There are three flavors of XJ: the 385-hp naturally aspirated version, the 470-hp XJ Supercharged and the 510-hp XJ Supersport. All are based on solid V8 architecture, Jaguar's 5.0-liter AJ-V8 Gen III, and feature direct fuel injection and a six-speed automatic transmission controlled by the JaguarDrive rotary Selector or steering wheel-mounted paddles. All three are available in short- or long-wheelbase form, the latter of which lends five inches of additional legroom.
It's obvious the engineers had a lot of fun tuning the XJ as its performance is matched with an equally impressive sound. You wouldn't expect a car as stately as the XJ to sing like this.
While the 385-hp model has plenty of chutzpah, the force-fed versions are flat-out riotous. It doesn't matter how buttoned-down a man is-roasting the rear tires of an XJ will transform him into a juvenile delinquent. The superchargers are based on twin-rotor Roots-type blowers and virtually silent. But as the revs approach 2200 rpm, the additional thrust shrink-wraps drivers into their seats. It appears the vaunted Mercedes V12 finally has some serious competition. Actually, I'd give the edge to Jaguar. I forgot to mention all the XJ's goodness is wrapped in what Jag calls its "Platinum Coverage." Jaguar takes care of scheduled maintenance for five full years, including brakes, wipers, and other consumables. Show me another luxury carmaker that does that. Oh wait... there are none.
It is difficult to describe the cabin without words like "gorgeous," "sexy," "classic," and "gorgeous." Yes, I used "gorgeous" twice but it's still the best way to describe the XJ's cockpit. Jaguar has managed to blend old-school craftsmanship and elegant design with cutting-edge tech. There's a lot of restraint in the design, a lot of thought. It's destined to be remembered as one of the best luxury cabins in its class, a genuine classic.
The interior bit that doesn't mesh so well is its centrally mounted touchscreen display. The eight-inch display manages many of the XJ's functions including climate control, audio communications, and navigation. Both the animation and interface seems a bit clunky and I found it difficult to access its functions while the car was moving, especially over less-than-perfect surfaces.
A few minutes listening to the 1,200-watt Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system, (standard on supercharged models and optional on the naturally aspirated XJ and XJL) made me forget this deficiency. This audio system combines 20 Bowers & Wilkins speakers powered through 15 channels and state-of-the-art sound processing technology. With the optional rear-seat entertainment package specified, passengers have access to dual 8-inch LCD screens in the rear of the front headrests and wireless digital headphones. A specially designed portable touchscreen controller allows passengers to select their preferred source of entertainment, with the two rear screens and all headphones controlled independently. If an XJ is in your future, you want this option. It'll leave people fighting over the rear seats.
No, at first I had no idea the car we drove to dinner was the new XJ. But that's a good thing. This car has reinvented itself into an entirely new animal, one that will place Jaguar firmly in the ranks of the best of the executive sedan crowd. I'd vote it for the CEO.
Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
5.0-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve, supercharged
Six-speed automatic transmission with adaptive shift control
Unequal length wishbones, subframe-mounted coil springs, multi-link rear suspension, air springs
Two-piston aluminum calipers, ventilated 380mm rotors (f) and 376mm rotors (r)
Wheelbase: 124.3 in.
Curb Weight: 4,323 lb
Peak Power: 510 hp @ 6000 rpm
Peak Torque: 461 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
0-62 mph: 4.7 sec.
Top Speed: 150 mph (limited)