The current Jaguar XJ has been around since 2009, but the XJ moniker enjoys a rich history dating back to 1968 when the XJ Series I was introduced. The car has undergone several transformations throughout the years, including a departure from the “Series type” Jags to the more modern-style cars in the mid-1990s. The XJs have always been revered for their English posh yet scoffed for their reliability. As the 2010s continue to roll forward, Jaguar is working feverishly to repeal that notion and replace it with one of pure luxury and sport.

Cars like the F-Type and upcoming 2017 XE sedan are posing darn good arguments for Jaguar’s positive brand reputation, as do the witty advertisements concerning the art of villainy. But how well does the XJ hold up its promise of luxury?

I recently spent a week with an XJ — the long wheelbase version to be exact. The lengthened limo came powered with the 3.0-liter, supercharged V-6 and fitted with all-wheel drive. A mere trio of options meant the car was nearly in its base form, perfect for evaluating the car’s entry-level sophistication. So how does the 2015 XJL hold up? Hit the jump to find out.

Click past the jump for the full review

  • 2015 Jaguar XJL - Driven
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    eight-speed auto
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    340
  • MPG(Cty):
    16
  • MPG(Hwy):
    24
  • Torque @ RPM:
    332
  • Energy:
    supercharged
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.1 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    121 mph
  • Layout:
    Front engine; All Wheel Drive
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

TopSpeed Garage


Exterior

2015 Jaguar XJL - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Jaguar XJL - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Jaguar XJL - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Adaptive headlights and intelligent high beams grace the Jag’s nose and are an $850 option.

The Jaguar XJL is a beautiful car. Its stately appearance is accented by the chrome wire-mesh grille with purposeful slanted headlights, a long hood, and its wonderfully shaped sloping roofline. That sloping rear roofline, especially at the blacked-out C-pillars is perhaps my favorite area of the car. I love the way it blends into the trunk and flows downward via the waterfall taillights. It really is a stunning design.

The stretched wheelbase adds an extra 5.1 inches of room for the rear-seat passenger and extends the car’s length to an impressive 17 feet, 2.8 inches. Despite the extra length, the Jag drives smaller than it looks.

Adaptive headlights and intelligent high beams grace the Jag’s nose and are an $850 option. The systems work extremely well in illuminating the road. The high-beam assist is accurate in discerning cars from other light sources and the swiveling feature keeps the light pointed in the direction of movement when rounding corners. What’s more, bright spotlights shine sideways when the wheel is cranked over or the turn signal is used.

Interior

2015 Jaguar XJL - Driven Interior
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2015 Jaguar XJL - Driven Interior
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2015 Jaguar XJL - Driven High Resolution Interior
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Leg and hip room are more than generous and headroom is surprisingly spacious, despite the sloping roofline.

The main story of luxury is here in the cabin of the XJL. The driver is treated to a fantastic set of controls; every button, knob, lever, and switch feels rich and well thought out. The instrument cluster is fully digital and allows for some areas of customization. The HVAC controls are simple and easy to operate without having to dig through menus on the infotainment screen. Speaking of which, the software is typical Jaguar Land Rover and is identical to the setup in my previous Range Rover testers. It’s not the most straightforward system out there, but it gets the job done and is relatively easy to learn.

Thanks to the $800 option, the front seats spoil occupants with a massage feature. Heating and cooling come standard, even in the rear seats. An almost infinite number of power adjustments for the front seats offer a just-right placement and the power steering column gets the heated wheel in just the right place.

Rear-seat passengers are treated to copious amounts of room in every direction. Leg and hip room are more than generous and headroom is surprisingly spacious, despite the sloping roofline. Rear HVAC and seat controls are easy to operate but do require leaning forward to reach them on the back of the front center console. Side window shades keep the sun and paparazzi out. The massive moonroof also comes with power shades. Every inch of the cabin that’s not covered in wood is graced with soft leather backed by padding. The interior comes alive at night with blue illumination everywhere.

Powertrain

2015 Jaguar XJL - Driven Drivetrain
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A quick click of Dynamic Mode makes throttle response more hastened and the traction control less intrusive.

Under my tester’s hood came the supercharged, 3.0-liter V-6 making 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic with its rotary shifting dial. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters bring a sporty control to the gearbox, and all-wheel-drive helped with control under heavy throttle and in low-traction conditions.

