Why the Jaguar XJ Autobiography is Prince Harry's choice of wheels

People love a car with pedigree and few have the pedigree of one that's transported royalty.

After all, a car fit for a prince or princess must be a special piece of kit and both British brands Jaguar and Land Rover hold the Royal Warrant.

The most recent visit was from Prince Harry earlier in 2017 when he was launching the Invictus Games, which takes place in Sydney in 2018.

One of the cars used to transport the prince was a long wheelbase XJ Autobiography.

It's that exact car 51698009 thought got the chance to take for a spin...

The royal treatment

Even a $300K limousine doesn't just roll off the showroom floor to collect royalty.

First, the car must meet the requirements of the royal family.

That typically means it should be large and luxurious.

It also has to have tinted windows replaced with ones with no shading.


Unlike other celebrities, royals prefer to be seen and wave out at their fans rather than be hidden behind darkened glass.

Who's who

Depending on who is travelling in it there may be other options; in Range Rovers, for example, Land Rover may fit additional grab handles to make it easier for Her Majesty to get in and out.

In the UK the Queen had a Defender custom made with an automatic transmission, something that was never offered to the public; despite the rugged, utilitarian flavour of the Defender it seems Her Majesty is happy for the occasional touch of luxury.

Safe as…

Having been prepared by the manufacturer, the car is given to local security services.

It's whisked away by the Australian Federal Police, presumably to check for everything from listening devices to explosives.

From the time it is handed over until the time it returns Jaguar doesn't know who is driving the car or when or where.

The only giveaway to where it has been are speeding fines, which are dutifully handed back to  police for cancellation.

Power in numbers

A single limo is not enough for royalty. Jaguar Land Rover typically supplies a few cars for each royal visit.

If they are visiting multiple states, there will be cars at each destination. And, once there, having a few cars as part of the convoy means their security entourage has some choice.

As well as Jag XJs, Range Rovers tend to be well utilised.

Unsurprisingly it's the most expensive models that dominate.

Backseat driver

It's the rear of the XJ that is the most luxurious seat in the car, courtesy of sprawling legroom, foot rests, reclining seats with leg rests and plush leather-trimmed head rests.

It's not only supremely comfortable but elegant, too. The circular air vents that dominate the dashboard are replicated in the rear.

The Prince can also make sure he hasn't got a hair out of place or anything stuck in his teeth thanks to the illuminated mirrors that fold from the roof. And, for some extra sunlight there are dual sunroofs.

Head room is not brilliant but would be fine for the Prince's circa-186cm body while the quilted seats are plush and comfy – the head rests moreso.

In the rear there's full control over heating, cooling and the recline angle of the seats.

He could even dial up a massage program; it's nothing like the real thing but at least pushes some buttons!

Fun times

No chance of getting bored, either.

Individual TV screens connect to wireless headphones, or he may have used the 20-speaker Meridian system; it's crisp and clear, albeit without the outright punch and depth of some systems in luxury rivals.

Like so many digital TV tuners in cars, though, the reception isn't great in hilly Sydney, where black spots are common.

Fortunately there are HDMI inputs, so the Prince could have brought his own shows.

Plus there's a beautifully trimmed wooden table for snack time – or tapping out some emails while using the onboard wi-fi hub.

The XJ mixes elegance and technology in a very different way to its predominantly German rivals.

Get up and go

They may be big, heavy and loaded with creature comforts, but limousines such as the XJ aren't slow.

Anything but.

Under the bonnet of Prince Harry's car is a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 belting out 375kW of power.

That's enough to launch it to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds.

It's certainly a brisk device, able to top triple figures effortlessly.

Driving only the rear wheels, though, you can provoke some wheelspin if you're too aggressive on the throttle.

Road king

The XJ is a very comfortable cruiser, but at the same time it attacks corners with the sort of verve befitting the Jaguar brand's sporty nature.

It rides on 20-inch low profile Dunlop tyres, something that gives it loads of grip through bends.

The steering is relatively light but responsive.

There's also air suspension, which can be stiffened in Dynamic mode – also adding red to the digital instrument display - for sharper reactions on the right road.

Somehow, though, we suspect his Australian minders may have left it in Comfort mode.

After all, the XJ Autobiography is more about pampering. At least when it's carrying a prince.