Comparison Test: BMW 730Ld vs Jaguar XJ L 3.0D

BMW and Jaguar despite being luxury car manufacturers have always been referred to being sporty and youthful. Their cars have always managed to combine luxuriousness with sportiness seamlessly and this is true to their flagship models too. Yes, calling full-sized limousines like the 7 Series and the XJ sporty might sound a bit absurd, but still compared to the competition they have always been more involving from behind the wheel.

In its sixth generation, the new 7 Series has gone through a complete transformation and though it doesn’t look too different as compared to the old car, underneath, it gets an all-new chassis which is made from high strength steel, aluminium and carbon fibre. On the inside, it is more luxurious, comfort is first rate and equipment levels are enormous.

Despite being nearly seven years old, the Jaguar XJ still comes as a breath of fresh air in an otherwise German dominated segment. The XJ’s fluid form makes it look more like a coupé than a saloon and it possesses an aura which makes it very appealing and helps it stand out from the crowd. The XJ has received some recent updates too which has gone a long way in making this Jaguar even more tempting.

So which of these sporty limousines should you splurge your hard earned dough on?  Read our detailed comparison to find out.

First glance

The BMW definitely looks striking thanks to its prominent kidney grille and the beautifully detailed LED headlamps. In profile, the strong shoulder-line and the massive 19-inch wheels make it look dynamic and sporty. At the rear, the complex tail lamps and the twin exhaust pipes make it look interesting. Looked at from any angle the BMW looks proportionate and well balanced.

Where the BMW has a traditional three-box design, the Jaguar looks more like a fastback thanks to the tapering roofline merging into the stubby boot. This alone gives it immense presence and elements like the signature Jaguar gaping grille and the slim LED headlamps look very attractive. The XJ looks like nothing else on the road and it definitely looks more special than the BMW.

The Jaguar is the bigger car too, with it being 36mm longer and 13mm wider. But it’s the BMW which boasts of a longer wheelbase which gives it a crucial advantage in terms of packaging. Both these cars use loads of aluminium bits to keep the weight down. But BMW goes further by having carbon fibre elements to further shed weight and make the body more rigid. As a result the BMW 730d at 1950kg is 38kg lighter than the Jaguar XJ L.

Business class comfort

Like the exterior, BMW breaks no new ground with the interiors of the sixth generation 7 Series. The design is quite familiar and even the centre console design looks similar to the old Seven. But when you look closely you will be staggered by the attention to detail in this BMW. The dashboard materials and craftsmanship is top drawer and this is where BMW has a decisive advantage over the Jaguar.

With the facelift, Jaguar hasn’t altered the basic layout of the cabin which is no bad thing. You get a dashboard that looks charming and the prominent crease that runs along the top of the dash gives it a distinct identity and a feeling of cocooning the passengers. Quality of materials is good, but in a few places, you’ll find the odd cheap-feeling bit, like the plastics around the gear selector look low-rent and even some of the buttons look tacky and out of place on this one crore plus car. Even the touchscreen infotainment system lacks the crispness of BMW’s iDrive unit and its slow processing speed can be irritating at times. The TFT screen that replaces the speedo and tacho dials look pixelated and could do with an update.

In terms of comfort, upfront there is not much to separate the two. Despite its smaller dimensions the BMW 7 Series has much more kneeroom, shoulder room and headroom than the XJ. The front seats on the 730d are just fantastic and they adjust for height, contour and squab. It also feels the airier of the two and the light colours help make it a pleasing place to be in. If the front seats are fantastic the BMW’s rear bench is exceptional. You get pampered by a bench that reclines, adjusts for thigh support and has a massage function which makes it a place hard to get out of. Rear space will make your house feel cramped and thanks to the large windows and great seat height, it’s a very nice place to be in.

The Jaguar, on the other hand, is comfortable too. The large front seats are very accommodating and the seat cushioning is spot on. But as soon as you shift to the back seat of the XJ, one thing is for certain, it lags behind the BMW in every respect. There is less space and the seat itself is not as comfy as the 730d’s. Kneeroom is just about adequate and the restricted headroom is a result of Jaguar preferring style over function. What makes matters worse is the high window-line and the slim glasshouse gives you a helmed in feeling.

