The 2011 Jaguar XJ sedan is on its way to the U.S., seven years after the current, traditionally styled XJ first brought its radical aluminum-aerospace body and stuffy styling to market. Since then, Jaguar’s been sold by Ford to India’s Tata, but progress continues, particularly with this new range-topping sedan. Available in short- and long-wheelbase form, the 2010 XJ will be offered with three V-8 powertrains and four models (XJ, XJL, Supercharged and SuperSport) and likely will span a price range from $65,000 to more than $100,000 when it goes on sale early next year.
There’s not much to prepare the unprepared for the 2010 XJ’s new avant-garde silhouette. The 2004 XJ bore a striking resemblance to, of all things, a Buick LeSabre. The new version’s part Aston Rapide, part Jaguar XF, with some kinky details highlighting (or spoiling) its drawn-long shape. All the upright lines are discarded for a low, sleek roofline; fenders swell along curvaceous lines like the 2007 XK coupe and convertible and vertical taillamps get LED lighting. It’s a bold reimagination of the XJ—a clever one too, since the car sits on an identical wheelbase and is only marginally longer and wider. Three details stand out: the D-pillar that’s blacked out to create a floating-roof look jars the shape, disturbing its elegance more than enhancing it. Maybe if it’s eventually stripped bare and polished smooth down to its aluminum, it’ll fit. The second detail is a massive glass sunroof that opens the XJ cabin to light. Inside, Jaguar promises all that transparency gives the transformed interior a modern, informed look. From photos it’s easy to agree: the bubbled-up air vents, the pop-up transmission controller and wide bands of wood on the doors and dash distill the swinging-British look to near perfection. A leather headliner, upgraded leather seats and laser-inlaid wood trim and new custom trim options will bring the opulence factor to new levels, Jaguar says. Finally, a new dash panel without traditional dials uses a large high-definition screen to display all the usual gauge functions, while also changing colors subtly to indicate performance driving modes with a soft red glow.