By on December 13, 2010

Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi are all parts of huge organizations with vast resources. When developing a new flagship sedan, they can finesse every last detail. (Whether they actually do so is another matter.) Though previously owned by Ford and now owned by Indian conglomerate Tata, Jaguar has had to make do with so much less that it’s almost a miracle it can field a contemporary large luxury sedan at all. And yet we have the new XJ.

To have a chance, a Jaguar must be beautiful. The new XJ passes this test. Though the new sedan bears no resemblance to the classic Series III, the spirit remains the same. While the tape measure will beg to differ, the new XJ looks much lower and sleeker than the German dreadnoughts, with proportions the Audi A8 can only dream of. The Jaguar’s black C-pillar applique doesn’t work—at all—but there are two easy fixes: paint it body color or buy a black car.

The new Jaguar XJ also goes its own way inside, with a gutsy blend of high-tech LCD displays and retro sports car styling. The latter lends the interior a warmth and sportiness absent from the Germans. Though some of the switches feel a touch cheap, the leather and wood are first-rate and a definite step up from the XF. Unfortunately, the LCD instrument display attempts to meld with the retro sports car vibe, and fails. Some video games manage more convincing digital representations of classic, chrome-ringed round instruments. Even if the display was convincing, why invest in a reconfigurable LCD panel, then employ it to mimic classic analog gauges?

The front seats fit like a glove, with relatively soft padding and curves that cosset in a way the Germans refuse to. It’s that warmth thing again, even in black. The rear seats are even more comfortable, at least in the two outboard positions. Thanks largely to its organic design, the cabin seems narrower than those in competing cars, but in the extended wheelbase model there’s legroom to spare—44.1 inches. Wooden fold-down tray tables are another nod to tradition, but it’s hard to imagine them being of much use. If there was a way to level them without the cooperation of the person in the front seat, I couldn’t find it.

In the recent past both Cadillac and Jaguar were scraping by with DOHC V8 engines well past their sell by dates. Jaguar somehow managed what GM could not, and developed a new V8—and at the same time ex-parent Ford was also developing a new V8. The entirely unrelated V8s both displace 5.0 liters. The Jaguar engine isn’t quite as strong or as smooth as the new Mustang mill, but is still quite good on both counts. Cars in this class keeping getting more and more powerful, but we’re not yet to the point where 385 horsepower seems—or feels—remotely weak. Even without the available supercharger, which pumps output to 470 or 510, depending on how much you want to spend, the XJ is quick. It helps that an aluminum body keeps curb weight to a relatively light 4,131 pounds. The new V8’s exhaust note is throatier than that of competing German V8s, and yet refined enough for a Jaguar.

Jaguar continues to employ a six-speed automatic. It’s not a bad transmission, but the new eight-speed ZF in the Audi A8 and BMW 7 is smoother and more responsive. Perhaps the XJ will get the better box next year. Dialing (yes, dialing) the gear selector to S quickens the transmission’s responses at the expense of some smoothness. S also holds a lower gear, rendering this option impractical for continuous use.

Compared to the ultra-firm system in the new Audi A8, the new Jaguar XJ’s steering can initially seem disconcertingly light. Though a little more heft would be welcome, this isn’t entirely a bad thing, as the chassis rewards a delicate touch with precise responses and a surprising amount of agility for such a large car. Especially in “competition mode,” which quickens the responses of the throttle and suspension, but doesn’t affect the steering, the big cat likes to turn. It could teach the smaller (but equally hefty) XF a thing or two. Between this chassis tuning and the styling of the interior, the big Jaguar doesn’t feel so big from the driver’s seat. Until you glance to the side, in which case the high beltline and overly close B-pillar conspire to sap your confidence.

So far, mostly so good. Jaguar had relatively few resources to draw upon, but the car doesn’t seem to have substantially suffered as a result—unless you pay close attention to the ride. Quivers you won’t find in a German supersedan make their way through the XJ’s steering column. Especially in the back seat the ride often feels a touch jittery. Many people won’t notice these minor lapses. But the most discriminating buyers will.

Reliability is a big question mark. The Jaguar XF has been among the least reliable cars in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey, with the second model year no better than the first. Most problems have been electrical. Might the more complex XJ fare better? Not that you’re guaranteed to have problems. With the 2009 XF 43 percent of owners have had no repairs in the past year.

