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The Jaguar XJ: Affordable Elegance

February 18th, 2010

jaguar-xj-review.jpgMany vehicles aspire to be labeled as luxurious. Sadly, their approach is often gimmicky and superficial. Scratch beneath the surface of a Lexus, for example, and you will simply find a primped and preened Toyota. Mechanically it is a fine car, but it does not carry the heritage of a true luxury automobile. Not so with the 2010 Jaguar XJ.

Where the underpinnings of a Lexus are straight Toyota with better fit, finish, and appointments, the Jaguar exudes its heritage throughout. This is evident in the gleaming paint work, the Jaguar badge inset in the grill, and the signature wood and leather that grace the cabin. The stance of the car suggests performance, yet the growl of the twin exhausts is a clear reminder of the 5.0 litres of power under the hood. So what does a starting price of $72,000 get you?

Photographs really do not do justice to the redesigned Jaguar XJ. Step into the showroom, and this car immediately captivates you. Unlike other automobiles that need styling tweaks through their model run to “finish” their statement, the designers at Jaguar got it right the first time. Structurally, the body is all-aluminum, properly mating two desirable automotive traits: strength and light weight. The wheels are daring without being garish. The grill blends into the flowing lines of the hood, which then guides your eye to the “cat’s claw” tail lights.

Few cars match the quality of paint in the XJ. The color palette is extensive, and — particularly in the deeper shades like Caviar and Botanical Green — the paint absorbs your image and reflects it back from astounding depths of luminosity. This automobile does not require its owner to darkly tint the windows in hopes of creating a sense of drama or mystery. It exudes power and prestige while retaining styling cues from previous models and proclaims without pomposity, “I am a Jaguar.”

Once your exterior tour is complete, slip into the cabin. It does not matter whether you sit in the front or the back. Luxury surrounds you. True to Jaguar’s tradition, the interior is replete with top quality woods and leathers. (The Jaguar factory actually does the wood and leather manufacturing for many other leading marques — a tribute to the quality of this brand.) The buttery-soft leather seats have both heating and cooling features and myriad adjustments. The luxury package (standard in the long wheelbase vehicle) gives the driver and passengers separate climate controls. The interior lighting is subtle and soothing, imparting the feel of an exclusive club. As a response to this digital world, the XJ sports “virtual” analog gauges, and most functions (performance, entertainment, or environmental) are controlled either from a full-spectrum touch screen display or the steering wheel. The multimedia system boasts twelve hundred watts of power with twenty speakers, a full complement of media options, and DVD screens for the rear passengers. Of interest, many people thought the XJ was too quiet, so the engineers piped in just enough engine “noise” to satisfy the visceral connection Jaguar owners expect with their automobiles.

Not unexpected from a car with the XJ’s bloodlines, this vehicle is very quick and agile. All models sport a five-litre engine, either supercharged or normally aspirated. Horsepower ranges from 385 to 510, with quarter-mile times of 4.7 to 5.1 seconds. Top speed is limited in all supercharged models to 155 mph. However, Jaguars are not all about speed. Among the performance and safety features are Adaptive Cruise Control that senses the flow of surrounding traffic and adjusts appropriately, Adaptive Dynamics that provides a balance between low-speed comfort and high-speed performance handling, Advanced Emergency Brake Assist that pre-loads the brakes in case the vehicle senses a crash is imminent and unavoidable, and Dynamic Stability Control. These and countless other options make the XJ fully customizable for comfort, handling, and performance. Further, if a driver overestimates his driving capabilities, the automobile may minimize or prevent a major tragedy. As with a well-trained valet, the XJ does not impose itself on its owner; it is, however, ready to step in with good manners if it senses you need extra assistance.

To complete your experience, the XJ comes with Jaguar’s unmatched support. The four-year/50,000 mile warranty is comprehensive, although this automobile has been so well tested and built that the warranty is almost superfluous. Coverage extends beyond the car itself to such mundane things as lockout assistance, gasoline delivery, and trip routing. Further, Jaguar’s service network is exceptionally well trained, courteous, and accommodating. As an indication of owner satisfaction, in 2008 J.D. Power scored Jaguar above 36 other brands after surveying more than 35,000 customers.

Many intangible qualities contribute to an automobile’s reputation as luxurious. Among these are its styling, construction, performance, comfort, reliability, and amenities. The 2010 Jaguar XJ is a technological masterpiece joining the lineage of the past to the demands of today’s drivers. It is more than a car. It is a statement — the height to which other cars aspire. When you compare it to vehicles costing considerably more, there is none to match it. It represents affordable elegance at its best. The legend lives on.


This article was supplied to us by Mel MacKaron from Constant Content.


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