Jaguar offers the XJ with either a short or a long wheelbase. The longer model gets five additional inches of sheet metal between the axles to clear up more space for the passengers riding in the back.
With headlights styled like narrowed eyes, a gracefully sloping roof line, and unique blacked-out 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 surfs the four-door coupe wave with a gently-sloping roof line.
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.
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 entry-level XJ uses a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that makes 340 horsepower. It sends the sedan from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission come standard, and all-wheel drive is offered at an extra cost. Note the six is the only engine offered with all-wheel drive; the rest of the XJ's engines only come with rear-wheel drive.
Next up is a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine that sends 470 horsepower to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The extra power lowers the XJ's zero-to-60-mph time to 4.9 seconds.
Finally, the range-topping XJR575 boasts an evolution of the aforementioned V8 that makes -- you guessed it -- 575 horsepower. That's enough for a 4.4-second sprint from zero to 60 mph. Only the long-wheelbase XJ is eligible to receive the top-spec V8.
No matter the model, 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.
Standard and optional features
The base XJ comes standard with the six-cylinder engine, rear-wheel drive, LED lights on both ends, a blind spot monitoring system, parking sensors front and back, a power-operated trunk lid, LED rear lights, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, a panoramic roof, a garage door opener, a hard drive-based navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, soft-close doors, a surround sound system, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, dual-zone climate control, walnut trim, keyless entry and start, cruise control, and shift paddles for the eight-speed automatic transmission.
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 Jaguar XJ competes in the same segment as the Audi A8, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and the BMW 7 Series. It's the oldest car in its class, and it's certainly not the most advanced by any means of measurement, but it's one of the sportiest.