2014 Jaguar XJ Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Exquisite interior style and materials
- strong V8 engines
- nimble handling for its class
- abundant standard features
- good value for the segment.
- Backseat isn't as spacious as rivals
- fewer and less advanced high-tech features.
The 2014 Jaguar XJ projects distinction, exclusivity and English refinement. The new high-performance XJR version also makes it one of the sportiest elite luxury sedans available.
Germany is bound to be well represented in your search for an elite full-size luxury sedan. Each of its entries offers the utmost in craftsmanship, technology and cutting-edge engineering, which is exactly what you'd expect from the nation that pioneered the 21st-century luxury automobile. However, these Teutonic luxury sedans are so often missing something: character. For that, you must make your way across the North Sea to England and the 2014 Jaguar XJ.
The XJ offers uniquely eye-catching style, a high-fashion interior and a driving experience that's more sport sedan than limousine. It's as alive and dynamic as its competitors are cold and calculating. A lightweight aluminum body helps sets the XJ apart from its heaviest competitors (which sometimes outweigh it by 400-600 pounds) and gives it handling prowess that befits its namesake. The upshot is that you'll feel more like a driver and less like a chauffeur when you're behind the wheel of this Jaguar. The fact that the XJ typically doesn't sell in the same numbers as its rivals also gives it an air of exclusivity.
For 2014, Jaguar has upped the XJ's performance potential with the XJR model. With a 550-horsepower supercharged V8, unique suspension tuning and sport seating, the XJR is the obvious choice for the insatiable performance enthusiast. Of course, the supercharged V6 that debuted last year will suit most buyers just fine given its respectable fuel economy and available all-wheel drive for cold weather areas.
So what are the downsides to owning a 2014 Jaguar XJ? Although the XJ's cabin is a feast for the eyes and fingertips, the quality of construction isn't quite as bulletproof as its primary, German-brand competitors: the 2014 Audi A8, 2014 BMW 7 Series and 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Technology is another area where the XJ brings up the rear. Its touchscreen interface is less advanced and, ultimately, less functional than rival infotainment systems, and there are several high-tech features (especially in the active safety realm) that are not offered at all. However, for those of you who let your emotions rule your car buying decisions, the stylishly refined and, at times, quite exhilarating Jaguar XJ is bound to have lasting appeal.
2014 Jaguar XJ models
The 2014 Jaguar XJ is a five-passenger full-size luxury sedan available in regular (XJ) and long-wheelbase (XJL) variants. The XJ comes in base, Supercharged and XJR trim levels, while the XJL has the Portfolio, Supercharged and XJR trim levels.
The base XJ comes standard with 19-inch wheels, an adaptive and self-leveling suspension, driver-adjustable steering and throttle settings, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, automatic wipers, automatic bi-xenon headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, a power trunk lid, a panoramic sunroof and keyless ignition/entry.
Standard convenience equipment includes soft-close doors, 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.
An 8-inch touchscreen system anchors the multimedia features, augmented with a navigation system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice controls and a 14-speaker Meridian audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, digital music storage and a USB connection.
The optional Portfolio package adds heated and ventilated 16-way power front seats with massage function, passenger seat memory settings, 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 simulated suede headliner and additional leather surfacing.
Most Portfolio package features come standard on the XJL Portfolio, although massaging seats remain an option. In addition to the extra rear seat space, the long-wheelbase model has rear vanity mirrors and manual rear sunshades. An optional package brings front seat massage (also available as a stand-alone item) and additional leather-covered surfaces, including the headliner. Adaptive headlights, automatic high-beam control and a 20-speaker Meridian surround-sound audio system are also available.
Moving to the XJ Supercharged brings the supercharged V8, along with tauter suspension tuning, 20-inch wheels with performance tires, plus the adaptive headlights, automatic high-beams and 20-speaker Meridian audio system. A long-wheelbase model is also available. A Sport and Speed Package adds a higher top-speed limiter, exclusive exterior and interior trim details and 14-way sport seats.
