2011 Jaguar XJ: First Drive

21 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2011 Jaguar XJ: First Drive
Jaguar XJ

2011 Jaguar XJ: First

This is the 2011 Jaguar XJ. It nothing like the XJ that before it, or the XJ that came that. Its interior is a temple to the shiny.

Is this what needs to move forward?

Disclosure: Jaguar flew me to Los and put me up in a very nice hotel so I could bring you this While in L.A. I drove a Top Gear USA set and listened to Pulitzer journalist Dan Neil play and sing Neil Young in a bar. One of these activities three CHP officers to palm guns and give me the stink

I’ll leave it to you to figure out

I once spent an afternoon around L.A. with Fisker, the Danish designer for the Aston Martin DB9 and most of the BMW Z8. an interesting, laid-back kind of and he has a reputation for being both and outspoken. I was in town to drive one of his products. but we spent enough together that our conversation to other subjects.

At one point, in traffic on the 405, we got to talking Aston Martin, Jaguar, design, and the notion of inescapable Fisker, eloquent man that he is, something like this:

has spent the past three scared of its own shadow, and that is the E-type. The company has the power to do things, but it has to get its confidence back.

At the — Jag was still owned by Ford, the XK had just launched, and most journalists thought a capital-T was something you tipped extra for in a club — this statement to neatly wrap up Coventry’s Now, with all due respect to it seems just a tad off the mark. The XKE may be the brick in Jaguar’s sexiness but it hasn’t kept the company in the past for three decades.

That honor lies the XJ, the firm’s large sedan.

For years, this car looked a way. Now it looks entirely as if a Maserati Quattroporte was somehow with the ghost of David and a pair of Victoria Beckham’s Taken in isolation, the dichotomy is a spooky.

This is a good

. And Now For Something Completely Different

this year, there but three versions of the Jaguar XJ. The was introduced in 1968, carried a of Jaguar’s XK straight six — the same that powered the XK120 and — and looked like the world’s bad-… tea cake. The second was in 1986 and kind of looked the first; thanks to repeated it lasted until 2003.

The an aluminum-bodied wonder that like a bloated version of the (or is that the first?), bowed in and left us last year.

And now we this.

The XJ was redesigned because the who run Jaguar are not stupid, and because have, at long last, some balls. The company’s base is graying faster the heat-lamp meat at an Old Country and its traditional demographic — the man or woman who the marque’s 1950-1985 golden age — is to age out of the market. Just 1161 XJs sold in the United States year, and 2452 the year that.

Even for a low-production sedan, these are not the kind of you build a future on.

As the XJ has remained in many peoples’ eyes, so too has — Mike O’Driscoll, Managing Jaguar Cars

Along lines, consider the words of GM executive Semon Bunkie You can sell a young man’s car to an old he once said, but you cannot an old man’s car to a young man. the 2011 XJ, Jaguar has built a young man’s car.

The obvious basics, to coin a are obvious: The beltline is up; the roofline is The quad-light, humped-fender nose — a that dated back to the XJ — is gone, replaced by a rectangular maw and two eye-shaped headlamps.

Regardless of paint color you choose, the C-pillars are painted black; Ian the car’s designer, claims the black paint provides an unbroken collar underneath the roof. (This treatment can a little choppy and polarizing in daylight; one journalist on the L.A. commented that the pillars the car look like it had been from old Legos by a drunken We have no comment on the matter the following: Where were we in when they were out the booze?)

The rest of the Jaguar’s are less divisive. From the sweeping arcs and clean remind you of most Audis. the rear, swooping taillights and trunk make the car look French.

At the front, you notice the two xenon refelectors in each a design cue shared with the XF and the XJ. And then you take a step and the whole thing kind of It looks British, it looks and while it occasionally seems a bit it looks modern.

Details, Details

The obligatory section of detail statements begins The XJ’s riveted-and-bonded aluminum shares a floor structure the previous car but boasts a claimed 11 more torsional stiffness. The new car is by almost two inches but sports a wider track. Two wheelbases (XJ and the latter offers five inches of rear-seat space) and engines (5.0-liter V-8s, naturally aspirated or supercharged, hp) are available.

Base price ranges $72,500 to $115,000. The XJ’s are shared with Jaguar’s XF; the quick ZF steering rack and active differential (found on 510-hp, or Supersport, models) are from the XFR. A six-speed is standard.

One more thing: aluminum is aluminum and progress is the XJ is relatively light. The naturally short-wheelbase model checks in at 4045 pounds. This is hundred pounds lighter the aluminum-bodied 2011 Audi A8 or the Quattroporte. (Random apples-to-oranges point: That number puts the XJ lighter than a GT-R or Ferrari 599 GTB.

not to love?) Correction: The 3870-pound weight is for the European XJ, not the U.S.

Inside: All That Glitters is Black

This is where get a bit weird. The XJ’s interior is an odd of continental disco, high high finish, low finish, English style, self-conscious English style, twee cool retro touches, and the of Robbie Williams’s jacket.

