2018 Jaguar XJ

2018 Jaguar XJ Review

Jaguar's largest and classiest luxury sedan gains new muscle for 2018 in the form of the XJR575.
7.3 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Jonathan Elfalan
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2018 Jaguar XJ isn't likely to be the first model that comes to mind when people think of flagship luxury sedans, but that's part of the appeal. Quiet, comfortable and quick in any form, there's much to love about this quintessentially British sedan.

All XJs, including the base R-Sport trim, come nicely equipped. Features such as an adaptive suspension and heated and cooled seats are standard across the board, as are a number of active driver's aids. Planning to spend most of your time in the back seat? The long-wheelbase XJL models offer 5 more inches of legroom and can be outfitted with massaging and reclining rear seats, rear footrests, and a dual-screen rear entertainment system. As far as powertrains go, the XJ offers up a base supercharged V6 that provides more than adequate thrust for daily use, with two levels of supercharged V8s if sports car acceleration is also a requirement.

There are a few downsides to the 2018 XJ, though. Its infotainment interface, though updated for this year, isn't the easiest to use. The XJ also lacks some of the latest technology and ultra-luxury features found in more recently updated rivals such as the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. But even if the XJ isn't a class leader, there's palpable liveliness from behind the wheel, and Jaguar's designs always seem to age slower than most. It's worth checking out.



What's new for 2018

For 2018, Jaguar is offering a more powerful, 575-horsepower version of its performance flagship model, dubbing it the XJR575. The XJ receives a new frameless rearview mirror and an update to its infotainment system, with a larger 10-inch central touchscreen, new software that allows for split-screen operation, and a quicker 4G Wi-Fi hotspot. Jaguar also adds more standard active safety features for its rear-wheel-drive models, including lane departure warning with lane keeping assist and a drowsy driver warning system. For cars with the surround-camera option, a new Forward Traffic Detection feature helps with approaching cross traffic when your view is limited.

We recommend

As much as we like Jaguar's supercharged V8 engines, they're a bit thirsty and more powerful than we'd need for daily purposes. We like the XJL Portfolio model that comes equipped with a more efficient but still punchy supercharged V6 engine, quilted leather upholstery, four-zone climate control, massaging front seats, and heated and ventilated seats for all four passengers. Long-wheelbase XJs such as this benefit from 5 extra inches of rear legroom with little, if any, penalty to driving enjoyment.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Jaguar XJ is a sporty full-size luxury sedan that seats up to five and is available in regular XJ and long-wheelbase XJL models. Trims consist of the R-Sport and the Supercharged for XJ cars and the Portfolio, Supercharged and the new XJR575 for XJL. All models have supercharged engines and eight-speed automatic transmissions and come standard with rear-wheel drive. The R-Sport and Portfolio share a 3.0-liter V6 (340 horsepower, 332 pound-feet) and can be equipped with all-wheel drive. The Supercharged trim gets a 5.0-liter V8 (470 hp, 424 lb-ft) and the XJR575 a higher-output V8 (575 hp, 517 lb-ft).

It may be the base model, but the R-Sport comes very well equipped with standard 19-inch wheels, an adaptive and self-leveling suspension, adjustable drive modes, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, automatic wipers, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, a panoramic sunroof, power soft-close doors, a power trunklid, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, driver condition monitoring (RWD models only), auto-dimming mirrors, and keyless ignition and entry.

Inside the R-Sport you'll find leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated seats, driver-seat memory settings, and a power-adjustable and heated steering wheel. A new larger 10-inch touchscreen anchors the infotainment system featuring navigation, Bluetooth, voice controls, Jaguar's InControl app suite, a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, and a 14-speaker Meridian audio system with a satellite and HD radio, a CD player, digital music storage and a USB connection.

Options and packages available for the R-Sport include the Comfort package that adds upgraded front seats with massage functions, front passenger-seat memory settings, four-zone climate control and power rear sunshade. Other notable options include a surround-view camera, 360-degree parking sensors, an automatic parking system (RWD models only), adaptive cruise control, an upgraded Meridian sound system, and a heated wood-and-leather steering wheel.

The Portfolio model is the equivalent base trim of the long-wheelbase XJL. In addition to the 5 inches of rear legroom gained, you'll get the features from the Comfort package as standard. The options list for the Portfolio is similar to the R-Sport, with the addition of a Premium Rear Seat package that includes reclining rear seats with footrests as well as massage and memory functions, extra-cushy winged headrests for all seats, power rear side-window sunscreens, fold-down tray tables and a rear-seat entertainment system.

The V8-powered Supercharged trim, again available in both the regular and long wheelbase, includes the Portfolio model's standard equipment, along with unique exterior trim, an active locking rear differential, tauter suspension tuning, 20-inch wheels with performance tires, and larger brakes. All of the R-Sport and Portfolio options are also available on the Supercharged model.

