Pros & Cons
- Exquisite interior
- superb engines
- nimble for its class
- abundant standard features
- strong value in a luxury car.
- Backseat isn't as spacious as rivals
- lingering reputation for substandard reliability.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Inside and out, the 2013 Jaguar XJ projects the air of distinction and exclusivity expected of a Jaguar, while important new mechanical upgrades make the brand's flagship more practical and efficient.
Exclusivity is an attribute that buyers expect from a luxury sedan, but Jaguar goes a step further with its full-size XJ sedan and adds stunning, unique and thoroughly modern styling to the mix.
Further setting the 2013 Jaguar XJ apart from the more conventional choices in the segment of luxury sedans is aluminum construction. The weight of an aluminum body panel or suspension component is about one-third that of its steel equivalent, which helps explain why the base-model XJ checks in at little more than 4,000 pounds, or about 400-600 pounds lighter than comparable competitors.
Fuel economy is further enhanced by the XJ's new-for-2013 supercharged V6, a smaller and more efficient engine than the 5.0-liter V8 that formerly was the smallest available power plant for this car. With an output of 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, the new V6 has the grunt to sufficiently motivate the comparatively light XJ. The 5.0-liter V8 remains in the XJ lineup, as does the supercharged V8.
Now that all-wheel drive is available as an option, the XJ deserves consideration in regions where the weather gets foul. The all-wheel-drive system adds a little weight, yet the fuel economy penalty is nominal, as is the extra cost.
High style and a variety of model trims make the 2013 Jaguar XJ a viable alternative to usual luxury sedans like the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Compared with what Mercedes-Benz charges for even the least expensive S-Class, the Jaguar XJ seems like a bargain, and while the Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series are quite close in price to the XJ, they aren't nearly as opulent inside.
2013 Jaguar XJ models
The 2013 Jaguar XJ is a full-size five-passenger sedan available in regular (XJ) and long-wheelbase (XJL) variants. The XJ comes in base, Supercharged and Supersport trim levels, while the XJL has the Portfolio, Supercharged, Supersport and Ultimate trim levels.
The base XJ comes standard with 19-inch wheels, a driver-adjustable self-leveling suspension, driver-adjustable settings for steering and throttle response, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, automatic wipers, automatic bi-xenon headlights, auto-dimming and power-folding outside mirrors, a power trunk lid, a panoramic sunroof and keyless ignition/entry.
The XJ's standard convenience equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver seat memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping heated steering wheel and heated rear seats.
Electronic features include a touchscreen navigation system, voice controls, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a 14-speaker Meridian sound system with a USB port, satellite and HD radio.
An optional Portfolio package adds heated and ventilated 16-way power front seats with massaging function, dual-zone automatic climate control for the rear seats, and heated and ventilated rear seats. Choosing the Portfolio also opens more color choices for interior trim, a faux-suede headliner and additional leather surfacing.
The XJL comes standard with the Portfolio package and is called the XJL Portfolio. In addition to its extra rear-seat space, the long-wheelbase XJ has rear vanity mirrors and manual rear side sunshades. A Rear Seat Comfort package brings more cosseting for rear-seat passengers with a power rear sunshade, folding rear business trays, reclining rear seats with power lumbar and massage, and a rear seat foot rest. Also optional is a 20-speaker Meridian surround-sound audio system and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual displays.
Moving to the XJ Supercharged brings the supercharged V8, along with tauter suspension tuning, 20-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams and the surround-sound audio system. The XJ Supercharged also is available as the longer-wheelbase XJL Supercharged and includes all the extra equipment that comes with the "L" models. A new Sport & Speed Package brings aerodynamic aids and some exclusive interior components to assist in handling the higher 174-mph top speed (compared to 155 mph without the Sport & Speed option).
The XJ Supersport is fitted with the most potent incarnation of the V8, high-performance tires, upgraded leather upholstery and the rear-seat entertainment system. The optional Speed Pack brings the same enhancements as the Sport & Speed package does for the XJ Supercharged.
At the pinnacle of the XJ lineup is the XJL Ultimate. The Ultimate is powered by the 510-hp XJ Supersport engine and has all the Supersport accommodations, except that the rear seat has been configured for only two passengers.
