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2012 Jaguar XJL Supercharged

Posted Dec 16th 2012 12:00PM

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The Largest of Cats Has Power and Presence



When it comes to the finer things in life, it seems the sky is the limit when it comes to six-figure luxury sedans. There is most certainly a lot to choose from theses days. Although we'll admit the sleek Jaguar XJ isn't exactly the most popular option on the road, that's partially what makes it something a more special than your average German or Japanese luxo-barge.

The Jaguar brand has a lengthy history of blending luxury with performance in a unique and often unmistakable sport sedan package. Although the 2012 Jaguar XJ is designed to deliver seductive style and seamless substance aimed to appease even the most discriminating driver, we obviously had to find out for ourselves. With that, we promptly scheduled some seat time in a pair of big cats, the long wheelbase XJL Portfolio and XJL Supercharged versions.

We charted a course for a weekend jaunt in the Muskoka cottage country region to experience some British luxury and see what tricks the Jaguar XJL Supercharged had hidden up its sleeve. Thanks to its advanced all-aluminum construction, we quickly discovered this well-poised cat was agile on its feet and had plenty more to offer discerning buyers.
Related Gallery2012 Jaguar XJL




Jaguar currently offers its full-size XJ luxury sedan with three different engine options in a choice of either standard XJ or long wheelbase XJL format, which adds an extra 5-inches of rear seat legroom. The new V6 and AWD options will be available in early 2013. It competes in a tough group of upscale sedans suck as the BMW 750Li, Mercedes S550, Audi A8L and Lexus LS460 F Sport

The recognizable silhouette and flowing lines of the current Jaguar XJL are a far cry from the frumpy shape worn by its previous generations. While most luxury sedans in this segment tend to share similarly bland shapes, this curvacious and contemporary Jaguar stands out as the sleek profile almost resembles its leaping cat logo. The upgraded 20-inch Orona polished alloy wheels with high performance tires for $2,500 are also an appropriate upscale touch.

From its distinctive front grille down to the oval exhaust tips, this shapely Jag has just enough unique style to keep you from blending in with the less adventurous country club crowd. Just like its British heritage would indicate, the XJL offers well executed refinement with a healthy dose of subtle Jaguar characteristics. When the XJL first appeared, we found the rear end to be a tad bland with it's flat slab trunk but ironically, it has begun appealing to us over time and cannot be mistaken for anything else.



Our tester was equipped with a 470-hp supercharged motor found
beating within the longer wheelbase body.

The standard XJL is fitted with a naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8 with 385 horsepower, while the XJL Supercharged engine bumps power up to 470 horsepower. At the top of the feline food chain you'll find the XJ Supersport based on the same supercharged 5.0-litre V8, but tuned to produce a whopping 510 horsepower. Our tester was equipped with the 470-hp supercharged motor found beating within the long wheelbase body, offering the best of both worlds in performance and comfort. There is a high degree of flexibility with this sport-infused British sedan, as it easily adjusts between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with the press of a 'checkered flag' button.

Blistering acceleration is never an issue here, even with the NA motor but the blown V8 can unleash enough fury to push occupants firmly into the seats as its digital tach continues to climb fast. If tire-smoking motor madness isn't your thing, the charged V8 also shines under normal daily driving conditions and rewards drivers with a refined ride and seamless shifts. Light to light, this mill can launch the big cat effortlessly with 424 lb-ft of torque to propel it to 60 mph (96 km/h) in just under 5-seconds.

The driving dynamics of the XJL Supercharged are almost deceiving for such a big car. We were able to tackle on and off ramps with vigor, making us actually forget they are driving a 1,880 kg (4,145-pound) land yacht (the XJL Portfolio is actually under 4,000-pounds). There was no tire squeal, no understeer, just a decent ability to hold a corner and transfer weight far better than we expected. The ride-quality is exceptional with all the stops pulled out for this saloon car and the longer wheelbase helped soak up everything along our path. Braking was sure and effective thanks to ample calipers and rotors.




The recognizable figure and flowing lines of the current Jaguar XJ are
a far cry from the frumpy shape worn by its previous generation
.