Topping the range is the fire-breathing XJR575 models with 25 more horsepower on tap compared to last year's XJR model. If that isn't enough to get excited, you also receive exclusive 20-inch wheels, XJR575-specific exterior and interior body details, a carbon-fiber engine cover, premium paint colors (an extra-cost option on lesser XJs), R-specific suspension tuning, an active exhaust system (varying the amount of exhaust noise), sport seats, aluminum paddle shifters, a heated steering wheel, a suede headliner and unique carbon-fiber interior trim. But due to the XJR's performance focus, you unfortunately lose the massaging seats, and the Premium Rear Seating package and the upgraded Meridian stereo are not available.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our First Drive of the 2016 Jaguar XJL Portfolio AWD (supercharged 3.0L V6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current XJ has received some revisions, including an updated infotainment system and more standard active safety features for rear-drive models. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's XJ.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.3 / 10

Driving

7.5 / 10

Acceleration8.0 / 10
Braking6.5 / 10
Steering7.0 / 10
Handling7.5 / 10
Drivability8.0 / 10

Comfort

8.0 / 10

Seat comfort8.0 / 10
Ride comfort7.0 / 10
Noise & vibration8.5 / 10

Interior

7.0 / 10

Ease of use5.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out9.0 / 10
Roominess7.5 / 10
Visibility7.0 / 10
Quality7.0 / 10

Driving7.5

It's not top-of-the-class, but the Jaguar XJL Portfolio AWD is thoroughly competent, and it has the driving characteristics of a much smaller car. If the 3.0-liter V6 doesn't light your fire, the XJL Supercharged V8 or the top-dog XJR provides much more power in similar packages.

Acceleration8.0

The base engine, a 340-horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter V6, never feels sluggish, even with 4,400 pounds of Jaguar to lug around. It allows the XJ to execute passing maneuvers with ease and sprint from zero to 60 mph in only 5.4 seconds, a solid showing for any sedan.

Braking6.5

The XJL's brake pedal doesn't provide the feel or feedback we'd expect of a dynamic luxury sedan. Despite this numbness, it delivered surprisingly good results in our simulated panic-stop test from 60 mph, with a distance of 111 feet. This is shorter than average for the segment.

Steering7.0

The steering weight is surprisingly light for such a large luxury sedan. Those looking for firmer, European-style steering may find it too feathery.

Handling7.5

Ample grip, all-wheel-drive traction and modest body roll deliver confident handling on twisty roads that's likely beyond what most expect from a luxury sedan. That said, competitors in this space continue to push the envelope and offer sharper response.

Drivability8.0

Acceleration is always smooth and confident thanks to the tractable engine and the quiet decisiveness of the eight-speed transmission. The engine's auto stop-start transition isn't where it needs to be in terms of smoothness, but it can be disabled.

Comfort8.0

Although others have surpassed it in this area, the XJL is still extremely comfortable. It comes with standard dual-pane side glass, four-zone climate control, soft-close doors, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, and one of the quietest cabins around.

Seat comfort8.0

The front seats offer good adjustability with four-way power lumbar and a massaging function, but they may be narrow for some frames. The rear seats gain 5 inches in legroom over the standard-wheelbase XJ; optional premium rear seating adds niceties such as power reclining and electric sunshades.

Ride comfort7.0

The standard adaptive, self-leveling suspension on the XJL is comfortable for the most part, but on poorly maintained roads it can feel busier than you'd expect. The Supercharged and XJR variants get a specially tuned, stiffer suspension, which will exacerbate the busy ride quality.

Noise & vibration8.5

The XJL is exceptionally quiet at any speed with wind and road noise distant and dispersed. It, in fact, isolates you from the outside world so well that the sounds of the seat cooler fans are much more noticeable.

Climate control

The four-zone climate control means all the people on board can have it their way. All controls have physical buttons for easy, straightforward temperature and fan-speed adjustment, and all seats come with heating and cooling functions.

Interior7.0

Rated from the back seat alone, the XJL's interior would be excellent, but ergonomic woes affect its score. The premium rear-seat package — which includes power seats, dual 10-inch screens, laptop tables, electric shades and winged headrests — adds considerable luxury points.

Ease of use5.5

Despite recent updates, the infotainment touchscreen interface still falls behind some newer systems. The graphics are attractive, but functionality is average. Also, the many mirror-finish surfaces throw off glare when it's sunny out and can be distracting.

Getting in/getting out9.0

The large soft-close doors require only a light touch, and access to all seats is excellent. The sloping roofline, often a problem with such highly styled sedans, may only be an issue for tall occupants. Keyless entry with push-button ignition is also standard.

Roominess7.5

The XJ is large enough inside to qualify as a short limousine. There's ample room for rear passengers, but front occupants may feel a little cozy due to the high center console and the way the dash wraps around like a cockpit. There's plenty of headroom both front and rear for average-height adults.

Visibility7.0

The forward view is especially good thanks to the slender front windshield pillars and a long sloping roof. There is a sizable rear three-quarter blind spot, but blind-spot monitoring, a rearview camera, and front and rear parking sonar are standard and alleviate this issue.

Quality7.0

The paint and leather are excellent, but other aspects come up a little short. The interior appears impressive at first glance, but a closer inspection reveals seat cross-stitching that doesn't look as clean as it should, and the use of plastic parts is a little too liberal for a vehicle of this ilk.

Utility6.0

There's good small-item storage front and rear thanks to the center armrest bins and a large glovebox. But the XJ's shallow trunk is slightly smaller than those of most competitors.

Small-item storage

A large glovebox and medium-size center console bins front and rear provide decent storage options, though the door pockets are narrow and not made for water bottles. Both front and rear cupholders have an anti-tip design and a pass-through to accommodate cups with handles.

Cargo space

The XJ's long but shallow trunk has a total carrying capacity of 15.2 cubic feet, which puts it on the lower side of average for the class. The rear seats are fixed in place and don't fold to expand the trunk, which is common in this class of car.

Technology

Jaguar's technological strengths rest on its generous and well-sorted active safety aids, but it falls short of the competition with an average nav system and smartphone integration that can't match Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The response and graphics of the InControl Touch system are improved.

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.