The Jaguar XJ has some shortcomings, but do they really matter? There are benefits to buying a car from a huge organization, but there are also benefits to buying one from a relatively small outfit. Unlike some other luxury brands, Jaguar has never been about perfection. Instead, the marque has long gotten by (if barely) on a unique combination of sportiness, comfort, and charisma. All are present and accounted for in Jaguar’s new flagship. Compared to the technically astounding Audi A8, the new XJ might be harder to admire, but it’s easier to love.

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data

Lee “Pete” Canupp of Checkered Flag Jaguar in Virginia Beach, VA, provided the car. Pete can be reached at 757-490-1111.


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65 Comments on “Review: 2011 Jaguar XJ...”


  • avatar
    ash78

    Looks sort of like the unholy union of a 7-series, a Maybach, and a Honda Crosstour. I’ll reserve judgment, since I didn’t like the pics of the XF when they first came out, and that thing is a stunner on the road.
     
    I don’t know that the most discriminating buyers will find much fault…for many purposes, Jags are just a high status alternative to the Germans for the very wealthy among us (who also wouldn’t be caught dead in a Japanese luxobarge–those are for CFOs). If it’s traded in 3 years later, reliability really won’t matter to the new car market.

  • avatar

    I looked at the new XJ seriously, but just could not swing it. Too expensive, and I am cheap.
    Also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tyj9VMhE6oI

  • avatar
    Tstag

    I’ve seen a few locally. They are much more imposing than a BMW or a Merc and look twice as expensive.
    Don’t get me wrong BMW and Mercedes make great cars. But this thing is designed to stand out and it succeeds.
    Just one point I’d like to kind of correct about the article. TTAC is spot on the ride is harsher on the XJ than it’s German rivals. But it’s meant to be more of a driver’s car that fits between the BMW 7 Series and the Porsche Panamera.
    If you like the Porsche but can’t stand the looks and the harshness of it’s ride. And if you like the BMW but don’t find it engaging enough then this car fits somewhere in between. Which is actually a pretty smart move by Shaguar.
     

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Someone at Tata is a Robocop fan! The 6000 SUX has finally reached production! I realize that ugly is the new black when it comes to European cars, but the XJ is so hideous that they’ll be hard pressed to ‘improve’ on it if they decide to field a BMW Gran Turismo style hatchback.

    The XF looked interesting in photos, but disappears in a sea of Infiniti Ms and Lexus GSs here in La Jolla. Plus, the gimmicky transmission shifters break exactly as they could be expected to.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Seen a few in black and they look great.  The pic of the one in white was kinda scary.

    • 0 avatar
      Leaper_NYC

      There can be little doubt that Tata ownership shaped the final XJ product. 2 years ago when the company changed hands, the XJ wasn’t a sketch drawing, but it couldn’t have been fully planned either. At a minimum, finishes and materials-quality decisions (which are obviously key to a $100k flagship) would have been finalized post-transfer.
       
      Tata has been amply supportive of more recent efforts. For the CX-75 concept, which stole the recent Paris show with its quad hybrid engines, the parent company made an investment into the battery technology firm to ensure its viability and powerplant access.  Tata is a 50+ year old automaker, and outside of the Japanese and Koreans, they have perhaps the busiest, most mature car R&D in Asia.  Today Jag’s product pipeline / R&D activity is busier than it has ever been.

  • avatar
    tced2

    Of course this car was essentially developed under the ownership of another little old car company – Ford – which has “vast resources”.  Ford did manage to get Jaguar to develop cars that were much more reliable — unlike the previous Jaguars.  Tata has only “had the keys” to the Jaguar kingdom for about 2 years – not enough time to actually develop a car. I’ll anxiously await the next totally new model developed under the current Tata ownership.  Nevertheless, this car is very nice, imposing, and different than the German autos.  If I had the money, it would be on my shopping list.

    • 0 avatar
      Leaper_NYC

      There can be little doubt that Tata ownership shaped the final XJ product. 2 years ago when the company changed hands, the XJ wasn’t a sketch drawing, but it couldn’t have been fully planned either. At a minimum, finishes and materials-quality decisions (which are obviously key to a $100k flagship) would have been finalized post-transfer.

      Tata has been amply supportive of more recent efforts. For the CX-75 concept, which stole the recent Paris show with its quad hybrid engines, the parent company made an investment into the battery technology firm to ensure its viability and powerplant access.

