Reviewers used words like "serene" and "stately" to describe the Jaguar XJ—which aren't necessarily a positive for performance.
The naturally aspirated 4.2-liter, 32-valve V-8 engine in the 2009 Jaguar XJ8 makes 300 horsepower; the engine also propels the swankier Vanden Plas model. 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 five seconds. ConsumerGuide finds, "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.”
All 2009 XJ models feature a six-speed automatic transmission, but TheCarConnection.com reads some minor complaints about Jaguar’s unique J-gate shifter. 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. Cars.com calls the six-speed automatic "excellent."
At the gas pump, the EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy for the 2009 Jaguar XJ at 16/25 mpg. According to Kelley Blue Book, the supercharged models come in at 15/22 mpg. ConsumerGuide notes that all XJ models require premium fuel.
In the handling department, the 2009 Jaguar XJ receives almost unanimous praise. ConsumerGuide reports "good grip in turns with little cornering lean," and "Steering is somewhat light but linear." Car and Driver comments that the big Jaguar "wafts serenely down the road" and "dances over the road instead of clobbering it like the German competition." 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 2009 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 observe 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.