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2005 Jaguar XJ Photo
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When’s the last time you slipped into a size-larger shirt and looked more dashing for the change?

That’s the mean feat Jaguar has accomplished with its new trio of long-wheelbase XJ8 sedans. Five inches longer than the shorties they follow onto the market by a year, the “LWB” models also sit slightly taller and just 53 pounds more than the stock short-wheelbase XJs. Yes, they’re bigger, but amazingly their new size comes virtually penalty-free.

The plus-sized XJ lineup includes three models. The XJ8 long-wheelbase is $63,495, priced just $2000 more than the standard XJ8 and, Jaguar points out, $10,500 cheaper than BMW’s V-8, long-wheelbase 745Li. Powered by the 294-hp Jaguar 4.2-liter V-8 and hitched to a creamy six-speed automatic gearbox, the XJ8 L wears 18-inch wheels and a new grille insert so you can tell the difference between it and the shorter car.

On this and all the LWB models, the five additional inches and four-tenths of an inch gain in height seems seamless, but compared side-by-side, give the XJ a longer, more elegant silhouette and scads more rear-seat room. If you care to opt up to the $70,995 Vanden Plas, you’ll get the same powertrain but graceful touches like Rapier-style wheels (19-inchers are optional), heated steering wheel and wood-and-chrome business trays built into the front seatbacks.

The $89,995 Super V8 is the long-wheelbase stunner: in addition to its 390-hp supercharged engine, it boasts 19-inch wheels, a handsome mesh grille, a power-reclining rear seat, xenon headlamps, a multimedia system with twin screens mounted in the front-seat headrests, and adaptive cruise control. Jaguar proudly points out that the Super V8 sold in the States will retail for $10,500 less than BMW’s 745Li.

Lengthy and weighty discussion

2005 Jaguar XJ Super V8

2005 Jaguar XJ Super V8

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Jaguar’s decision to craft the new XJ from aluminum reaps big benefits in its biggest sedan — and strikes a marked contrast with its aluminum kindred. At just 53 pounds heavier than the standard XJ8, the 3777-lb XJ8 L is substantially lighter than the 4399-lb Audi A8L, and predictably, the steel-bodied, 4872-lb BMW 760Li.
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