      Tata is a 50+ year old automaker, and outside of Japan and Korea, they have easily the busiest, most mature car R&D in Asia.  Thanks to their support, today Jag’s product pipeline / R&D activity is busier than it has ever been.. car lovers rejoice!!

  • avatar
    twotone

    Will make a great $20,000 used car in a couple of years. Just make sure to budget another $3k/year for repairs.

  • avatar
    shoes

    I came very close to getting one of these recently, but I phoned 800-BUYNOJAG and they talked me down. The interior bits are very luxurious and comfy, but the only people I see driving these cars either have gray hair or cover their gray hair with tweed caps. Ultimately, my biggest issue was the terrible leases- when Jaguar was sold, they lost the ability to tap into Ford leasing and the leasing costs have risen; you can lease an S Class or 7 Series for substantially less. I also hate the secondary controls which respond very slowly to driver’s input. I just get the feeling that Jag is using electronics and a transmission from the last century. Did I mention that you have pay a lot more for the privildge of leasing something that is pretty far from cutting edge technology?

  • avatar
    Verbal

    This is all well and good, but did it leak oil?

  • avatar
    blowfish

    Reliability is a big question mark. The Jaguar XF has been among the least reliable cars in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey, with the second model year no better than the first.

    thought the Ford had ironed it out, so TATA had it licked too.
    Too many electronics can be a real nightmare if it decided to pack it in.
    leasing is a way for the car co. to dump them cheaper, although is not the same co. in the legal entity but does owns by the same folks.
    TATA is not that big to go into leasing herself or have enough $$ to subsidize the lease rates.

    • 0 avatar
      Ron

      Tata had $67.4 billion in sales in fiscal 2010, with $1.8 billion in net profit. Seems plenty big to me.

    • 0 avatar

      TATA and Ford might both be large, but neither has the armies of people focused on features for premium cars the way BMW, MB, and Audi do.

      Toyota only justified the investment required to create Lexus by applying what they learned to the entire range, changing expectations for refinement in afforable cars in the process. Then, when the yen shot up in value, they had to backtrack.

  • avatar
    SimonAlberta

    Quote: “The Jaguar’s black C-pillar applique doesn’t work—at all—but there are two easy fixes: paint it body color or buy a black car.”
     
    Just a small personal pet peeve on this comment. Why do reviewers and commenters alike tend to offer their opinion on aesthetic issues like this as though it is a fact?
     
    It is a cliche of course, but nonetheless true, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder so, just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean everyone else agrees but that is what the above comment implies.

    To my mind an appropriate approach would be to say things like “in my opinion…” or “I don’t like…” etc..
     
    Other than that issue, good review and I certainly like the car. I do agree on the instruments issue though. It does seem a bit strange to create faux analogue versions. In my opinion, classic Smiths gauges have never been bettered. But…I respect others’ opinions may differ.

    • 0 avatar

      Simon, somewhere in the archives there’s a comment by Jack Baruth that states that car reviewers generally don’t know enough about styling and design to offer any informed comments. I pretty much agree with him. Since I do some design and layout myself (nothing anywhere near on the level of what the guys who design cars do), and since I’ve discussed design with those same car designers, I exclude myself from Jack’s comments.
      FWIW, I’ve never been put off by the black C pillar. I think I know what Ian Callum is trying to do there. In the profile view of the white XJ, look at how the curve of the glass area that is visually extended by that black applique mirrors the side of the backlight glass and it also allows the belt line of the car to visually continue under that back glass.
      I think what people are reacting to is that it’s black plastic. Had Jaguar put in a black glass panel, fewer would bitch about it.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      It’s not just the exterior analysis that has this problem.  The rest of the review is full of opinions that are not clearly laid out as being non-factual.  Here are just a few, with my recommended corrections:
       
      Unfortunately, I think the LCD instrument display attempts to meld with the retro sports car vibe, and I also think it fails.  It is my opinion that some video games manage more convincing digital representations of classic, chrome-ringed round instruments.
       
      The front seats fit me like a glove, with relatively soft padding and curves that cosset me in a way the Germans refuse to. It’s that warmth thing again, even in black. In my opinion, the rear seats are even more comfortable, at least in the two outboard positions.
       
      In the recent past both Cadillac and Jaguar were scraping by with DOHC V8 engines that I believe were well past their sell by dates.
       
      To me, the new V8’s exhaust note is throatier than that of competing German V8s, and yet refined enough for a Jaguar.
       