Even when it comes to equipment, the BMW is head and shoulders above the Jaguar. The 730d in this M Sport trim gets a four-zone automatic climate control,powered rear seats with eight massage programmes, a panorama glass roof with LED light graphics, a Harman Kardon surround sound system, navigation system with 3D maps, a very intuitive iDrive with touch screen and gesture control, a removable Samsung android tablet that controls almost every function in the cabin and a digital key fob that even tells you how much fuel range your 7 Series has while you are sitting in office.

The Jaguar is pretty well equipped too and it gets electric rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, four zone climate control, heated steering and a fantastic sounding 825 Watt Meridian sound system. Sure, it is much cheaper than the BMW, but more tech especially in this class is a must.

Torque of the town

Both these cars use sophisticated suspensions that have been fine-tuned for India. In pursuit of giving the 7 Series a more comfortable ride than before, BMW has moved to full air suspension.Set in ‘Comfort’ mode, small imperfections are smothered comfortably. It’s only sharper expansion joints and potholes that get relayed into the cabin with a thud as the car runs out of clearance. But on the flip-side there is a fair bit of body movement over uneven surfaces. Ride is a lot flatter in sport mode but the suspension also tends to crash a lot more and this is where the Adaptive mode works best, where the suspension constantly changes the firmness according to the road condition.

The Jaguar on the other hand has a stiffer setup and at low speeds you feel the bumps a bit more than in the 7 Series. But as soon as you gather more pace the XJ smothers sharpest of potholes with ease while keeping the body movement in check. But you can hear the suspension more in the Jag and sound insulation is not as good as the BMW too.

Thanks to the soft setup the BMW rolls into corners quite dramatically and it even squats down on its haunches under hard acceleration. The net effect is that you have to scale back on pace and hence can’t make the most of the nicely weighted steering on a series of bends. You do get loads of grip from the wide tyres though and once used to the size and weight you can have some fun in the BMW.

But it’s the Jaguar which feels more willing to change direction, as it feels smaller and more manageable of the two. What further aids the Jag’s appeal is the fluidity and directness of the steering. Yes, it doesn’t weigh up as consistently as the BMW’s but once you get the hang of it, it’s not such a big deterrent.

Both these cars have huge overhangs and long wheelbases. As a result they are vulnerable over large speed breakers as it is quite easy to scrape their underbellies. And this feels worse than fingernails on a blackboard. There is a lift mode in the 7 Series to increase the car’s clearance by 20mm but that too doesn’t help over some bad sections.

The brakes of both the cars felt quite good but the Jaguar’s pedal feel is more linear. This we feel is down to the regenerative braking system used on the BMW.

But all this tech and combined with the start stop systems helped the Beemer register better efficiency figures. The 730ld managed a decent xxx kmpl in the city and xxx kmpl on the highway. The Jaguar wasn’t far behind with figures of xxx in the city and xxxx on the highway.

Verdict

Rank 2
Jaguar XJ L 3.0D Portfolio

Final Score: 413/600

Price: Rs 1.07 crore (Ex-showroom, Delhi)

There’s lots to like about the Jaguar XJ. It looks unique and is also the cheapest limo here. Front seat comfort is really good, overall build quality is solid and ride and handling balance is better than the 730d. But now in this more modern company the XJ has started to feel a bit old. Its performance though good, is not a match to the BMW; the interior quality in places is mediocre, is not as well equipped and space and comfort is second best too.

Rank 1

BMW 730Ld M Sport

Final Score: 436/600

Price: Rs 1.22 crore (Ex-showroom, Delhi)

The 7 Series wins this test because it manages to deliver sufficient thrills while still being an uncompromised luxury car in every other way. Lovely to drive and be driven in, the 730d is rounded enough to recommend to those who split their time between the front and the rear seats. Sure, the ride could have been better judged but other than that it is hard to fault this impressive limousine. It justifies its higher price tag too thanks to the long list of equipment on offer.

