2011 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged: The Hottest Cat on the Road | Rumble Seat by Dan Neil – WSJ.com

27 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2011 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged: The Hottest Cat on the Road | Rumble Seat by Dan Neil – WSJ.com
Jaguar XJ

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I clearly remember the moment nearly one year ago when I first laid eyes on Jaguar’s new XJ sedan, and felt as though I’d been impaled on some gorgeous aluminum tusk. What a fantastic looking automobile. On any aesthetic scale you’d care to calibrate—modernity, chic, formal grace, raw carnality—this thing simply obliterates the competition, just grinds their bones.

Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of Bavarians.

WSJ’s Rumble Seat columnist Dan Neil gives you a look at Jaguar’s XJ, which he says could be bought on looks alone. But besides aesthetics, the XJ boasts technology and sophistication equal to its German counterparts.

It does. Actually, it’s a monster. Hugely civilized, desperately fast, drenched in high-tech amenities and executed with the kind of spirit and joie de vivre than makes the competitive German products look positively Amish, the new Jag is now the presumptive favorite in the full-size premium sedan category.

Put another way: If you buy anything else you need a dog and a white cane.

Of course, Jaguar—a relatively small firm and a veritable fountain of red ink, now owned by the Indian conglomerate Tata—does not have the engineering resources of Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz. BMW probably has 100 engineers working on coin holders and glove-box dampers. The Jag doesn’t offer the tomorrow tech of the Lexus LS600h hybrid.

The XJ’s lusty 5.0-liter V8s—naturally aspirated (385 horsepower) or supercharged (470 hp or 510 hp)—are not quite as highly evolved as BMW’s twin-turbo powerplants, nor does the car offer as many forward gears as the eight-speed 7-series (the Jag has only six gears). I suppose in a five-way geek-off comparing the cars’ navigation and multimedia consoles, the Jag’s might not be quite as intuitive and refined.

Jaguar XJ

If these small, technical matters are dispositive for you, then I urge you to get out of the house more often. The new XJ—I particularly like the long-wheelbase version (206.6 inches overall length, 5 inches longer than the standard-wheelbase car)—is a brilliant automobile and the rare example of a consumer item that reaches beyond design into art.

Here’s a quick styling walkaround. The most pronounced element of the car is its rakish, coupe-like silhouette, which is a function of where the roofline lands on the rear deck. The car is almost a four-door fastback.

The blacked-out rear pillars also have the effect of making the backlight, aka the rear window, look like a wraparound piece. The roof of the car is likewise almost completely black glass, flowing into the black surround of the windshield. And all of this provides a contrasting backdrop for the body-colored roof rails and the car’s most heroic design flourish, the elongated chrome ellipse reaching around the side windows, a dramatic teardrop of mercury.

There were moments I wanted to kiss this section of the car, or take it home and throw it in bed with me.

Inside the Jaguar XJ

Hugely civilized, desperately fast and drenched in high-tech amenities, the new Jaguar XJ is now the presumptive favorite in the full-size premium sedan category. Here’s a closer look.

Jaguar XJ
Jaguar XJ
Jaguar XJ
Jaguar XJ
Jaguar XJ
Jaguar XJ
Jaguar XJ
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