The 2008 Jaguar XJ's performance meets with resounding approval from reviewers across the Web.
All 2008 XJ models are equipped with a 4.2-liter, 32-valve V-8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This version of the engine makes 300 horsepower, and is found in both the short- and long-wheelbase XJ8, as well as in the swankier Vanden Plas model. However, adding the forced induction of a supercharger bumps the horsepower up to 400, and that's exactly what Jaguar did for the upper-range XJR and Super V8 models. The supercharged version sprints to 60 mph in just 5 seconds. ConsumerGuide finds that "Off the line, non-supercharged models feel as quick as the Super V8. Super V8s are noticeably stronger over 40 mph, despite an occasional delay in throttle response. All are fast enough for most any need." Even the bottom-tier XJ8 needs just 6.5 seconds to travel from 0-60. Car and Driver admires the Jaguar’s "powerful and sonorous V-8 engines.”
TheCarConnection.com did read some minor complaints about Jaguar’s unique J-gate shifter, but the gearbox’s performance was lauded. Cars.com calls the six-speed automatic "excellent." However, Car and Driver says, "It would be nice if the car would step off in first gear more often," rather than starting from a stop in second gear.
The 2008 Jaguar XJ fares reasonably well at the gas pump for such a large, powerful four-door. EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy is 16/25 mpg, according to Kelley Blue Book, which lists the supercharged models at 15/22 mpg. ConsumerGuide reports that in its testing, "XJ8s averaged 15-18.3 mpg, XJ8 L 18.4 in mostly highway driving," the "Vanden Plas models averaged 19.7-20.1 mpg" on the highway, the Super V8s "averaged 19.3-20.6 mpg," and all models require premium-grade gas.
When it comes to handling, however, the Jaguar XJ receives almost unanimous praise. Car and Driver reports that the big Jaguar "wafts serenely down the road" and "dances over the road instead of clobbering it like the German competition." ConsumerGuide reports "good grip in turns with little cornering lean," and adds, "Steering is somewhat light but linear." Edmunds praises the Jaguar XJ for its "confident handling, a plush ride and cat-quick performance," adding that the XJR includes "quicker steering" and "more aggressively tuned air suspension." Kelley Blue Book chimes in, stating that the 2008 Jaguar "is solid, secure and serene, with great higher-speed control and an appropriately smooth ride that's completely in character with this car's image." However, they add that the 20-inch wheels and aggressive performance tires found on the XJR and Super V8 models (XJ8 models get 18-inch wheels) "upgrade ultimate handling but also somewhat diminish the luxurious, soft ride of the base XJ." ConsumerGuide finds the four-wheel ventilated disc brakes "strong and sure." XJR and Super V8 models get bigger brakes with more stopping power to rein in their additional supercharged horses.
TheCarConnection.com found words like "serene" and "stately" used in more than one review of the 2008 Jaguar XJ. Edmunds writes, "This car is, quite defiantly, not an Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Lexus or Mercedes." And maybe that's the whole point.