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Jaguar XJ

Old-world charm with a modern twist.

The XJ portfolio has been expanded this year. A supercharged 340-hp V-6, the same engine found in the XF and the F-type, joins the lineup and can be paired with all-wheel drive. That engine might sound a bit diminutive for a big English saloon, but it’s more than up to the task. It helps that the aluminum-intensive XJ is one of the lighter vehicles in its class and that the eight-speed automatic transmission — new for all XJs — shifts smoothly and quickly. The changes should enable the XJ to compete more directly against the likes of the Audi A8 and the BMW 7-series, which are both available with multiple engine choices and all-wheel drive. That said, the XJ still largely follows its own path. Its avant-garde styling, sure to turn of some customers, is a welcome breath of fresh air in a conservative segment. Inside, warm leather and generous wood trim coexist harmoniously with futuristic bits such as a rotary shifter and an LCD gauge cluster. The navigation/infotainment system includes HD Radio and satellite radio and has two USB ports. A new model, the XJL Ultimate, lives up to its name, with massaging rear seats trimmed in semi-aniline leather, glass tables, and a chilled compartment for beverages. We’d still prefer to be the chauffeur so as to enjoy the precise steering, the balanced handling, and the lust-worthy 510-hp V-8.

COMPETITORS

Audi A8

BMW 7-series

Lexus LS

Mercedes-Benz S-class

new for 2013

A new supercharged V-6 and all-wheel drive join the lineup, as does an eight-speed automatic. All engines incorporate auto stop/start to save fuel in traffic. A limited-build Ultimate trim level, available only on long-wheelbase models, takes the XJ’s already premium cabin to a level of luxury that’s almost sinful.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; and tire-pressure monitoring are standard.

MPG

CITY 15–18

HWY 23–27

PRO

Attention-grabbing design

Lightweight aluminum structure

Excellent performance

CON

Attention-grabbing design

Slow touch-screen interface

Base Price Range: $74,075–$155,875

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Rear-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: XJ, XJ AWD, XJ Supercharged, XJ Supersport, XJL Portfolio, XJL Supercharged, XJL Supersport, XJL Ultimate

BODY STYLE: Sedan, 4- or 5-passenger

ENGINES: 3.0L supercharged V-6, 340 hp, 332 lb-ft

5.0L V-8, 385 hp, 380 lb-ft

5.0L supercharged V-8, 470/510 hp, 424/461 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: 95.0 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: 18.4 cu ft

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