Photos by Kapil Angane
Click here for equipment comparison

Specification

CAR NAME BMW 7 Series
Jaguar XJ L
Variant 730Ld M Sport 3.0 Portfolio
ENGINE
Fuel Diesel Diesel
Installation Front, longitudinal Front, longitudinal
Displacement 6 cyls, 2993cc 2993cc, V6
Bore/stroke 90.0/84.0mm 90.0/84.0mm
Valve gear 4 valves per cyl DOHC 4 valves per cyl DOHC
Power 262bhp at 3600rpm 296bhp at 4000rpm
Torque 620Nm at 2000rpm 700Nm at 2000rpm
Power to weight 134.35bhp per tonne 148.89bhp per tonne
Torque to weight  317.94Nm per tonne 352.11Nm per tonne
Gearbox 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic
CHASSIS & BODY
Kerb weight 1950kg 1988kg
Tyres 275/40 R19 245/50 R18
Spare Space saver Space saver
STEERING
Type Rack and pinion Rack and pinion
Type of assist Electric Electric
Turning circle 12.8m 12.7m
BRAKES
Front Ventilated Discs Ventilated Discs
Rear Discs Discs
Anti-lock Yes Yes

Test Data

CAR NAME BMW 7 Series Jaguar XJ L
Variant 730 Ld M Sport 3.0 Portfolio
PERFORMANCE & BRAKING
0-20kmph 0.92s 0.87s
0-40kmph 1.78s 1.88s
0-60kmph 2.95s 3.33s
0-80kmph 4.48s 5.34s
0-100kmph 6.29s 7.69s
0-120kmph 8.56s 10.94s
20-80kmph in 3rd gear 3.78s 4.81s
40-100kmph in 4th gear 4.45s 5.61s
80-0kmph 24.23m 23.45m
FUEL ECONOMY
City 8.6kmpl 8.1kmpl
Highway 12.6kmpl 11.9kmpl
Tank size 78 litres 83 litres
Range 700km 710km
INTERIOR MEASUREMENTS
Front
Knee room(Max/min) 800/560mm 810/590mm
Headroom(Max) 1000/920mm 940/890mm
Shoulder room 1430mm 1380mm
Backrest height 650mm 630mm
Rear
Headroom 940mm 920mm
1m kneeroom 900mm 850mm
Shoulder room 1410mm 1390mm
Knee room(Max/min) 1010/780mm 970/740mm
Seat length 510mm 550mm
Backrest height 660mm 660mm
Boot 450litres(calculated) 511litres(calculated)
Depth/width/height 1090/1060/390mm 1050/1060/460mm
Loading lip height 700mm 730mm

Score sheet

Parameters Max points BMW 730 Ld M Sport
Jaguar XJ L 3.0 Portfolio
DRIVING FEEL
Steering response 20 13 12
Directional stability 25 16 16
Engine characteristics 25 19 17
Gearbox 20 17 15
Visibility 10 7 7
Intermediate results 100 72 67
SPACE
Front Space 25 18 15
Rear space 25 19 17
Feeling of space 20 18 14
Boot space/flexibility 20 15 16
Payload 10 9 6
Intermediate results 100 79 68
IN THE CABIN
Comfort equipment 25 24 24
Operatibility 15 12 11
Feel of quality 20 16 15
Front seats/ingress 20 18 17
Rear seat/ingress 20 18 16
Intermediate results 100 88 83
PERFORMANCE
Acceleration 25 25 25
Top speed 10 10 10
Driveability 30 30 30
Braking 25 21 21
Environment 10 4 4
Intermediate results 100 90 90
ROAD MANNERS
Ride quality 30 23 23
Turning circle 15 11 11
Handling 20 12 13
Manoeuvrability 15 9 9
Safety 20 20 17
Intermediate results 100 75 73
PRICE
Price 45 5 5
Resale 10 6 6
Warranty 10 7 7
Fuel efficiency 35 14 14
Intermediate results 100 32 32
Total 600 436 413

Photos

BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior
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BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior
BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior
BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior
BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior
BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior
BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior
BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior
BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior
BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior
BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior BMW 7 Series Interior
BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior
BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior
BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior
BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior
BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior BMW 7 Series Exterior
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Jaguar XJ L Interior Jaguar XJ L Interior Jaguar XJ L Interior
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Jaguar XJ L Interior Jaguar XJ L Exterior
[“source -pcworld”]