      Jaguar continues to employ a six-speed automatic. I don’t think it’s a bad transmission, but I think the new eight-speed ZF in the Audi A8 and BMW 7 is smoother and more responsive. Perhaps the XJ will get the better (IMHO) box next year. Dialing (yes, dialing) the gear selector to S quickens the transmission’s responses at the expense of some smoothness. S also holds a lower gear, rendering this option impractical for continuous use, in my opinion.
       
      Compared to the ultra-firm system in the new Audi A8, the new Jaguar XJ’s steering can initially seem disconcertingly light. Though a little more heft would be welcome, in my opinion, this isn’t entirely a bad thing, as the chassis rewards a delicate touch with precise responses and a surprising amount of agility for such a large car. Especially in “competition mode,” which quickens the responses of the throttle and suspension, but doesn’t affect the steering, it is my impression that the big cat likes to turn.
       
      I think the Jaguar XJ has some shortcomings, but do they really matter?
       
      Compared to the technically astounding Audi A8, I believe the new XJ might be harder to admire, but it’s easier to love.

    • 0 avatar

      Reviews are, by definition, subjective. If you just want the facts, read the spec sheet. If it wasn’t obvious which parts of the review are inherently subjective, it would not be possible to so easily insert “I think that.” This said, when every reviewer has similar subjective impressions…

      And this said, the black C-pillar applique is objectively bad design because of the way it runs up against the chrome trim around the side windows. No attempt was made to align the cutlines around the applique with the chrome trim. If they were going for a pillarless effect, the chrome trim shouldn’t be on the pillar at all, but should instead continue around the backlight to the other side of the car. 

    • 0 avatar
      sitting@home

      Ian Callum has said that the roof “looked too heavy” with a body colored pillar and the insert (isn’t it lacquered piano black wood ?) was added to break up the outline and make the car look smaller. From your comment …
       
      “While the tape measure will beg to differ, the new XJ looks much lower and sleeker than the German dreadnoughts”
       
      it looks like he might have partially succeeded.
       
      I really want to like this car, but having seen several I still can’t. It’s not the pillar that gets me, it’s the whole rear overhang. The body looks like it’s too far back on the chassis giving a short beaky nose and a big bulbous butt.

    • 0 avatar
      Ingvar

      “car reviewers generally don’t know enough about styling and design to offer any informed comments.”

      That’s hogwash.

      That’s like saying journalists aren’t politicians, so they can’t have any views on politics. Or like saying critics aren’t artists, so they really can’t have an opinion on music or film or whatever they are reviewing.

      Design is an interface. It’s the estethic/practical form of different man made objects. As it’s an inteface, it’s something that all people interacts with all the time. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if people aren’t designers, the mere fact that they are using the object makes them eligible to have an opinion. I would say that the core demographic is exactly those people that generally don’t have either a clue or an opinion. If it works for them, it is a good design. If it doesn’t, it’s not. Then, of course, if people are “enlightened” with a knowledge of design, some aspects are more fun to take part of, like an insiders joke. But so it is with everything else in life. Design in this sense shouldn’t be put on a pedestal, it’s just an envelope to wrap things up with. And anyone that has ever even touched a car with their hands should be able of having an opinion…

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Leaving aside, for a moment, the debate on whether it is appropriate for a non-expert design critic to criticize the design, I, at least, value the opinions of these “non-experts” if only because they have the advantage of seeing the car in three-dimensional space whereas, for many “exotic” cars, I can only see two-dimensional representations of them.
      Obviously, de gustibius non disputandum est and all that, but I’m interested in Michael’s and the other reviewers’ comments about aesthetics, even though I don’t always agree with them.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    This is all well and good, but did it leak oil?

    I am sure TATA did have a lot of engine building experiences, electronics/computer are a different breed of issues. A total double edge sword. When is working u know exactly where everything is, that also weighted heavily into what grade of  electronics component they’re willing to splurge on. Mil grade is the best ( correct me if wong ) and it goes down.  When it does work, u cant by pass it, unlike in movies one can hot wire a car in 10 secs. Go try one now.

    • 0 avatar
      BMWfan

      Blowfish,

      Minor point: It’s called Mil Spec, short of course for Military Specification. I only wish that the electronics in my BMW were built to military specifications, but can you imagine what that would cost? I could barely swing it as is.

  • avatar
    Ian Anderson

    The local auto mall sells Jags and usually has a few of these under plastic along their back fence or on their unused test track. Hate to say it I didn’t like the looks at first but it’s grown on me.
     