The new XJR, also available in regular and long-wheelbase versions, comes with the most potent V8 engine of all, exclusive 20-inch wheels, XJR-specific suspension tuning, quad-tip exhaust and the contents of the Sport and Speed package.
Any 2014 Jaguar XJ can be optioned with adaptive cruise control (which includes a forward collision alert and brake assist) and a heated windshield. An even more powerful 26-speaker Meridian sound system is available for the Portfolio and Supercharged trims.
Performance & mpg
The 2014 Jaguar XJ base and XJL Portfolio models feature a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine generating 340 hp and 332 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/27 mpg highway) for the rear-drive model. The AWD model is rated at 19 mpg combined (16 mpg city/24 mpg highway).
Upgrading to the XJ Supercharged model gets you a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 with 470 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque, while the new XJR extracts 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque from a higher-performance version of this engine. Both models return an EPA-estimated 15/23/18 mpg.
In Edmunds testing, a Jaguar XJR accelerated from zero to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. An XJL Portfolio AWD was noticeably slower at 6.1 seconds.
Every 2014 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 (it primes the brakes if an accident is imminent) are included with the optional adaptive cruise control. Conspicuous in their absence are lane-keeping assist, automated parking, rear cross-traffic alert, head-up display and night-vision capabilities that are available on other flagship sedans.
In Edmunds brake testing, an XJL Portfolio with the standard 19-inch wheels and all-season tires stopped from 60 mph in 124 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 similarly equipped XJR did it in 105 feet.
The Jaguar image is one of effortless pace, and the 2014 XJ's gracious road manners don't disappoint. Jaguar retuned the suspension last year to improve ride quality, and indeed, the big sedan rides better, even with larger wheels and tires, but it still has trouble isolating harsh impacts. Aluminum construction makes the XJ lighter than it looks, and the Jag has an agility that most rivals can't match. Driver-selectable settings for the engine, transmission and suspension enable a wide range of dynamic choices.
The supercharged V6 offers fuel economy on par with the class (nearly identical to the Audi A8, for example), pulls more effortlessly than the base model V8 it replaced and will hit the sweet spot for most buyers. It sounds great, too.
But if it's outright power you crave, either of the beefy supercharged V8 engines will deliver. The new Jaguar XJR tops the lineup with the most power and a stiffer suspension. While not punishing by any definition, the XJR is best suited for the driver who appreciates, and intends to exploit, its performance potential. You probably wouldn't take the XKR to a track day event, but if you did, it wouldn't disappoint. Meanwhile, this highest-performance model in the 2014 Jaguar XJ lineup is hugely satisfying when you crack the whip on the open road.
Settling into the Jaguar XJ makes you realize just how austere and clinical other luxury sedans have become. The XJ features magnificent natural surfaces, exquisite ambient lighting and some of the best man-made materials found in any vehicle at any price.
Old World luxury meets contemporary aesthetics with a digital instrument panel replicating mechanical dial indicators in a variety of user-configurable layouts and bathed in soothing ice-blue lighting. The XJ's touchscreen interface commands most of the sound, navigation and phone controls. While its speed and operation has improved over the years, competitors' systems (which are typically manipulated via one large control dial and adjacent menu buttons) are easier and quicker to use and give the driver control over a wider array of vehicle functions.
Although its vast exterior profile suggests otherwise, the XJ's sloping roof line sacrifices both front- and rear-seat headroom for style. In the base models, there's also not as much legroom back there as you'd expect. If you need a roomy backseat, consider the long-wheelbase L models, but bear in mind that no XJ will feel as limo-like as its competitors do. Similarly, the XJ's 15.2-cubic-foot trunk is average in size for the segment, but has a few awkward protrusions that limit your loading options, as well as a shallow profile.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
More About This Model
A funny thing happened on our way to proclaiming the Jaguar XFR-S as the greatest sedan in the British marque's history. We drove the 2014 Jaguar XJR Long Wheelbase.
