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Shopping for a new Jaguar XJ?
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FEATURES | 9 out of 10
...Makes the competitive German products look positively Amish...
Wall Street Journal
...The 1,200-watt (15-channel) Bowers & Wilkins upgrade with 20 yellow-cone Kevlar speakers sprinkled throughout the cabin will surely send you straight to the otologist – yes, it sounds as good as it reads on paper.
The central touch screen is painfully slow; I have no programming training whatsoever, and I could teach myself to write code in Farsi in the time it takes to adjust the stereo volume.
Why not give the driver several gauge cluster designs to toggle among?
Car and Driver
...Ingenious, engaging and informative, advantages that more than make up for its faint aura of cheapness.
The XJ lineup has been simplified somewhat but includes a total of eight different models for 2015 when you consider different engines, trim levels, body lengths, and the available all-wheel-drive system.
Just as with the competition from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, the XJ spans a wide pricing range, from about $75k and past $120k for the top models.
Even on the "base" model, which is equipped with the 340-hp supercharged V-6, you get power features, dual-zone climate control, and pushbutton start, as well as navigation with voice control; an AM/FM/CD/DVD/MP3/HD/Sirius/30GB hard drive audio system; Bluetooth and a USB port; heated front seats; and a panoramic sunroof. All-wheel drive adds $3,500 to the price of a V-6 model.
The long-wheelbase XJL Portfolio adds some more equipment but keeps the same engine and optional all-wheel drive as the base XJ. Above that are the Supercharged and XJR models, both available in long-wheelbase form.
Jaguar offers a range of Meridian audio systems, and to our ears, they're purer and less punchy than the Bowers & Wilkins systems they replace, while saving power versus the old systems. The basic setup is a 380-watt package, with what Jaguar says is output that rivals its old 600-watt base system; an 825-watt system is standard on supercharged cars, while a 1,300-watt system with a total of 26 speakers is optional.
To keep the richest buyers coddled, the top versions of the XJ offer luxury packs with massaging rear seats, power rear seatbacks, heated and ventilated rear seats, and distinctive leather trim. Meanwhile, enthusiasts will be pleased with Speed and Sport & Speed packs that add red brake calipers and new 20-inch wheels, and adjust the speed limiter to allow a top speed of 174 mph.
If technology is one of the primary means by which you judge a luxury car, you should probably walk away from the XJ. It's missing the sorts of world-first tech options you'll find on rivals--and its infotainment and navigation systems are upstaged by vehicles costing a small fraction as much. Menus are hard to find and decipher, there's a delay between tapping the display and getting a result, and the overall experience is clunky.
That said, the XJ lineup will wow you in traditional ways, with unparalleled comfort, plush interior appointments, and stunning trims. The supple semi-aniline leather and real wood veneers go a long way; meanwhile heated front and rear seats, ventilated and massaging front seats, and ventilated rear seats are available on most versions. And with Jaguar's service plan paying for everything except gas and tires for the first five years or 50,000 miles, erasing that worry is an added luxury.
The touchscreen interface is a generation behind, but otherwise the XJ is fitted to a regal standard.