Any 2013 Jaguar XJ can be optioned with adaptive cruise control (which includes a forward collision alert and brake assist) and a heated windshield.
Performance & mpg
For 2013, the base XJ's engine is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that develops 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional. Also new this year is stop-start functionality. As in a hybrid, the system shuts off the engine during times when the car is briefly stationary, such as at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic.
Jaguar estimates a rear-drive XJ equipped with the V6 will achieve 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway. All-wheel drive is optional. The V6-powered XJ with all-wheel drive comes in at a Jaguar-estimated 16 mpg city/25 highway.
The rear-drive XJL Portfolio comes with a 5.0-liter V8 that generates 385 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway.
The 2013 Jaguar XJ Supercharged uses a supercharged version of the 5.0-liter V8 that generates 470 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque. The Supersport gets the highest-tuned variant of the V8, which develops 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. The fuel economy rating for both the high-performance XJ models is 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway.
Every 2013 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. A forward collision alert system and advanced brake assist are included with the optional adaptive cruise control.
In Edmunds brake testing, an XJL with the standard 19-inch wheels and all-season tires stopped from 60 mph in 125 feet, a bit longer than average for this class of car. An XJL Supercharged with summer tires, however, stopped from 60 mph in 106 feet.
The Jaguar image is one of effortless pace, and the 2013 XJ's gracious road manners won't disappoint. Jaguar has retuned the suspension this year to improve ride quality, so now the XJ's larger tires and wheels transmit less impact harshness. The comparatively light weight of the XJ imparts a sense of agility and nimbleness that most rivals can't match, while the driver-selectable settings for engine, transmission and suspension enable a wide range of dynamic choices.
The addition of the supercharged V6 for 2013 means buyers can opt for improved fuel economy in exchange for only a small power downgrade when compared to Jaguar's lusty 5.0-liter V8. On paper, the V6 is a little slower than the old V8, but in the real world you won't notice the difference. It sounds good, too. Of course, if it's outright power you desire, Jaguar still has you covered with either of its beefy supercharged V8s.
Stepping into the XJ and sampling the interior accommodations makes you realize just how severe and clinical other luxury sedans can feel. The XJ cockpit features magnificent natural surfaces, exquisite ambient lighting and some of the best man-made materials found in any vehicle at any price.
There are many intriguing design touches, not the least of which is the XJ's signature rotary transmission control, which rises silently from the center console when the ignition button is pressed. The gauges are virtual displays on a laptop-like screen, replicating mechanical indicators and configurable in a multitude of preferred layouts. Soothing ice-blue lighting is used.
The XJ features a touchscreen interface to command most of the sound, navigation and phone controls. The speed with which the system executes its commands has been improved, and other 2013 enhancements are aimed at upgrading the system's overall operation. It does work better than before, but some people will prefer the systems favored by some competitors that are manipulated via one large control dial.
Relatively tight legroom and the XJ's sloping roof line mean that rear-seat passengers aren't treated to the expansive accommodations found in other flagship sedans; if a roomy backseat is important to you, consider the longer XJL. The XJ's trunk size, at 15.2 cubic feet, is about average for the segment.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
More About This Model
When it comes to large luxury sedans in the U.S., six-cylinder engines are rarely on the options list. BMW quietly introduced a six-cylinder 7 Series last year, while Audi did the same with its A8 just this year.
Jaguar isn't being so coy about it. The new XJ 3.0-liter is an integral part of the company's engine development strategy. The new supercharged V6 will also go into the XF midsize sedan and the highly anticipated F-Type sports car due out next year. It's not overreaching to say that this new V6 will become the bedrock on which the Jaguar range is founded for years to come.
In the case of the 2013 Jaguar XJ, the new engine is part of a raft of subtle change for the 2013 model year that includes revised suspension settings and upgraded infotainment systems. In combination with the introduction of a new all-wheel-drive version, Jaguar is hoping to get the XJ onto shopping lists that may not have even considered the brand an option before.
A New but Familiar Engine
The new V6 is effectively a cut-down version of Jaguar's familiar 5.0-liter V8. The loss of two cylinders has been accompanied by a reduction in capacity from 5,000cc to 2,995cc. To compensate for its reduced displacement, a twin-vortex Roots-type supercharger has been mounted in the "V" of the engine that features an electronically managed boost control, which Jaguar claims increases the operating efficiency by up to 20 percent.