A thin-film-transistor (TFT) screen as the gauge cluster, offering up the of a set of analog instruments. As on the XF, both the map lights and the glovebox use proximity — just wave your in front to actuate — for switching/opening Everything from climate to seat heating is handled a central touch screen.

JaguarDrive Selector rotary is used to operate the transmission.

The inside no longer looks an ancient English drawing Minus: The inside no longer like an ancient English room.

The Good:

Fantastically round eyeball vents pop out of the which sits beneath the beltline and looks like built a leather-lined dance in the world’s hippest sinkhole. side glass and enough deadening to silence an H-… that you hear little of the world, even at triple-digit Piano-black trim and chrome — plastic, but occasionally metal — is and it heightens the sense of occasion.

Both front and rear are impossibly comfortable. Build appears to be impressive. The whole feels special.

The Unfortunate:

parts of the interior — the chrome, for — feel shockingly inexpensive. The black shows dirt and you of the bathroom walls in the last [redacted] bar you were in. The central screen is painfully slow; I no programming training whatsoever, and I teach myself to write in Farsi in the time it takes to the stereo volume.

The glovebox, as on XF I’ve ever driven, did not easily and quickly — the proximity rarely worked on proximity often required anywhere a one- to five-second touch, and refused to work at all. And the 20-speaker, 1200-watt Bowers + audio system, which clear, warm, and punchy in the XF, was and cold in the two XJs I tested.

Still Still Nimble, Still a

Whether cranking down a road or gliding up a freeway, the XJ works: It feels comforting and cosseting and crisp. In short, a Jaguar. The steering is delicate, and offers gobs of feedback but low on-center effort. The standard air sports electronically adjustable and a remarkable amount of travel; the XJ to hang with smaller, machinery, and it begs you to beat on it.

You the Jaguar’s size in tight but the excess of real estate becomes a hassle. (Disclaimer: The I attended did not have the full XJ available for test; I was given the to drive everything except and Supersport models.) All of the available spit out a subtle, expensive-sounding supercharger whine barely into the cockpit; and the steering up nicely at speed.

We became overly focused on and we lost touch with our Building sporting fast — Mike O’Driscoll

Jaguar XJ

Behind the a few things are immediately noticeable: The XJ’s exceedingly coddling is gone, replaced by a significantly approach that offers in the way of body roll in normal The velvety brake feel of XJs is also absent; the massive discs are slightly grabby, they do offer pleasingly pedal travel. Thankfully, the sporting blood found in other Jaguar — that get-funky-on-a-mountain-road je ne sais quoi good, you moneyed freak, dance feeling — is still

Whither the old-school cosmetic Traditionalists may mourn the loss of the and conservative Olde English approach, but from a philosophical that tack isn’t Jaguar. It’s worthwhile to that the cars from golden era — the SS100, the XK120, the the ’68 XJ — pushed boundaries and nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake.

Sir Lyons. the company’s founder and the man who every Jag save the XJ-S and the believed in the notion of sensible, progress. He believed that mattered, but that revolution was The car you see here may not please everyone, but that’s not the point.

Is the XJ a fully end-all answer to Jaguar’s needs? Is it perfect? Will it the company’s sales and demographic No, maybe, and only time tell. Regardless, it’s a good step in the right and it’s a Jaguar.

In the end, things are all that matters.

Footnote: Bill Lyons Sez

On note, we’d like to a new semi-sort-of-kind-of-not-really-maybe-recurring Jalopnik feature, one been thinking about for time. This story the first (and maybe appearance of Bill Lyons Sez . we ask the ghost of Jaguar’s founder he thinks of various modern and luxury cars. (Yes, we a strong phone line to people, and no, you can’t borrow

Seem irrelevant? Of course Our patented Made-Up(tm) opinions bring perspective back to the of modern car reviews! For reference, is Mr.

Lyons’s take on both the XJ and its competitors, arranged in no particular We have been told he is not biased.

2011 Jaguar XJ: sez Bill.

2011 BMW 7-series: sez Bill.

2011 Audi A8: sez Bill.

2011 Maserati Rubbish, sez Bill.

2011 Martin Rapide: Bravo, sez but a bit posh for the trimmings.

2011 Continental Flying Spur: asks Bill, bemused, eventually harrumphing forth a Rubbish.

Fascinating stuff, What’s that? You’re and you’re kind of tired of No worries — thanks for your Say hi to Malcolm Sayer for us!

That’s it for installment of Bill Lyons Sez . in next week, when ask everyone’s favorite … automotive patriarch the following: it comes to English cultural which do you prefer: Spits or ?

Photo Credits: Branch/car, road/mountain, and gauge cluster courtesy Jaguar Cars America; all others Sam Smith/Jalopnik.

The curb weights initially were for the European XJ, not the U.S.-spec This is what I get for trusting a conference.

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