I’ve been behind the wheel of many luxury cars; Porsche’s, Mercs, Range Rovers, Cadillac’s Audi’s, BMW’s – you name it, I’ve probably driven it. However, it’s been quite some time since I have been in one of Britain’s automotive icons. If you were to take a look at Jaguar’s current (and may I add pricey) line-up of vehicles, you would understand the difficulties I had choosing my first test drive car from the luxury automotive manufacturer. I prefer to stay away from most brand’s “entry-level” cars, even though Jaguar’s version of this, the XF, appears to be anything but that, I opted to get acquainted with the pinnacle of Jaguar’s sedan portfolio, the 2015 XJL.
The XJ series has been knocking about since 1968 and most versions of the vehicle looked relatively the same until roughly 15 years ago when the Ian Callum designed model was first introduced. While many car enthusiasts may have mocked the vehicle’s new modern design, it truly marked the rebirth of the brand. I had my loaner, the long wheelbase version of the full size XJ, for about a week. Just long enough to get attached and not want to return it back to it’s rightful owners. With the standard edition starting in and around $89,490, mine was the base XJL with AWD starting around $96,490. If you’ve seen this car anywhere on the road, you are well aware of the intimidating length of it’s stately exterior. The standard version is big, approximately 17 ft, but this beauty had five more inches in both wheelbase and legroom, so you can only imagine the space in the rear. Unless your a Head of State living at 10 Downing Street or a British pop-star, chances are you won’t have the luxury of being chauffeured so you can experience the outstanding comfort of the rear cabin. But as a consolation prize, both the driver and passenger seats have it’s own luxurious perks. The centre stack features an 8-inch touchscreen that houses the vehicles’s infotainment system where you will find the Nav, climate and seat functions – heating, cooling and yes even massage options with five different programs and intensities. The latter without a doubt was the most welcome interior feature, that made long commutes in traffic much more bearable.
Other notable mentions that may have a consumer justify the sticker price; soft grain perforated leather seats, Meridian 825 watt surround sound system with 14 speakers including two subwoofers, blind spot monitors with Closing Vehicle Sensing and Reverse Traffic Detection via rear cam, soft grain heated steering wheel, rear coat hooks, electric rear window sun blinds and manual side sun blinds, JaguarDrive Control with winter and dynamic modes, rear air suspension, hydraulic power steering and much more.
So here’s the skinny, the XJL looks premium and drives super smooth but for those of you who geek out on more detailed power train info, you may be disappointed to learn the basic XJ only produces 340 hp and 332 lb/ft torque. I will admit, I was shocked when I discovered this however I had to kindly remind myself that this sedan isn’t intended to rival a 911 and does have many other visual and auditory pleasures for both the driver and passengers to enjoy. For those craving a bit more power, the next model in the line-up has a 470 hp supercharged 5.0 litre V8 engine and the XJR has a 550 hp supercharged V8 and can sprint to 100km/hr in just 4.6 seconds but brings with it a hefty price tag of $122,990. Also, the rear camera quality and the dated graphics in the infotainment system wasn’t exactly what I expected from a vehicle at this price point and doesn’t compare to the XTS, Cadillac’s luxury sedan, which is also equipped with 4G LTE wifi. The fuel economy was right around where I thought it would be and where ratings predicted at 14.7/9.6 per 100 ams (city/hwy). The XJ does come with Intelligent Stop/Start technology which turns off the vehicle when you’re stopped at lights or in traffic to help conserve some fuel, but I found myself wanting to turn off the option after all the stopping and starting during rush hour traffic. Plus, I think it’s safe to say that anyone who purchases a $100k + vehicle won’t really be concerned with these little savings.
Photography by Jillian Botting
That being said, the plush carpets, leather covered everything and copious amounts of wood trim made every single one of my passengers fall in love with the car almost immediately. And as someone who loves being behind the wheel, the AWD system and wheel mounted paddle shifters made this beautiful behemoth a pleasurable and engaging driving experience. To learn more about the XJ series and Jaguar’s portfolio of vehicles head to Jaguar.ca