Inside, drivers are greeted with the James Bond-ish gear selector known as JaguarDrive, which unobtrusively rises and lowers from the centre console. Admittedly, we did play with this gadget watching it rise and lower from the console to no end. Our XJL Supercharged was also outfitted with soft and supportive London Tan sport seats with 18-way adjustment and an addictive massage feature with heat and ventilation. Meanwhile, the steering wheel mounted paddle shift levers are nicely tucked away so they are barely visible to passengers but easy to grab at.

One of the most thoughtful features (especially when driving along pitch black cottage roads at night) are the XJL's intelligent high beam headlights which automatically selects low beam when it detects oncoming vehicles and returns to full high beam when the traffic has passed. We kinda wish all cars were this smart! The Bi-function HID Xenon headlamps also react to speed and steering with remarkable precision.




Our XJL Supercharged was also outfitted with soft and supportive London Tan sport seats with 18-way adjustment and an addictive massage feature with heat and ventilation.

As for the more obvious Jaguar characteristics, the impressive interior illumination package ($1,700) offers lighting you have to see to appreciate, as the large retro-style air vents glow at night and set the tone for a striking Navy-clad dash layout. While other ambient lighting systems appear corny and trendy, this one works for us, it adds more class to the cabin and was a postive touch-point for various passengers.

The love it or hate it TFT digital gauge cluster clearly has a lot of thought behind it, as it mimics analogue dials and offers multiple functions including vehicle menus and info. Heck, the digital cluster even changes to a ghosted red shade theme with a small checkered flag on the side to indicate when you're driving in 'dynamic' mode. While we're not huge fans of mimicking old school dials, this system acts seamless while others might be choppy.



Those lucky enough to be rear seat passengers in the Supercharged XJL
get to experience living in the lap of luxury
.

The 8-inch centre mounted touch screen also integrates flawlessly and allows easy control of all audio/entertainment, climate and navigation controls. Those lucky enough to be rear seat passengers in the Supercharged XJL get to experience living in the lap of luxury with the long wheelbase's extra legroom ($3,000 over standard wheelbase model), business tray tables, and rear seat entertainment system ($2,500) with wireless hand held control screen.

With a 1,200 watt surround-sound system onboard, the audio quailty was certainly top shelf. The system also features a hard disk drive, satellite radio, USB, iPod connection and Media Hub but Jaguar has since switched suppliers. The 2013 models will come with a revised system engineered by Meridian, a U.K.-based supplier.



Although the standard XJ has a base price starting at $88,000, our as tested 470-horsepower XJL Supercharged added up to grand total of $115,200. But, why stop there when you can go all-out with the 510-horsepower XJL Supersport starting at $135,500 to contend with the Audi, S8, BMW Alpina B7 and Mercedes S63 AMG.

Overall, the Jaguar XJL is a solid alternative to the often predictable world of full-size luxury sedans. Not only has it has redifined and reshaped the way many thought of the prestigious British brand, but also proven itself as a true contender for those seeking upscale exclusivity and style. With a number of popular German and Japanese flagship sedan offerings to contend with, Jaguar's XJL was designed and engineered to deliver something different and remarkably special. Based on our time with the XJL, we'd welcome the spacious, luxurious and sporty sedan back in our garage any day.

And if money is no concern, there's always the limited XJL Ultimate (listed without a price on the Jaguar Canada website), built for chauffeuring pampered executives with reclining and massaging rear seats, a rear business table and a set of champagne flutes that store conveniently under a rear table. Of course, things wouldn't be complete without a built in champagne chiller also found between the rear seats. Both rear passengers also get to enjoy an iPad and keyboard as well... Ultimate indeed.

Image Credit: Copyright 2012 Dave Pankew / AOL

Category: Luxury, Jaguar, Reviews, Sedan, Performance, New-Car-Guide

Tags: 2012, 2012 Jaguar XJ, 2012 jaguar xj sport and speed, 2012 Jaguar XJL, Jaguar, Review, Test Drive, XJ, XJL

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