Test Drive: JaguarXJL

All-New Flagship Jaguar XJL

Over its entire history, the Jaguar brand has been recognized for its elegant graceful lines, luxury appointments and performance.? But the brand has often lacked a stability that would it make it more than a niche luxury vehicle.? During the last 20 years that trend has continued with the Jaguar brand being bought and sold, and bought again with ownership transitioning from Great Britain to America to India.? Despite all the changes, each new owner has allowed the brand to maintain its regal heritage and has allowed the Jaguar staff to move forward with major improvements.?? Most importantly, they gave Jaguar the funding to make it happen.

The result is a lineup of three (XF, XJ and XK) of the best looking and best performing cars on the market plus they have been able to enhance the brand values and heritage.? Bravo to Ford and Tata, Jaguar?s current owner, for their vision to save this noble brand.

The latest all-new Jaguar renderings are the flagship XJ and XJL luxury sedans.? These cars display new levels of style and quality that should land them on many ?best looking? and ?best car? lists.

Long, low and sleek the XJ has lines like its name sake, the Jaguar cat. The design team, headed by Ian Callum, created a full-size car with a cat-like stance that looks much longer than the previous XL, but it?s only one inch longer.? The XJ has a wide track, short front and rear overhangs which combined result in one of the most aerodynamically efficient Jaguars ever.

The interior d?cor redefines traditional British sophistication with abundant chrome trims and wooden accents that create a more contemporary look. ?The cabin is filled with new technologies like the 12.3-inch high definition Virtual Instruments? gauge cluster that looks like a blank screen behind the steering wheel.? When the start button is pushed, the screen is transformed with three virtual dials building before your eyes with such detail and depth we thought it was a traditional instrument panel.? When a warning goes on, such as low fuel, or a new radio station is selected, part of the panel fades allowing a prominent display of the message.

In the center stack, an eight-inch touch-screen provides controls for the navigation, audio and vehicle set-up.? This allowed the number of conventional controls to be minimized.? The driver can also control various systems with the Interactive Voice? control system that utilizes an intuitive approach to coach the proper controls and making the driver more comfortable with the system.

The two basic XJ models, XJ and the longer XJL are available with three engine choices, which also enhance features and trim ? XJ, Supercharged and Supersport.? The XJ Supersport, which is available only by customer order, adds features like a leather headliner, semi-aniline leather seats and real wood with laser-generated inlays.

The XJL has a longer wheelbase, which adds about five inches legroom to the rear seat. Our test car was the longer XJL model, so we had to spend time practicing sitting in the back seat.? We really needed our granddaughter, the princess, to sit regally in the back so we could do what we liked best ? drive.

The three engine choices include a 385-hp 5.0-liter naturally aspired V-8, a 470-hp supercharged version of the same engine and for someone wanting maximum performance and opulence, there is the 510-hp supercharged V-8 in the XJ Supersport.? The Supersport engine propels this big sedan from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, while the naturally aspired engine still produces a very impressive 5.1-second time.?? Each engine drives the rear wheels through a precise six-speed automatic transmission with wheel mounted paddle shifters available for more driver control.? Fuel economy is 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway for the supercharged models and 16/23 mpg for the natural aspired version.

Pricing starts at $72,500, including delivery, for the regular length XJ and about $1,400 an inch more for the ($79,500) XJL long wheel base version.? The XJL Supersport, with a $113,000 base price, has only three options: rear seat entertainment, Kasuga wheels and heated windshield that combined add $3,350 to the bottom line.

Our Jaguar XJL test car was a blast to drive.? It feels more like driving a sports car than a big luxury sedan.? The power delivery is instant, the steering exact and the brakes feel like an anchor was thrown out and grabbed onto a tree.? Someone in the market for a full size luxury car should not miss driving this one.

Jaguar has enhanced the ownership experience too, with a five-year, 50,000 mile Platinum Coverage program that includes extras like complimentary scheduled maintenance and no-cost replacement of specific wear and tear components like brake pads, brake disks, wiper blades, etc.