Despite the lengthened Jag’s 4,151-pound curb weight, the V-6 does a good job at getting it moving; sixty comes in 6.1 seconds. But drag racing isn’t the Jag’s thing. Rather it’s moving very rapidly across vast stretches of open highway. The top speed is listed at 121 mph and the car drives like that’s very obtainable. Moving at 80 mph feels like 60. Passing power is also quite surprising, as the eight-speed auto is able to downshift without hesitation and ready the free-revving V-6 for launch.

Jaguar includes a few electronic aides to assist in power delivery. Upon start-ups, the car enters normal mode. A quick click of Dynamic Mode makes throttle response more hastened and the traction control less intrusive. The transmission also has a sport mode for putting an edge on the shift patterns. A Winter Mode keeps the throttle nice and mushy while locking in second gear starts. Traction control is defeatable, though the AWD system keeps things in line.

Driving Impressions

2015 Jaguar XJL - Driven Interior
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Body roll is well managed and steering inputs are well received by the front tires.

Driving the XJL is a unique experience. Few cars share the same isolated, cocooned feel the Jaguar provides. Road and wind noise are nearly non-existent, vibrations from uneven pavement are quelled to a subtle tingle, and bumps are soaked up with little fuss. The V-6’s exhaust can be heard on hard acceleration, helping establish the car’s somewhat sporty attributes. There was a chink in the Jag’s armor in this department, however, as the Stop-Start function of the V-6 interrupted the quiet cabin with vibrations from each hard restart. I ended up turning the function off in heavy traffic.

Moving down the road was uneventful. Body roll is well managed and steering inputs are well received by the front tires. Braking is smooth and the pedal feel is linear. The car manages itself well for its weight.

While the interior was beautiful in its design, the bright-chrome accents around the cabin are great at reflecting harsh sunlight into eyeballs. The center console’s trim piece was especially troubling. At one point, I even covered it with the microfiber cloth I always keep in my camera bag. Polarized sunglasses were no match.

Price

2015 Jaguar XJL - Driven Emblems and Logo Exterior
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While a standard-wheelbase XJ can be had for $74,200, the long wheelbase starts at $81,200. Adding AWD adds another $3,500 to the sticker. My XJL Portfolio came packaged with the Front seat massage ($800), the Illumination Package ($1,700), and the Visibility Package that included the adaptive front headlights and high beam assist ($850).

Tack on the $925 destination fee and the total comes to $88,975.

Competition

BMW 7 Series

2013 BMW 7-Series High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The 7 Series is a popular choice for opulent luxury for several reasons, not the least of which is BMW’s perfected plan of retaining customers and promoting them upward through models. Start them in a 3 Series with that first good job and let them retire driving a 7. Besides that, the car itself offers plenty of class and upscale features. It offers no less than four powertrains, including a diesel and hybrid version. Like the Jag, the car comes in the standard and long wheelbase versions.

Pricing for the 7 Series starts at $74,000, but a comparable model to my tester starts at $81,000 before options.

Mercedes S-Class

2015 Mercedes S-Class Coupe High Resolution Exterior
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The S-Class is one big bundle of technology, luxury, and power. Even the base engine scoots the long car to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. Then again, that “base” engine is a twin-turbo, 4.7-liter V-8. The S-Class’ interior is class leading, both in terms of outright luxury and sophisticated technology — not to mention looks. For those looking for more power, a 6.0-liter, twin-turbo V-12 is offered, as is a 5.5-liter, twin-turbo V-8.

Pricing starts at $94,400 and can quickly exceed $222,000 for the top-dog S65 AMG equipped with the twin-turbo V-12.

Conclusion

2015 Jaguar XJL - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Overall the Jaguar XJL Portfolio performed admirably. Its ride and handling are superbly docile and compliant without being mushy while its supercharged powerplant provides enough kick to get the aluminum-intensive car moving. But however great its luxurious interior is, its competitors outmatch it in sales by quite a large margin. Jaguar has a lot to prove, but with the recent success of the F-Type and the upcoming XE sedan, things might be turning around for the automaker.

  • Leave it
    • Interior chrome reflects sunlight
    • Smallish trunk
    • Competition outsells it
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