    Of course the only way I can afford one is after 10-15 years’ depreciation and by putting in an LSX, but I digress.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    From the side, it resembles the [also beautiful] Hyundai Sonata, but with a much different value proposition.
     
    Too bad Jaguar has been passed around like a cheap date; I’d really like to see them produce a reliable car that doesn’t depreciate like an old PC.

    • 0 avatar

      I just got done having a week with the XF Supercharged and some say that that Jaguar is too nondescript. My neighbor said it looked like a Lexus. I know what he means but it’s not what I think when I look at it.
      Sure, the XJ, shares some lines with the Sonata and many other contemporary cars. You can immediately date a car’s styling, every car reflects its era. Still, when i look at the XF and XJ, I don’t see the similarities with other cars, I see how the front wheels are pushed to the very edges of the car, with very little overhang. To me that is a visual cue for a RWD layout. You can’t get that short overhang with either a transverse or inline FWD setup, unless you have the engine behind the transmission (which nobody will do today because of space inefficiencies). The new Jaguars have grown on me.
      I still wish Callum would have put another set of nacelles over the inboard headlights to get more of a classic XJ quad headlights thing going. Callum says that the new Jaguars evoke that styling (there are two lamps on each side), but I think they could have gone a step farther with a nod towards trad Jag styling while still going modern.

    • 0 avatar
      Leaper_NYC

      Apparently, twin nacelles are hard to shape from aluminum. The outgoing XJ had them, but it raised cost and required other compromises.
       
      But.. there is a lot more to Jaguar’s design heritage than the 1968-2010 XJ. One of the defining features of the brand’s styling lineage is the LACK of design dogma. In contrast to the S/M/L/XL 3-box looks of the German competition, Jags have always looked distinctive, both across time and across the range. (Yes, the baby-XJ look on the X-type was the exception that proved this rule)
       
      For those that know the brand (for a quick lesson, stop by a nearby Jaguar club event, where the typical member owns ~3 with ~40 years on the oldest) you’ll quickly see that the XJ, XF and XK are true Jaguars in terms of styling, dynamics and luxury .. or in Sir William Lyons’ understated credo, “grace, space and pace”

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      My neighbor said it looked like a Lexus. I know what he means but it’s not what I think when I look at it.

      I would say it looks a lot like the current GS in profile.  This isn’t a bad thing: the current GS is a good-looking car that suffers for being milquetoast.  The XJ fixes that somewhat.

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    Is the last picture from an Audi A8?

  • avatar
    ajla

    It is very disappointing that Jaguar was able to build a car like this while Lincoln and Cadillac remain unwilling to even compete in this class.

    • 0 avatar

      Jaguar was supposed to be Ford’s luxury Marque before things fell apart. The Xj would have been an upper level MKS of sorts.
      I loved the car but the interior was so cramped compared to my car, I couldn’t even consider it. The roofline takes away too much headroom unless you’re a smaller person. The interior, however, was probably the coolest interior I’ve ever seen in a car – especially in London Tan.
      http://www.epinions.com/content_512392400516

  • avatar
    view2share

    I miss the real XJ.  Sorry, but this one just doesn’t cut it.  May as well buy a Pontiac (Holden) GTO, or a Honda Accord GT or whatever that monster is called. Seems that BMW has a hump back too. And those tiny windows – yuk.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    so what you are saying is that a ford 5.0 fitted in a big sedan with leather seats option will work just as well?  cool!

    love that oversized fenders/undersized wheel arches design element, very toyota.

    and the audi bag in the trunk is priceless.

  • avatar
    baabthesaab

    Lovely looking car, but I wish it had windows!

    • 0 avatar
      view2share

      me too!
      Actually, I always loved the classic XJ look of the past few decades, and see this new car as looking too much like all the rest — there was something special about the XJ sedan which is now lost forever.

  • avatar
    Leaper_NYC

    Great review Michael. Makes you wonder if somehow, those “huge organizations with vast resources” get in the way of creating the awesome drivers’ cars that we all want to own.  Tiny, fearless Jaguar alone consistently nails what truly matters – stunning road dynamics, arresting feline design that ages well, and luxurious craftsmanship within.

    Pricing is indeed a surprise – well perhaps not given Jaguar’s past reliability reputation. Of course they now come with segment-leading service warranties and in recent memory TOPPED some reliability charts. Still, Jaguar must part with these thoroughbreds for less than the price of a German mule. Yes lease terms can blur this, but again as your True Delta comparisons clarify, you are starting with much more for less.