The engine is further enhanced with dual independent variable cam timing (DIVCT) and spray-guided direct injection (SGDI). Together with front and rear balancer weights, Jaguar's engineers aimed to ensure that the V6 matches the refinement of the V8.
In performance terms, the supercharged V6 still gives something away to the free-breathing V8. Despite having the highest specific output (125 horsepower per liter) of any of Jaguar's engines, its peak power of 335 hp at 6,500 rpm is still 45 hp down on the V8. The V6's peak torque of 332 pound-feet is available at 1,750 rpm, but comes up 48 lb-ft down compared to the V8.
Power Where You Need It Most
These figures, though, tell only half the story. The introduction of an eight-speed ZF automatic (now common to all XJs) has made the performance more accessible, while also increasing the fuel efficiency. Eighth gear is so tall that at the legal limit, the engine's barely ticking over. Its EPA ratings have climbed to 18 city/28 highway mpg, which is pretty respectable for such a large sedan.
On paper, the 0-60-mph sprint time increases from 5.4 to 5.7 seconds from V8 to V6, but in the real world, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the two. The throttle response is good, if not quite as rabid as the V8's, and there's plentiful torque available throughout the rev range.
It sounds good, too. Almost inaudible at a standstill, its smooth timbre rises through a gentle crescendo until the upshift at around 6,500 rpm. It's just loud enough to justify the XJ's "sport sedan" aspirations without compromising its luxury pretensions. No doubt the exhaust in particular will enjoy a major retune before this engine debuts in the even sportier F-Type.
A More Refined Ride
When the XJ was originally launched, there was some criticism of its low-speed ride quality. In our original test we wrote, "It's a surprise to discover that this XJ does not soak up low-speed city bumps with quite the velvet pliancy of its ancestors, many of which were exceptional." We were not alone in our verdict and Jaguar has responded by retuning the spring and electronic damper rates across the range. Not surprisingly, it's claiming an improvement in the ride quality without compromising the XJ's handling.
The engineers softened the setup of the standard mode, while retaining the firmer damper settings for the driver-selectable Dynamic mode. On our U.K. test route around Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon, there was evidence of a modest improvement in the low-speed ride, but it would be wrong to suggest the XJ now rides with the cushioned aplomb of a Mercedes S-Class.
Journey out on to the country lanes, though, and the big Jag displays an agility that even the Merc can't match. Switch to Dynamic mode, shift using the steering-wheel-mounted paddles and the 2013 Jaguar XJ does a decent impression of a sport sedan. Indeed, the V6 does such a good job that we'd question whether it's really necessary to pay an extra $8,000 for the V8. This is a nicely balanced, usable car, not an underpowered entry-level model.
The rest of the XJ's changes reflect little more than the car's natural evolution over time. There are upgrades to the satellite navigation system to offer additional points of interest and it's now happy to guide you in Arabic, should you so desire.
There's also a change in the brand responsible for the top-end audio systems. Having made such a song and dance about Bowers and Wilkins, Jaguar has changed supplier. The top-of-the-range, 825-watt, 20-speaker system is now the work of Meridian. It sounds terrific, although we'd never really questioned the quality of the old B&W system.
Is This the Future?
The 2013 Jaguar XJ is not going to overtake the Mercedes S-Class as the default luxury sedan for the ambitious executive. Jaguar isn't ready to play that game just yet. At this point, the company is merely trying to insert the XJ into all the proper segments.
The addition of the less expensive and more efficient XJ 3.0 is one step in that direction. Adding optional all-wheel drive is another. The rest of the work is left to the performance and aesthetic appeal of the XJ, and it delivers readily on both counts.
The modest deficit in performance relative to the V8 is offset in our eyes by the efficiency gains. And given that even the most powerful of sedans in this class are too big to be considered truly sporty, the drawbacks to V6 power come down to prestige more than anything else. If you can get beyond that, the 2013 Jaguar XJ V6 is every bit the luxury sedan that Jaguar promises.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
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Should I lease or buy a 2013 Jaguar XJ?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.