With headlights styled like narrowed eyes, a gracefully sloping roofline and unique black C-pillars, the XJ looks like nothing else in the segment.The tall front end, which no doubt was designed with European pedestrian safety standards in mind, is generally styled like the XF, although the grille juts out further from the fascia. From the side, the XJ takes a vastly different approach with the C-pillar, which does not sweep in the same vaguely Lexus style of the XF.
Out back, Lancia-esque tail lamps curve up the rear and the dramatically sloped rear window give the car a four door coupe-style profile.
The XJ's interior was also seriously re-worked for the latest generation. Taking little in the way of influence from the smaller XF, the XJ features a unique, wrap-around dash, complete with plenty of wood and leather accents. A large LCD screen is front and center while rounded air vents give the XJ's cabin an air of sportiness.
The XJ is also available as the long-wheelbase XJ L model, which features five extra inches of rear-seat space.
A push button ignition and JaguarDrive Selector gear switch - the same found in the XF - bring the big cat up to speed with 21st century luxury motoring. Optional features include a 1,200-watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system, hard drive-based audio and navigation systems and connectivity for external audio and video devices.
Technical features of the new XJ include an air suspension, Jaguar's continuously variable damping Adaptive Dynamics system and Active Differential Control.
The XJ is offered with no less than four engine choices.
The entry-level engine is a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that produces 340 horsepower at 6,500 rpms and 332 lb-ft. of torque at 3,500 rpms. It sends the XJ from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds when fitted with all-wheel drive or 5.7 seconds when fitted with rear-wheel drive.
Gas mileage checks in at 18 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway when the V6 powers the short-wheelbase XJ and 17 / 27 when fitted to the long-wheelbase model. Opting for all-wheel drive lowers mileage to 16 and 24, respectively, regardless of which body style is chosen.
The XJ Supercharged is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that makes 470 horsepower at 6,000 rpms and 424 horsepower at just 2,500 rpms. It sends the sedan from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 155 mph. Gas mileage checks in at 15 in the city and 23 on the highway.
All of the XJ's motors shift through an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive is available, but only with V6; otherwise, the XJ sends its power to the rear wheels only.
No matter the trim level, the XJ promises to be one serious sports sedan. With a relatively low curb weight - courtesy of its aluminum-intensive construction - the sedan's prowess on curvy roads belies its jumbo-sized dimensions.
Coddling Luxury Features
Jaguar's full-size sedan is available in six different trim levels: XJ, XJ AWD, XJL Portfolio, XJL Portfolio AWD, XJ Supercharged, and XJL Supercharged. A performance-oriented model named XJR is also available.
The base XJ comes standard with Xenon headlights, a blind spot monitoring system, a rear-view camera, parking sensors on both ends, a power trunk lid, LED tail lamps, electric, auto-dimming, heated and power-folding door mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, a panoramic roof, a garage door opener, a hard drive-based navigation system, Bluetooth audio streaming, an eight-inch color touch screen and an air suspension on the rear axle.
The extended-wheelbase XJL Portfolio brings the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 in addition to heated and cooled seats front and rear, contrast stitching, piping and embossed leaper on headrest, suedecloth premium healiner, four-zone automatic climate control and rear side sunshades.
Available in normal and extended-wheelbase forms, the XJ Supercharged adds the 470-horsepower supercharged 5.0-liter V8 as well as niceties such as a four-zone climate control system.
Highlights from the list of options includes a heated windshield and a massage function for the front seats. Buyers can also choose from a wide range of accessories such as chrome mirror covers, mud flaps, illuminated tread plates, a luggage net in the trunk and aluminum pedals.
All XJ models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems, brake assist and a blind spot monitoring system.
The XJ is the sports car of its competitive set, which includes the technology-filled Audi A8, the conservatively-styled BMW 7 Series and the pampering Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It's hard to go wrong with any of these options.