Test Drive: 2012 Jaguar XJL SuperSport

?2012 Jaguar XJL Supersport Sedan: Sporty elegance?

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Jaguar?s heritage has long been about producing beautiful vehicles, but with a purpose ? elegant, striking, emotionally stirring designs, combined with spirited and capable performance. In essence, a bold yet luxurious, sporting vehicle with the heart of a racecar. In 2010, the XF model Jaguar lineup was introduced, adhering to all of the above mentioned qualities, and just when one began to feel that things couldn?t possibly be improved upon, suddenly it did, when the stunning all-new for 2011 form of the XJ series appeared on the scene.

That latest XJ iteration represented the most beautiful design form to come from the Jaguar design studios to date. Okay, there was the XK180 concept car with only two produced (a right and a left hand drive model) and the infamous XJ220. Jaguar Design Director, Ian Callum and his team definitely outdid themselves when they penned the XJ Jaguar series, which is representative of the new direction of Jaguar, now owned by TaTa of East India.

Visually, even the long wheelbase XJ sedan personifies the form of a coupe with its graceful sweeping line from nose to tail, and the low curved cabin roof with blacked out ?B? pillar and chrome glass area surround. The front overhang is perceived to be shorter than it actually is due to the character line that arches over the pronounced front wheel well and continues along the beltline into a rear hipline, taillights and short rear deck. A sculpted lower rocker carries one?s eyes to a curved line over the rear wheel well that continues around the rear fascia. The bold hood lines curve inward to meet the strong mesh grille, flanked by the cat-like headlamp assembly. From the top, the windscreen carries into the panoramic glass roof and rear glass. The taillamps take on a vertical positioning that angles into the trunk line, emphasizing the broadness of the integrated rear fascia that houses the angled oval dual exhaust tips and rear diffuser. The vertical LEDs within the taillamps suggest the raking of a big cat?s claws.

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The interior is as elegant and striking as the exterior with broad swept strokes accenting the symmetry and balance and highlighting the detailed craftsmanship that skillfully blend the materials into a luxurious yet functional array and ambience. Air inlets are round and are metal rather than plastic.

The master gauge panel consists of a 12.5-inch TFT screen featuring crisp informational virtual gauges in analog form as well as a sub Nav feature accessible in the left round gauge position, featuring 614,400 pixels. There areno main traditional gauges. There is also an 8-inch WVGA color touch screen for navigation, climate and audio functions. Standard audio includes 600 watts and 14 speakers.? 14 leather tones and 9 headliner materials are available to complement the chosen external finish. There are also 9 different wood veneers as well a carbon fiber treatment to suit individual tastes for the interior.

The 2012 Jaguar XJ is available in several configurations: the XJ regular wheelbase in either normally aspirated or supercharged form; the XJL ? long wheelbase model, which measures 4.9-inches more in length than the XJ, also available either with a naturally aspirated or supercharged engine; and finally the XJ SuperSport in either regular wheelbase or long wheelbase. All are powered by a 5.0-liter V8 with varying outputs. Standard in the XJ and XJL is a 385 horsepower version that produces 380 pound feet of torque. A supercharged version for both the XJ and XJL that generates 470 horsepower along with 424 pound feet of torque, and finally, the XJ and XJL Supersport models crank out an optimum 510 horses and 461 pound feet of torque. All engines reside up front and drive the rear wheels, and all qualify for a ULEVII rating ahead of required legislation.

The transmission consists of Jaguar?s DriveSelector with a pop-up rotary dial, offering 6 automatic transmission gears with fully adaptive shifts and shift paddles as standard for all models. Also featured as part of the system are three drive modes to suit different driving styles and situations: Standard; Winter; and Dynamic.

 

The 2012 Jaguar XJ series meets the following criteria in vehicle dynamics and character: it delivers agility and responsiveness while being comfortable and composed along with a direct steering feel with a quicker ratio that results in precise handling and a consistent connection to the road. Body roll has been reduced by 20 percent, and the tire diameter has been increased, as have the front and rear tracks. The ?A? pillar is thinner for better driver visibility. Body construction employs Jaguar?s advanced aluminum technology with 2,800 self-piercing rivets in combination with epoxy adhesive.

Among the many technological features of the XJ is: Blind Spot Monitoring; rear camera parking aid; Xenon headlights with intelligent High Beam; 20 way adjustable seats; a 15 cubic foot trunk with electric lid; laminated and water repellent glass; emergency brake control; and cornering brake control.

I was afforded the opportunity to drive both the normally aspirated and supercharged versions of the XJL, but recently spent time in the Supersport model. My test long wheelbase XJL Supersport wore an enticing Caviar metallic exterior coat, complemented by a TruffleTipped Parchment interior, highlighted by burl walnut veneer trim accents. The base price was set at $117,700. while adding the Transportation and Handling charges elevated the final total cost to $118,575.

SUMMARY: The 2012 XJL supercharged Jaguar is an exquisitely elegant and capable, high performance driving machine that will surely raise concern from the likes of competitors such as the Audi A8L, BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It is truly in their league with no compromises.

The supercharged 5-0-liter V8 is a mighty force to be reckoned with, delivering stellar acceleration accompanied by a combination snarl/roaring rumble from the exhaust that is music to the ears of any gearhead. Press the start button, select a gear and choose the Dynamic mode and the tightening of the seat belts serves notice that a spirited romp is imminent. I took an occasion to pass in a safe but limited window, nailed the throttle and hit 110 mph in what seemed like no time at all, and the car was barely breathing.

Gear changes are smooth in the fully automatic mode and come without hesitation in the manual mode. The ride quality, though firm, is compliant and quite comfortable. Handling is precise and confidence inspiring, with the car remaining flat and stable on even the most challenging twists and turns.

Subtle cabin enhancements are available throughout the 2012 XJ stable. A new Rear Comfort Pack on the XJL Supersport? provides seats that feature electric adjustment of the seatback recline angle, four-way lumbar support and a massage function. Also included are new winged headrests, footrests and the capability of moving the unoccupied front passenger seat forward for added space and comfort. All XJ variants now offer an Illumination Package derived from the Supersport model and consisting of illuminated sill plates, trunk latch and front and rear air vents.

The 2012 Jaguar XJL Supersport blends elegance, contemporary Jaguar styling, luxurious comfort and state-of-the-art technologies with the stellar performance attributes and capability in an unquestionably desirable package, and it is sure to take its place in the collectible marketplace as the iconic classic that it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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