed at the Beijing Motor Show, the Jaguar XJ50 will be available in both standard and long wheelbase forms with a three-litre 300PS diesel powertrain. Jaguar dealers are taking orders now at prices from £74,280.
Exterior updates include Autobiography-style front and rear bumpers, new 20-inch Venom wheels, a black front grille and unique badging to the rear and side vents.
Inside, the luxurious cabin features soft-grain diamond-quilted seats with an embossed Jaguar badge on the headrests and an XJ50 logo on the centre armrest. Unique branding and XJ50-badged illuminated treadplates also differentiate the anniversary edition, alongside anodised gearshift paddles and bright metal pedals.
The XJ Series 1 started the distinctive dynasty in 1968 and the XJ has constantly evolved and innovated through eight generations.
Four years into its life it became the world's only mass-produced 12-cylinder, four-door car and, with a top speed of 140mph (225km/h), it was also the fastest four-seater of its time.
Further models followed, sporting both standard and long wheelbases, as well as two and four-door body styles. The Series 2 was the first to offer a two-door coupÃ© model in 1975 and the XJ40, in production for eight years from 1986, introduced the celebrated ‘J' gate gear shifter and self-levelling suspension.
A revolutionary aluminium monocoque bodyshell helped reduce the XJ's weight by 40 per cent from 2003, before the current model brought additional technologies such as all-wheel drive and a virtual instrument cluster.
Ian Callum, Jaguar's Director of Design is the man responsible for the current distinctive styling with its with a wraparound rear screen and distinctive cat claw inspired rear lights.
He says: "Spanning half a century, the Jaguar XJ remains true to its heritage with a wonderful balance of beautiful design, intelligent performance and indulgent luxury that ensures it stands out from the crowd. This is a car worth celebrating and the XJ50 pays homage to a giant within the Jaguar brand that we believe is one of the world's most stylish sporting saloons."