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- Beautiful shape
- Elegant interior design
- Very good standard features
- Great warranty
- Efficient and smooth V-6
- Somewhat cramped interior
- No hybrid powertrain
- Not a huge performance gap between V-6 and V-8
The 2017 Jaguar XJ carries forward the luxury banner from the British automaker in a way that we appreciate—swaddled in leather, massaged all the way.
The 2017 Jaguar XJ is the British automaker's flagship luxury sedan, even as the company steers toward German competitors. It's largely unchanged from the year before it, which should be good news for any fan of the striking shape.
Its extensive use of lightweight aluminum means that it's more nimble, even if it doesn't offer the same number of high-performance options as competitors from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, or even Audi. The XJ is offered in short- or long-wheelbase versions starting at the V-6-powered XJ R-Sport, and up to the V-8-powered XJ Supercharged or XJR. All-wheel drive is available on V-6 models.
The Jaguar XJ earns a very good 7.4 overall score on our scale, which reflects its supreme luxury and relatively competitive fuel economy. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Styling and performance
The XJ cuts a stunning profile on the roads thanks to its sleek shape and blacked-out pillars that make its glass look impossibly large. The die for the XJ was cast way back in 2009, but the same shape is still a head-turner today. An update in 2015 revised the front end and interior, and from most angles the XJ is impossibly pretty.
Inside the Jaguar is opulent—bordering on gaudy. Everything is bathed in chrome and leather, and the long arc of the dash visually ties together wood panels and leather in a memorable way. The XJ hasn't yet adopted the starker interiors of newer Jaguars—and we think its better for it.
Under the hood of base sedans is a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that makes 340 horsepower teamed to an 8-speed automatic. The XJ's copious sound insulation keeps most of the V-6's gruff vibrations at bay, and at less than six seconds to 60 mph it's a brisk performer too. All-wheel drive helps the V-6 keep surer footing on wet or icy roads, shuffling power from back to front, up to 50/50 split.
The optional 5.0-liter V-8 gives the XJ more athletic performance and comes in two tunes. The 470-hp XJ Supercharged makes the sprint up to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, or the high-po XJR can shave a half second further from there. Both V-8 models come with an active rear differential that keeps power in place, but all-wheel drive is kept to V-6 versions only.
In most respects, the XJ is smooth riding and fairly unfussy. While other models offer more performance customization, the Jag keeps it fairly simple, predictable, and pure.
Comfort, safety, and features
Despite its long wheelbase and large road presence, the XJ is snug for a full-size luxury sedan. Front-seat riders won't mind: standard heated and ventilated hides coddle driver and passenger, and optional seat massage systems are a great way to spend a long day in traffic.
In the back, the sleek roofline and gorgeous shape cut a check that passengers will have to cash. Rear-seat leg room is fine for a sedan (much better in the long-wheelbase version that adds more than 5 inches between the tires) but rear head room is at a premium thanks to space wasted by the roof line. Fitting three abreast in the back isn't ideal either—just take me home alone, Jeeves.
The cavernous 18.4-cubic-foot trunk is large enough for plenty of custom-made luggage.
Like most cars in its class, the Jaguar XJ doesn't have a set of crash data from federal testers or the IIHS. We're confident that the lightweight, aluminum car will hold its own should push come to crunch, but we'd advise keeping the pretty shape in once piece if you can, please. A standard complement of airbags and stability control systems are present, as are standard blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control is optional, and pretty pricey at more than $1,500.
Starting at more than $75,000 all told, the Jaguar XJ is well equipped. All cars are equipped with dual-zone climate control, 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, a 12.3-inch instrument cluster, an 8.0-inch infotainment display with an 825-watt 17-speaker Meridian stereo, keyless ignition, Bluetooth, panoramic sunroof, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather heated and ventilated front and rear seats, power adjustable front seats, and soft closing doors.
Stepping up in models and wheelbase size adds more creature comforts like softer leather, bigger wheels, or sportier suspension setups and aggressive body work. The XJ is lavishly equipped for most of us, but one-percenters may notice that it doesn't offer the same number of customization features as the Germans.
Most models of the XJ will manage around 20 mpg combined, according to the EPA. Unlike Mercedes-Benz or BMW, there's no hybrid powertrain available, and Jaguar hasn't said if a diesel-powered XJ would ever make its way to the States.