2010 Jaguar XJ and XJL Review

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The front seats are sublime and suitable for marathon long-distance driving sessions. Some passengers complained about the supersized transmission tunnel, which has the unfortunate effect of making the cabin feel more confined that it actually is, but I found that aspect of the interior quite roomy.  Despite the coupe-like appearance, the rear seats are exceptionally roomy as well.

My XJL (the long wheelbase version of the XJ) came with the superb 20-speaker, 1200-watt Bowers & Wilkins stereo and it was magnificent.  My test recordings (which include the Wiener Philharmoniker playing Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto and Glenn Gould playing The Goldberg Variations) sounded more like Carnegie Hall than in any other auto I’ve been in recently.   The media hub recognized my fourth generation iPod touch and also provides 30 GB of storage for music.

Road and steering feel are excellent. Jaguar engineers eschewed the concept of using electric power steering and, instead, used the Jaguar XFR’s hydraulically-assisted rack instead.  The turn signal emits a solid, chunky tick-tock that carries one back to less electronically-assisted times.  The optional intelligent high-beam control works quite well.

Driving in the city, even on the bumpiest of roads, the XJ exhibits perfect manners.  Little harshness is transmitted into the cabin; instead, the ride is serene and confident.  On the highway, the Jag happily moves from zero to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 5.7 seconds.  Press the button for dynamic mode, the instrument cluster takes on a red hue,  and the seatbelts pull back an extra inch, ready for the fun that firmer shocks and a quicker throttle response bring to the table.

Once I was used to holding the start button in for a few seconds to turn the car off, I found the keyless entry and start system to work quite well.  There was no delay in the door unlock, which does happen on other cars.  The blind-spot monitor worked quite well in alerting me to traffic that I could otherwise not see and the front and rear parking distance indicators were very useful given the Jag’s length.

With a base price of $72,500 for the sedan, and supercharged and Supersport editions of the short- and long-wheelbase versions, Jaguar appears poised to go after Audi’s A8, BMW’s 7er Series, the Lexus LS460, and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class warships and many a Jaguar XJ owner will be able to bag a few Bimmers and Benzes on the commute home.

–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.

2011 Jaguar XJL
Base price/price-as-tested $79,500/$xxxxx
Drivetrain Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 5.0-liter/470 hp/V-8
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight (lbs) 4131
Wheelbase (inches) 124.3
Length x width x height (inches) 206.6 x 74.6 x 57
0-62 mph (seconds) 5.7
City/highway fuel economy (mpg) 15/22

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