    In the end, intangibles will decide : can you pull off being seen in one? A Jag will turn heads like nothing else save a $250k+ exotic.  Valets at trendy hotels will fetch velvet ropes and pilons so they can park it up front and “posh up the place”.  On the track, everything from ZR-1′s to GT-Rs and 911 Turbos will – grudgingly at first – signal you past. (Actual, repeated XF owner experiences..yes really)

    Jaguars are so distinctive, alluring and powerful that I sometimes think the term “Animal Magnetism” was invented for them!

  • avatar
    Steinweg

    Unless this LottoMax ticket is a winner, I’m not buying an XJ this week. I think it’s a great looking piece of sculpture, and that interior is sumptuous. In a medium as fixed as the ICE-powered, RWD saloon it’s hard to say that any designer ever pulls out all the stops, but here in the XJ, Callum and Jag have clearly been courageous, gallant even, in making Jag’s range topper relevant again. I have a soft spot for the regal outgone XJ, the long and slinky gen before that, but they were wearing some threadbare ideas.
    No doubt in my mind this XJ looks great on the prowl, much better than in photos. I hear that criticism that XF and XJ look a little Japanese or a little derivative, but like the man says, when you study the details you can’t help but notice how much more carefully those curves and joins have been thought through on the Jags than on any Lexus or Infiniti. I wouldn’t cross the street for the XJ and XF competitors from Germany or Japan (though a Quattroporte… well, I’m not made of steel).

  • avatar
    Crosley

    It’s a mixed bag, it seems to have very “trendy” styling that I don’t think will stand the test of time.  I like the look now, I just see Jaguars as having a timeless elegance whereas this looks like something “new” that would have been made by Acura or Infiniti.
     
    The areas they really screwed up was the front headlight/grill and the C pillar, but I can see a really beautiful car with a few subtle tweaks.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    The 1998 Audi A6 called. It wants its greenhouse back.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    I know that Jaguar had to update the XJ, but I would have much preferred an updated interior and new technology stuffed into a gentle evolution of the previous bodystyle, which was to me, the most beautiful luxury sedan on the market.  Moving away from an all aluminum unibody to one made of steel also seems like a step backwards.
     
    Then again, I’m not in the market for a Jag, so I guess my opinions don’t really matter much in this, and thus far I’ve heard this new one is a sales success.  I will say after seeing a few in the wild on the roads that it does look much better in person, but it still doesn’t have the timeless classical beauty of the previous generation.  I do worry a bit that this design won’t age nearly as well as the previous version, but that will be a problem for another year for Jaguar.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    I think the white one especially looks like a Beluga whale. The nose is piggish, the wheels look tiny, the black pillar/chrome is senseless, and the rear overhang is 50 feet long. No thank you. The Quattroporte is the only car in this class that I would really call sexy, but the A8 doesn’t make me want to vomit at least.

  • avatar
    carguy

    For me the XF styling didn’t translate well to a bigger car. While imposing, the proportions are ungainly and look bloated. I also don’t much care for the LCD gauges – in any car.

  • avatar

    Mike:

    750, S550, A8 or the XJ?

    • 0 avatar

      Personal opinion in the end, I’m afraid. I find the XJ the most intriguing, but probably the least accomplished car of the bunch by objective standards.

      The Audi might be the winner by many objective standards, but I found it less enjoyable to drive and don’t like its styling.

      I also don’t care for the styling of the Mercedes.

      So for me, in this class of car I’ll probably never buy (prefer something smaller), it would be between the Jaguar and the BMW.

      This is assuming the Jaguar doesn’t prove to be terribly unreliable.

    • 0 avatar

      S550  is the best. Its the largest interior, the largest trunk, the best leather, the most well thought out electronic controls and the most attractive design. Technically, its designed to be a Limo. The E550 is a good car, but its basically a smaller S550 if size is important.

      BMW 7 offers best driver’s experience and very nice wood. Interior is roughly as tight as the XJ

      A8L is a spectacular mess. Its got a very attractive interior but some painfully stupid electronic control/ ergonomic decisions.

      XJ offers the most vivacious colors, a technology package based on MS SYNC, a good driver’s experience, $0 maintenance plan, great engine power, light mass and polarizing exterior appearance that looks rich.

