Jaguar XJ : Full Review and Drive

There is something about the Jag that even after 2 years into its official unveil at the 2010 Auto Expo in Delhi, the car still holds its glam and awe factor. While the entire country is familiar with the British brand after Tata took control, it is still a showstopper. Even in the midst of the day, when we were having coffee near Breach Candy in Mumbai with the car parked outside, it was probably the only car to receive the most second looks. You don’t need to be a Jag fan to spot this flawless beauty, but it oft receives attentions with the likes of a Rolls Royce, however it’s the new Jaguar XJ.

This massive sedan gathers awful lot of admiration and Jaguar XJ is superb for a super luxury sedan. There are myriad reasons for the XJ’s popularity.

Jaguar XJ

Design:

Following the design cues of the predecessor, the new XJ makes extensive use of lightweight aluminum in its monocoque chassis forged under Ford’s subsidy. The XJ’s body shell is arguably lighter than the steel variant shedding over 450 pounds, making use of spot welding, and riveting. It can be better defined as luxury on wheels when you hang out in this humongous sedan with you corporate associates or cool friends.

In its subtle sporty appearance, the XJ offers more than its price could tell you. Jaguar’s Design Chief, Ian Callum commented on the design saying, the XJ was sketched around three horizontal strokes of a pen. It was his idea of bringing back the traditional sleek and aggressive appeal to the Jag. But by no means was he exaggerating and the sedan re-lives the Jaguar tradition without boasting a retro appeal. Callum and his team in the U.K. have extended the roofline across to the rear wheels and given the sedan the contour of a coupe, while the glassed roof hinged over the passengers gives a panoramic view. This spectacular sedan redefines limos ‘old and boring’ style quotient with its audacity.

While the independent suspension design is borrowed from the XF, the new XJ features a wider front track and a quick-ratio steering rack borrowed from the XFR. On the front, the XJ features control arms and coil springs, while out back, a multilink suspension sports self-leveling air springs. Jaguar’s continuously variable damping system electronically correct the shock valve, depending on a several external and internal factors including speed, throttle position and steering angle.

Jaguar XJ interior

Power Plant:

Under the hood is a glorious 5.0-liter V8 petrol motor featuring four valves per cylinder config, variable-intake-valve timing and direct fuel injection. There are three options for the engine –  385 bhp, 470 bhp and 510 bhp. The top-range 510 bhp engine is part of the Supersport special-order model that is capable of propelling the XJ to 100 kmph in 4.9 seconds. The extra thrust comes from a turbocharger that gives the V8 a torque of 650 Nm. And with this sort of agility coming from a limo, the XJ gives the Germans a run for their money. Power flows to the wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox that is controlled through a selector barrel. Jaguar gives option of a gear lever popping out of the center console or a behind the steering wheel paddle shift.

Features:

There is something about the interior that it cannot go unnoticed. Everything inside the car has been designed around the driver. There is great visibility and excellent ergonomics. Its not fancy like the A8, but rather a touch of class is featured in its leather covered dash and wooden inserts. In fact, just being inside the Jaguar XJ feels like a celebration.

The front and rear portion is covered by premium carpet mat set whereas the front and rear seat come in soft grain leather. I wouldn’t  be surprised if you think you’re in the lounge of a private Jet. Graceful little picnic trays on the back of the front seats, in the long-wheelbase cars are again practical without slightest compromise on styling. Its more humanly designed, with attention to details that makes the German luxury sedans seem murderers. The ambient blue lights lend fresh air to an otherwise overcrowded interior. Jaguar has maintained a great balance between technology and classic charm.

Starring in the front is a digital three-dial fascia, which is well, not so impressive looking at the German rivals that feature instruments just out of the world. While the driver gets ample legroom and headroom, there is quite restlessness in the backseat. Even if you’re six feet tall, you can always slouch a little looking at the luxurious interiors and comfortable leather seat; Well.

The trunk is spacious providing plenty of room for luggage. Thanks to the folding seats, you can always make room for the extra baggage. The leather upholstery is tidy, with neat stitching, and the seats just make you lazier.

Jaguar XJ engine

Performance:

Sitting under the hood is a naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8. However, when you push the start key, there is no growling noise as you’d expect. The massive V8 begs you to go on the stretch and put your feet to the metal and just unleash the 385 horses. The gear-selection barrel allows easy shift of Drive and the buttons to engage the dynamic settings are ergonomically aligned.

With a little harder push on the pedal, the engine scream aloud and the XJ propels ahead effortlessly. Though its not sporty as the XF or XK, but then you wonder, is it really a limo? There’s surplus amount of power flowing to the wheels so you tend to short-shift using the steering wheel paddles, however if you be a little patient for the rev counter to reach the redline the engine note is captivating and the car is virtually unstoppable.

But wait till you engage the ‘sport’ mode, and the whole car firms up around you with the ambient cabin light and the graphic dials on the instrument cluster turning to a more aggressive red. Its performance gets a phenomenal amount of boost and the cat just comes to life. Try making a ‘zero’ by drifting in parking lot.

On the contrast, the supercharged model is just holding the power in there, waiting to burn the tyres, or the asphalt. This is a serious driving machine that demands respect, but it isn’t wild like the German AMG or M Performance vehicles. It is rather forgiving with rare moments when the tail wishes to spin out of the driving line. Thanks to the electronic rear differential that sends the right amount of torque, at the right amount of time, distributing it between the rear wheels.

Though the XJ has a longer wheelbase, it is equally stable on hairpins as on fast corners. There is no subtle understeer like the German cars, and you can push the pedal while still steering in. The beefed up turbocharged engine does not give lag and is more brutal. Thanks to the air suspension and independent linkage, there is considerably less body roll that occasionally ruined the driving pleasure in the forerunner. Brakes are also different from the predecessor, with a considerably shorter and harder pedal travel giving the same aggressive linearity of response.

Jaguar XJ

When it comes to practicality, the Jag isn’t the best option with the thirsty naturally aspirated engine. Diesel is mor sensible, but if you desire one, you’ve got to get the turbocharged V8.

Specifications:
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