Full 2011 Jaguar XJ Review
What's New for 2011
The 2011 Jaguar XJ has been completely redesigned.
In the history of great transformations, this one is a doozy. The old Jaguar XJ was a perfectly modern automobile under the skin, but that skin was nothing more than a rehash of Jaguar's previous 30 years. The interior was so stale, it was practically growing mold. Jaguar felt something radical was needed -- not only to kick-start this flagship luxury sedan's sales, but revitalize the brand itself. With the 2011 Jaguar XJ, something radical is exactly what the world gets.
Gone is ye olde world styling, and in its place comes a strikingly unique blend of cues from the midsize Jaguar XF as well as all-new ones. The rear of the 2011 XJ looks like no other rump on the road. Meanwhile, the interior ditches the stuffy fascia of wood, the ugly green lighting and crotchety old J gate shifter in favor of a cabin so exquisitely detailed and so dramatically designed that it may make a potential Rolls-Royce Ghost buyer think twice. Really, this would be like Susan Boyle walking into a pub and walking out looking like Keira Knightley. Perhaps it's not a look for everyone, but dang, what a makeover.
However, while the look is a stunning 180, the mechanical bits and pieces are quite familiar. The aluminum chassis is similar to the outgoing car, allowing the XJ to maintain a much lower weight than its bulky luxury flagship competitors. This not only makes the XJ feel relatively nimble, but it also helps out the lineup of 5.0-liter V8s. The "base" XJ produces 385 horsepower while the supercharged XJ cranks out up to 510 horses.
Jaguar also didn't shy away from stuffing its rejuvenated flagship with safety, comfort and entertainment features. A blind-spot warning system, heated and cooled front seats and Bluetooth streaming audio are just some of the items standard on the XJ that are optional or not available at all on its European rivals. Best of all, the XJ has a pleasingly competitive price tag, one that undercuts other luxury sedans by upwards of $10,000.
So there you have it: style, dynamic substance and value. The 2011 Jaguar XJ has not only transformed itself visually, but it's also now a serious contender to join the luxury flagship hierarchy of 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, 2011 BMW 7 Series, 2011 Audi A8 and 2011 Porsche Panamera. All are worth a look, but after such a dramatic makeover, one look at the Jag XJ may be the only one you make.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Jaguar XJ is a large luxury sedan available in regular and long-wheelbase (L) four-door body styles. Both are available in three trim levels, which correspond with an engine: XJ, XJ Supercharged and XJ Supersport.
Standard equipment on the XJ includes 19-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, a panoramic sunroof, automatic xenon headlamps, auto-dimming mirrors, a power-closing trunk lid, keyless ignition/entry, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats (16-way driver and 12-way passenger) with memory functions, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and leather upholstery. Also standard is an LCD digital instrument panel, a touchscreen electronics interface, Bluetooth (phone connection and audio streaming), a navigation system, voice controls and a 14-speaker sound system with CD player, digital music storage, an iPod interface, HD radio and satellite radio.
The XJL features different 19-inch wheels than the XJ, plus four-zone automatic climate control, a power rear sunshade, 20-way power front seats with massage function, heated and cooled rear seats, extended leather trim and faux-suede headliner. Most of these items are optional on the XJ with its Luxury package, while all L models furthermore feature rear vanity mirrors, manual rear side sunshades and fold-down trays in the front seatbacks.
The XJ Supercharged and XJL Supercharged add to the XJL's equipment 20-inch wheels, adaptive headlights and a 20-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium surround-sound system. All of these items are optional on the XJ and XJL. The XJ Supersport and XJL Supersport add different 20-inch wheels and upgraded leather upholstery. Its standard adaptive cruise control, wood-trim wheel and rear seat entertainment system are optional on the other trims.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Jaguar XJ is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 385 hp and 380 pound-feet of torque. As with all XJ models, a six-speed automatic with manual shift control is standard. Jaguar estimates a 0-60-mph sprint of 5.4 seconds and combined fuel economy of 19 mpg.
The 2010 Jaguar XJ Supercharged features a (surprise!) supercharged 5.0-liter V8 good for 470 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque. Jaguar estimates a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds and combined fuel economy of 18 mpg.
The 2010 Jaguar XJ Supersport gets a more powerful version of the supercharged V8 good for 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. Jaguar estimates a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds and combined fuel economy of 18 mpg.
Every 2011 Jaguar XJ comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, active head restraints and a blind spot warning system. Front seat active seatbelts are optional on the XJ and XJL, and standard on the others.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Jaguar XJ's interior is exquisite; there's really no other way to describe it. Not only is the design unique and appealing from an aesthetic standpoint, but its craftsmanship and materials quality are a step beyond this already impressive league. Parallels to Bentley would not be unwarranted. Supple leather covers not only the seats, but most of the dash and doors. Rich wood trim wraps around the interior as if it were a structural element. Tastefully applied chrome, piano-black trim and ice-blue lighting further decorate this cabin fit for royalty. Plus, with myriad color choices, it's easy to equip the XJ in whatever way you desire.
In-car electronics are dominated by a large touchscreen, which works OK, but isn't as quick to operate as screen-and-knob systems like BMW's iDrive. Processing speed is also on the slow side. The instrument panel is in fact a big LCD, and adapts to different driving scenarios and in-use vehicle functions (navigation, for instance).
As before, the regular-length XJ's backseat is on the small side. If you regularly have backseat passengers, stepping up to one of the L models is definitely a good idea. The Jag's lower roof line provides enough headroom for most occupants, but passengers will feel less like they're in a limousine than they would in competitors. Trunk space is an average 15.2 cubic feet.
Few cars strike such an excellent balance between ride comfort and sporty handling as the 2011 Jaguar XJ. Even with the big wheels, it glides down the road with a sophisticated suppleness. And yet, with its lightweight aluminum chassis and adaptive suspension, the XJ is also deceptively agile. Choosing the car's "dynamic" driver setting engages a sharper throttle response, firmed dampers and quicker downshifts, all of which make the XJ feel much livelier. The steering is sharp, body roll is negligible and there is a nimbleness you notice in the XJ that's missing from its much heavier rivals. Which engine you choose simply comes down to whether you desire fast, faster or fastest. Indeed, despite having less power than the BMW 750i, the lightweight XJ 5.0 essentially matches the sporty Bimmer's acceleration.