Not that we didn't enjoy our time with the flashy 550-horsepower 2014 XFR-S, with its monster brakes and even more monstrous rear wing. It captivated us with a raucous supercharged V8, on-demand burnouts and powerslides, and sublime twisty-road tenacity.
The problem is that the larger, quieter, more comfortable and classier Long Wheelbase Jaguar XJR (the old man's Jaguar) can do pretty much everything the XFR-S can do.
Maybe there's some kind of new, new math going on here that only the Brits understand. Because this doesn't add up.
Bigger, but Lighter
With 550 hp at 6,000 rpm from a direct-injected supercharged 5.0-liter V8, you'd think the XJR's goodness would begin and end with its engine. You'd be wrong.
Not that we mind 502 pound-feet of torque churning the XJR forward with instant neck-wrenching grunt from just 2,500 rpm. But what separates the XJR from the smaller XFR-S isn't what it has, but rather what its all-aluminum body structure doesn't have. Weight.
Get ready to be baffled: The XFR-S, which rides on a 114.5-inch wheelbase and measures 195.3 inches overall, tipped our scales at 4,382 pounds. The 2014 Jaguar XJR LWB, which rolls on a 124.3-inch wheelbase and takes up 206.8 inches bow to stern, weighed in at 4,351 pounds. That's 31 fewer pounds!
Bigger, but Faster
The lack of mass and the traction of a longer wheelbase translated into stunning acceleration times for the XJR, especially so considering this is a two-wheel-drive sedan distinctly lacking launch control. The sprint to 60 mph took just 4.1 seconds (3.8 seconds with a 1-foot rollout like at a drag strip), with the quarter-mile arriving in 12.1 seconds at 117.6 mph. The XFR-S was a tenth slower, though with a higher trap speed of 118.5 mph.
This, even though the XJR's ZF-built eight-speed paddle-shiftable automatic transmission takes its time going through the gears. The last Porsche Panamera Turbo S we tested, with all-wheel drive and a lickety-split-shifting PDK transmission, proved slightly quicker, clawing its way to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and through the quarter in 11.9 seconds at 117.2 mph.
And it's out on a two-lane road, when you need to pass a line of big rigs, that you come to realize true luxury isn't just a sumptuous interior. But rather, it's the ability to summon huge bundles of XJR horsepower with barely more than half throttle.
Although the XJR wasn't put on this earth to go head to head with plug-in hybrids for fuel miserliness, Jag fitted the car with a standard stop-start system that automatically shuts the engine off at stoplights.
It's fairly seamless in operation, the engine firing back up the second you take your foot off the brake. One downside to the stop-start is that the air-conditioning can't keep up during shutdown on hot days. If the system annoys you, it can be turned off via the Eco button on the center stack.
The EPA rates the XJR LWB at 18 mpg combined (15 city/23 highway), which matches it well against the Audi S8, Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, Porsche Panamera Turbo S and Maserati Quattroporte.
We averaged 16.7 mpg overall, but the 21.6 mpg we achieved on our 116-mile Edmunds test loop (using stop-start) showed what this car is capable of with a reasonably tepid right foot.
Besides the lightweight chassis, the 2014 Jaguar XJR comes standard with two other ultra-important facets: two-mode adjustable constantly adaptive dampers and hydraulic (not electric) power steering.
At our test track the big Jag produced only 0.86g circling the skid pad, but still turned in the best slalom we've recorded for an XJ at 66.6 mph. Neither figure will put fear into the Panamera Turbo S, which is good for 68.9 mph through the slalom and 0.96g lateral acceleration.
But the magic happens for the XJR LWB when you wick up the pace on a twisty road. It's there that the steering, which seemed a bit light at the test track, comes alive with a wonderfully intuitive nature. Wherever you point the XJR's leather-wrapped steering wheel is exactly where it will go, while the perfectly tuned dampers make it feel like a midsize sport sedan.
