It's too early to tell if the 2011 Jaguar XJ will sport a perfect safety record. So far, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested the new sedan.
We're giving credit here to the XJ's stout aluminum construction, which is essentially the same as the structure of the Boeing 767 we flew to Los Angeles to drive the new XJ. Bonded and riveted aluminum makes for a very, very strong passenger cell.
The structure's basic goodness is amplified by a good complement of safety equipment. The new car also sports six airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, as before. The new XJ’s stability control loosens its apron strings a bit when the car’s Dynamic mode is chosen.
There's a blind-spot alert system built into each XJ--a blinking light in the side mirrors that alerts you when cars approach in side lanes. Adaptive cruise control is option. However, Jaguar doesn't frip around with electronics that steer you back in your lane, or e-spresso cups that grab your attention when you wander on the road in a tired stupor. Each car does have a rearview camera, though--which helps mitigate the XJ's somewhat dodgy visibility to the rear.