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2011 Jaguar XJ Review

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2011 Jaguar XJ

See Also: Jaguar Buyers Guide
See Also: E-Carmony: Is The 2011 Jaguar XJ Your Perfect Match?



by Marty Bernstein, Senior Editor
The Auto Channel Detroit Bureau

Jaguar, one of the preeminent British Motorcar companies, built its worldwide reputation with the introduction of several now classic sports and racecars. These iconic vehicles combined innovative styling with world class performance during the brand’s halcyon days. Starting in the 80’s, the Jaguar brand then owned by Ford, was expanded but with the introduction of the S-Series a few year ago, this sedan of dubious distinction, damaged the brand’s reputation almost irreparably.

The 90’s and earlier this century found the venerable cat, less than impressive. Lack luster designs, combined with some odd platform engineering and components resulted in a brand with no identity that had appeared to have lost its way. As a result, a generation of luxury car buyers turned their attention away from Jag and its rich tradition.

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But with its new owner, Tata Motors of India came a dynamic resurgence.

The lost and wayward cat found a new and better home along with an infusion of cash but more importantly to the brand, a rejuvenated enthusiasm toward vehicle design, quality and performance. The results are quite impressive. JD Powers recent quality study ranked Jaguar in the Top Five brands for quality an exceptional turnaround.

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The new 2011 Jaguar XJ luxury sedan is a triumphant return to the innovative styling and world class performance that propelled Jaguar back in its halcyon days. Sleek, sporting and sophisticated, the all-new Jaguar XJ brings a daring new spirit to automotive luxury. The all-new XJ is the epitome of fluid, contemporary automotive style.

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The elongated teardrop shape defines the look of distinctive elegance and makes this the most dynamic contemporary aerodynamic Jag ever. The great profile cloaks a cabin with comparable levels of space to sedans with a more conventional style. From the moment the door closes quietly and seals off the outside world, both driver and passengers are surrounded by all the trappings of luxury you’d expect in the finest homes, er mansions. In keeping with its status as the ultimate four-door Jaguar, the XJ’s harmonious colors and luxurious materials are used to establish a relaxed ambiance for driver and passengers.
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I particularly liked the dashboard display of speedometer and odometer – there’s no need for bifocals to read the numbers and even with polarized sunglasses everything was sharp. The center console is easy to use and read, especially the drive selection knob.

There is room for five occupants – a bit tight in the rear seats – but the long wheelbase models provide more than enough room with an additional 5 inches of rear legroom. A panoramic glass roof, standard on all models, dramatically enhances the sense of light and space inside the all-new XJ.

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There’s a new generation of interior technologies, with cutting edge use of display and infotainment systems such as innovative virtual gauges via a 12-inch TFT screen, rather than conventional gauges and the 1,200-watt, 20-speaker, audiophile-level Bowers & Wilkins sound system.

At the heart of the all-new XJ’s construction is a unique lightweight vehicle architecture primarily using aluminum but also utilizing magnesium and composite alloys. This produces a significantly lighter and stiffer body with improved strength, top refinement and advanced safety performance.

The all-new XJ delivered a memorable a driving experience as a journalist partner and I drove the paved boulevards of Beverly Hills and the twists and turns of Mulholland Canyon Drive then down the PCH past Malibu to a winery for lunch during the recent media introduction. The six speed automatic with paddle shifters was smooth as silk, even when pushed and pushed hard.

Shifting to the various driving and suspension modes – air suspension on the rear wheels -- on the fly was quick and responsive delivering driving dynamics with the refined, supple ride expected from a luxury Jaguar. And the XJ does turn heads even in celebrity and car obsessed California, especially in Lalaland.

The all-new XJ offers the choice of three powerful, refined engines the 385 hp, the XJ's 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8 offers fantastic performance, though acceleration improves with the XJ Supercharged model's 470 hp engine. Topping the range will be the limited-production XJ Supersport, with 510 hp, netting 0-60 mph acceleration in just 4.7 seconds. This is a sedan with the heart and the power of a sports car. Pure Jaguar.

And just to make the XJ ownership experience even better, Jaguar has instituted a unique customer car program on the XJ and all other Jaguar’s. Called Platinum Coverage customer care will give Jag owners an outstanding vehicle warranty coverage and an amazing maintenance plan. The 5-year/50,000 mile warranty covers all complimentary scheduled maintenance including, yes including no-cost replacement of select wear and tear components (oil changes, filters, brakes pads, brake discs, brake fluids and wiper blades) and 24/7 roadside assistance.

The MSRP’s of the new XJ’s range start at $72,500 and rise to $115,000. Forget the ASPCA, this big cat is only available at your local Jaguar dealer and once behind the wheel, this kitty will definitely make you purr. Michael Bernstein contributed to this review.