      Read my reviews here:
      http://www.epinions.com/review/2011_Audi_A8_epi/content_531956141700

      http://www.epinions.com/review/2010_Jaguar_XJ_epi/content_512392400516

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      No Lexus LS?

    • 0 avatar

      psarhjinian
      The Lexus LS was lame years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Leaper_NYC

      I think it’s fair to conclude that, among this group, the XJ is the car lover’s choice – the one for the TTAC reader who dreams of scenic Sunday drives, long road trips, concours wins, and track days. Such people also tend to appreciate modern design, tactile gratification, and a feline growl.

      Whereas the LS is for those who view car transportation merely as a chore. They seek reliability and ultimate peace of mind – the LS delivers both and more.

      The Germans herd together in the middle – lets face it, A8, 7 and S550 resemble each other more at each generation. All 3 are exceptionally competent cars, that achieve neither the XJ’s panache nor the LS’s dignified boringness.

      The XJ is also the one car of this group that invites comparison with Bentley, Quattroporte, Panamera or Rapide. And the one least likely to lose customers to Equus and the like.

    • 0 avatar

      “Whereas the LS is for those who view car transportation merely as a chore. They seek reliability and ultimate peace of mind – the LS delivers both and more.”
       
      This (plus sheer comfort) is the heart and soul of luxury, like it or not. The LS is the modern sedan that comes closest to the traditional ideal of what a luxury sedan should be IMO. It’s what the S-Class used to be before Daimler cheaped out on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      The Lexus even has the 80s digital clock in the dash, straight from the 80s.

  • avatar
    js413

    I guess it’s true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but an overwhelming majority of people that have seen this car in person seem to think it’s extremely attractive (at least where I live).  A close of friend of mine owns an XJL, and I have driven around with him multiple times in this car.  It might be ‘hideous’ to some of you, but man is this thing a head-turner.  I was once skeptical about the new design too, but I was impressed when I finally saw it in person.  I’ve literally seen people driving in other cars slow down just to get a closer look at the XJ, with their mouths open.  I’ve also seen people crossing the street looking back over their shoulders to admire the XJ.  How many people sitting in a flagship sedan made by Audi, BMW, or Mercedes have people staring at their car like that?  Not saying that those aren’t good vehicles, but in opinion, they lack personality.  The styling of the XJ is extremely appealing to me, and I think it’s the most eye-catching out of the luxury, flagship sedan group.

    • 0 avatar
      view2share

      I owned a car like that, and it was called the Dodge Stealth.  It sold for under $18K in 1990 as a ’91 model year car.  It was truly a fine looking automobile.  Unlike the new XJ, it actually had windows.  It was low and wide, with all proper proportions.  So many people would come on over to ask about the car, give you a thumbs up, or simply stare, it was amazing.  The new Jag looks somewhat impressive from the rear view.  A nice butt perhaps — guess that ain’t a bad thing.  The older XJ will go down in history as one of the most beautiful sedans ever made.  I think they represent a great value today as a modern day classic.  All they can think up today is high butt cars, with too tall doors with tiny windows, and huge snouts up in front.
      My guess is that the new Sonata gets as many looks as does the Jag.

  • avatar
    jbltg

    Ugly, ugly, ugly inside and out.  Are they kidding?

  • avatar
    BassPilot

    This car’s styling just doesn’t quite work for me. Viewed from certain angles, it looks stylish and a bit muscular. From other viewpoints, it just looks ill-proportioned. Michael’s comment about the C-pillar applique is dead on the money: “the black C-pillar applique is objectively bad design because of the way it runs up against the chrome trim around the side windows”. If I’m paying the kind of money this automobile costs, I expect better attention to detail than a painted applique that hints at a wraparound rear window. GM did a better job of wraparound glass on the ’89 Cutlass Supreme. Shame on you, Jaguar!
    The most damning thing about either the XF or the XJ in my book though, is what my wife says every time she sees one on TV: “looks like a Buick…”.

  • avatar
    Leaper_NYC

    There’s no accounting for taste is there. Well it should be said that Ian Callum’s designs work far better in the flesh – there is a subtlety to the execution, a gracefulness to the proportions, that don’t project well onto 2D. And yes there are lots of derivative or provocative bits, particularly in contrast with the previous models that were pure, original, slinky cats. But Callum’s work comes together in a very effective way – people tend to report that these cars’ beauty grew on them in almost a haunting, mesmerizing way.

