Used 2013 Jaguar XJ XJL Ultimate Review
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.
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.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.