Throw the XJR into a corner and suddenly the cockpit seems to shrink and envelop you. The 5 extra inches of wheelbase and huge rear overhang are all but forgotten. All you think about is the steering's precision and feedback, and that nicely controlled powerslide at corner exit. Dynamic mode makes the throttle delivery a bit abrupt, but seriously, who would've guessed you could have this much fun in a car this large?
As with other Jags with adaptive dampers, the difference between Normal and Dynamic modes isn't that great. You can take high-speed sweepers in Normal and think nothing of it, or leave it in Dynamic mode on a city street without rattling your teeth loose.
That said, if you're expecting anything resembling a plush ride, you're buying the wrong XJ model. The suspension is never truly harsh, but it is taut and there's a palpable level of stiffness ensured by the car's structure, 30 percent stiffer springs and ultralow-profile rubber.
The XJR shares the same 15-inch front and 14.8-inch rear brake rotors clamped by two-piston front and single-piston rear calipers as the XFR-S, along with identically sized Pirelli P Zeros (265/35ZR20s up front and 295/30ZR20s at the rear). Yet once again the XJR outperformed the XFR-S, stopping from 60 mph in 105 feet versus 108.
Pedal travel was on the long side during hard back-road running, but there was never a lack of braking power. Around town pedal feedback was perfectly linear.
Blindingly Good Cabin
Unlike some of the more staid German marques, the XJR's interior is a vibrant mix of leather, carbon fiber and chrome. The workmanship is meticulous, without a squeak or rattle to be heard throughout our time with the car.
We particularly love the huge swiveling dash vents, which make it easy to direct air exactly where you want it. And you might not realize it at first because it's so good, but the XJR's instrument panel is in fact a virtual rendition of analog gauges. The 8-inch touchscreen makes it easy to navigate through the menus, but it should be a requirement that the navigation system in all cars this powerful show the current speed limit. Because you're probably exceeding it.
Some testers also noted that if the sun hits the chrome trim just right (or just wrong) it can temporarily blind you.
The seats offer the body-hugging bolstering you'd expect in a car with the XJR's need for speed, without sacrificing comfort. But the XJR's low-slung body forced Jag to be stingy with headroom, especially in the rear. That said, the LWB's extra 4.9 inches translate to near-limitless rear leg- and foot room.
As further proof of its split personality, the XJR is an utterly silent traveler. Our sound readings showed it to be several decibels quieter than the Panamera Turbo S at full-throttle and 70 mph top-gear cruising. Wind, road and tire noise are nearly nonexistent.
Starting at $119,895, including destination ($123,870 as tested), the 2014 Jaguar XJR LWB is considerably less costly than both the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG and Porsche Panamera Turbo S. It's more of a driver's car than the big, heavy Benz. And while the Jag doesn't offer the all-out performance numbers of the Panamera, its graceful body slices a far prettier line through the air while also offering the purer thrills of rear-wheel drive.
Ultimately, what sets the 2014 Jaguar XJR LWB apart from its rivals are its uncanny do-all abilities. It's as quick as all but the priciest exotics and rips through back roads like a much smaller sport sedan, yet can still play the role of limousine with an inviting interior that manages to be both cozy and gigantic.
That it is one of the finest ultra sedans ever created is without question. And despite the XFR-S's statement and speed, we'll take the more subtle, versatile and quicker XJR. Suddenly, getting old just got a lot better.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2014 Jaguar XJ Overview
The Used 2014 Jaguar XJ is offered in the following submodels: XJ Sedan, XJ XJR, XJ XJR LWB. Available styles include XJL Portfolio 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl S/C 8A), XJL Portfolio 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl S/C 8A), 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl S/C 8A), 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl S/C 8A), XJL Supercharged 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl S/C 8A), XJR LWB 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl S/C 8A), Supercharged 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl S/C 8A), and XJR 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl S/C 8A). Pre-owned Jaguar XJ models are available with a 3.0 L-liter gas engine or a 3.0 L-liter flex-fuel (FFV) engine, with output up to 340 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2014 Jaguar XJ comes with all wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 8-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2014 Jaguar XJ comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.
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Should I lease or buy a 2014 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.