REVIEW | Exploring the Overberg in the serene Jaguar XJ50

Styling-wise, the special edition model includes Autobiography-style front and rear bumpers, purposeful new 20-inch Venom wheels, a black front grille, and unique badging to the rear and side vents.

Inside, the luxury cabin features an embossed leaper on the headrests, an XJ50 logo on the centre armrest, unique intaglio branding, and XJ50-badged illuminated treadplates.

Our test car was finished in the firm's Rosello Red hue, is rich and deep. 

So with only a handful of days to drive the XJ50, I headed off to the Overberg coast for a weekend away in the leathery confines of the big 'Jaaaag'.  

a
Image: Geraldine Parker

At just over five metres long and two metres wide, the XJ50 has a ton of presence. It also has a distinctive look, nothing else can be mistaken for a Jag on the road, a large single grille dominates proceedings up front like Hannibal Lecter's mask. The daytime LED driving lights are the equivalent of botox considering it's been around since 2010. 

And while other large barges in the segment possess more technology than a Russian space station, the Jag comes through with a heated steering wheel, massage heatable and cooled seats to make the climb up Sir Lowry's Pass more comfortable. 

But don't think the big Jag doesn't have radar-guided cruise control, lane-departure warning system, self-leveling rear air suspension and soft-close doors, it has all of those niceties you'd expect in a car this grand. 

On the topic of grandeur, heading out to Hermanus for the weekend meant doing things a 'Jaaaag' owner would do.

That meant a delightful breakfast at the Marine hotel overlooking the ocean on the edge of a cliff. Unfortunately, we didn't spot any whales, but we did indulge in the Marine's extensive and delicious spread.

It's really a lovely establishment and the service was outstanding. Fueled with good food, it was time to stretch the Jag's legs. 

a

                                                             Image: Wheels24 / Sean Parker

While a blustery chilly wind moved the landscape from side to the side, the Jag's heated seats kept all us all warm and comfy inside as we traversed the stunning valley. 

The XJ50's 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine which produces 221kW and a healthy 700Nm, purred away without a fuss as we rolled into arguably one of the best wine estates in the Walker Bay Wine region: Creation. 

As owners of Creation Wines Caroline Martin and Jean-Claude describe they have created their 'little piece of paradise high up on the scenic Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge'. 

The food is sensational. We tasted the 'history of Creation', a delightful six-course culinary journey showcasing the genesis to the now that Creation has to offer. It's difficult to describe the tastes and flavours, you'll just have to experience it for yourself. 

a

                                                                     Image: Geraldine Parker

After our long, delicious lunch it was time to complete the drive around the Hemel-en-aarde valley and head along the newly-tarred Shaw's Pass.

I'm partial to a thin-rimmed steering wheel and thankfully the XJ is fitted with one. The big limousine has a lovely assured feel when navigating the lovely bit of road that is Shaw's Pass. 

With a claimed 0-100km/h time of 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h, the XJ50 doesn't purport to be a performance barge but rather leaps forward in a relaxing, orchestral manner through beautiful regions like the Overberg. 

Driving the XJ50 is really an event, it feels special and being cocooned in the leathery confines of the heated, massaged seats is a great way to celebrate 50 years of the XJ. 

Priced from: R1 815 000

*Find out more aboutCreation Wines and The Marine Hotel

a

Image: Geraldine Parker