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2011 Jaguar XJ -- the Iconic Sedan is Reimagined

By Arv Voss, August 7th, 2010

Jaguar is about beauty with a purpose: elegant, striking, emotionally stirring designs, combined with spirited and capable performance. Jaguar's new 2011 XJ is bold yet luxurious, sporting the heart of a racecar.

Visually, the 2011 XJ sedan personifies the form of a coupe with its graceful sweeping line from nose to tail and low curved cabin roof with blacked out "B" pillar and chrome glass area surround. The front overhang is perceived to be shorter than it actually is due to the character line that arches over the pronounced front wheel well and continues along the beltline into a rear hipline, taillights and short rear deck.

The interior is elegant and striking with broad swept strokes accenting the symmetry and balance and highlighting the detailed craftsmanship that skillfully blend the materials into a luxurious yet functional array and ambience. Air inlets are round and are metal rather than plastic.

The 2011 Jaguar XJ is available in several configurations: the XJ regular wheelbase in either normally aspirated or supercharged form; the XJL long wheelbase model, which measures 4.9 inches more in length than the XJ, also available either with a naturally aspirated or supercharged engine; and the XJ Super Sport in either regular or long wheelbase.

All 2011 XJ's are powered by an all-new 5.0-liter V-8 with varying outputs. Standard in the XJ and XJL is a 385 horsepower version that produces 380 lb.-ft. of torque. A supercharged version for both the XJ and XJL that generates 470 horsepower along with 424 lb.-ft. of torque, and finally, the XJ and XJL Super Sport models that deliver an optimum 510 horses and 461 lb.-ft. of torque. All engines are positioned forward while driving the rear wheels and all qualify for a ULEVII rating ahead of required legislation.

The transmission consists of Jaguar's DriveSelector with a pop-up rotary dial, which offers six automatic transmission gears with fully adaptive shifts and shift paddles as standard. Also featured as part of the system are three drive modes to suit different driving styles and situations: Standard; Winter; and Dynamic.

I had the opportunity to drive both the normally aspirated and supercharged versions of the XJL, but spent more time in the supercharged model. My long wheelbase XJL sported a Caviar metallic exterior finish, complemented by a Truffle and Cashew toned interior highlighted by burl walnut veneer trim accents. The base price was set at $88,800.

The 2011 XJL supercharged Jaguar is an exquisite driving machine that is sure to raise concern from competitors such as the Audi A8L, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The XJ is now in their league with no compromises to deal with.

The supercharged 5-0-liter V-8 is a mighty force, delivering stellar acceleration accompanied by a combination snarl/roaring rumble from the exhaust that is music to any gearheads ears. Press the start button, select a gear and choose the Dynamic mode and the tightening of the seat belts serves notice that a spirited romp is imminent. I took an occasion to pass in a safe but limited window, nailed the throttle and hit 110 mph in what seemed like no time at all, and the XJ wasn't breathing hard at all.

Gear changes are smooth in the fully automatic mode and without hesitation in the manual mode. The ride quality, though firm, is compliant and quite comfortable. Handling is precise and confidence inspiring, with the car remaining flat and stable on even the most challenging twists and turns.

The all-new XJ blends elegance, contemporary Jaguar styling, luxurious comfort and state-of-the-art technologies with performance attributes and capability in a desirable package that is sure to become an iconic classic in the collectible marketplace.

Specifications

Base price $88,800 (as tested: $90,500)
Displacement 5.0-liter
Engine type 32-valve supercharged V-8
Epa mileage rating 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 21.7 gal.
Horsepower (net) 470 at 6000 rpm
Overall length 206.6 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 424 at 2500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger full-size RWD sedan
Wheelbase 124.3 in.
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