    Separately, the performance chops of this XJ are stunning. Motor Trend reported the XJL Supercharged was a finalist in their Car of the Year test, ultimately losing out to the ultra-significant (we can hope) Chevy Volt. They cited a 0-60 time of 4 seconds flat in the XJL Super, faster than Jaguar claims and over a full second faster than the sportier-imaged F10 550i and new M56S. The A8 and Equus would have been contenders overall, but were thoroughly overshadowed in design, luxury and performance by the Jag. And oh, the XJL was the largest car around, several inches longer than even a Honda Odyssey. Not to mention there’s a Supersport variant with 40 more horses that runs even faster.

    Speaking quite objectively, this new XJ is a phenomenal automobile. Car lovers rejoice – Jaguar is Jaguar again.

  • avatar
    millergd

    During my trip to England in June 2009, I planned a side excursion to Coventry, enthusiastically waiting to see the old Browns Lane factory and Jaguar museum.  Pulling up, I found a large, fenced off no-trespassing zone with large mounds of brick rubble being trucked away.  And next to it, a lonely Jaguar museum stood, symbolically representing a glorious past and the empty future of Jaguar.

    And what couldn’t be killed off by a wrecking ball was done so by Jaguar’s design department.  As if stealing the XF’s styling from the Chrysler Sebring wasn’t a bad idea gone too far, the new XJ’s atrocious plagiarism from the rear of Lincoln MKZ, the side of the Chevy Impala, and the front of any given Lexus is a fresh reminder that one doesn’t have to visit China to find knock-off counterfeits.  This car has absolutely no lineage to the Jaguar that shuttled Keyser Soza away at the end of The Usual Suspects.  Most likely he would have purchased a bus ticket instead had the 2011 XJ pulled up to the curb to greet him.

    Jaguar sold a whopping 800 vehicles in Canada last year (1 for every 40,000 residents), and is quickly finding itself in the same dilemma as Cadillac was earlier this decade:  an aging owner base, declining volume and market share, and little hope that any of its new products will turn its fortunes around soon.  My 2 Jags are the end of the line for me, and there’s little inspiration to reverse course–not to mention awful dealership service.  From the direction Tata is going with Jaguar (in case you’re not sure which direction that is, see the ending of any “Toonces the Driving Cat” video on youtube), it won’t be long before Top Gear does a Jaguar episode similar to the one it did mocking British Leyland’s disasterous motor vehicles. Ouch, this is one ugggly car.

    • 0 avatar
      Leaper_NYC

      So you haven’t read Top Gear’s review of this XJ then. Here goes:

      “Not only do we love it, we love it enough to anoint it our luxury car of the year”

      “Rarely has a new car slackened so many jaws.. at last, a genuinely ambitious Jaguar, a blast from the future instead of the past.”

      “It handles like the future too. Only when you get stupidly ambitious with it is there the tiniest murmur of complaint, but dynamically it’s still way ahead of the German big guns. Because it weighs a lot less, several hundred kilos less in some cases”

      “The XJ is still British through and through, and part of its considerable charm is the wit and humour evident in its execution.. Only Jaguar has figured out how to make a car welcome you as you get into it .. the same brilliantly simple rotating gear selector as the XF, and the multi-function wheel looks and feels fantastic”

      “Jaguar’s people would probably prefer us not to use the word regal to describe the XJ. But it is. After all those years cocking about, the company has genuinely entered its imperial phase.”

      Hmm.

  • avatar
    view2share

    Well, if Top Gear loves the new Jag, they may also consider the Buick Regal or LaCrosse at a much lower price.  Jag is a decent looking, for say $35K, but I will take the real deal – previous rendition.

  • avatar

    Well, the latest TrueDelta reliability numbers for the XF are 133 and 95.  These numbers are terrifying and make me glad that I bought something else. It was tempting to get the Jaguar because of its looks but it appears beauty is only skin deep on the new Jaguars. To be fair, some of the Audi and BMW numbers are not too good either.

    • 0 avatar
      Leaper_NYC

      Sorry to hear that – you simply missed out. I was an early buyer of the XF and have had zero complaints.  The Germans are less than Toyota-solid as you said, and Jag now has easily the best warranty & free service in the business.  But the real reason to buy them is still their singular “Grace, Space and Pace”.

      Just doing my bit to help you guys out .. the level of ignorance / inexperience surrounding this brand is stunning. The other side of the exclusivity coin I guess.


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