Jaguar XJ Series

The 2009 Jaguar XJ sedan is available with two engines, in two different lengths--short wheelbase (SWB) and long wheelbase (LWB)--in a total of six trims. LWB models are stretched by five inches between the front and rear wheels compared to the SWB models, yielding 4.5 inches more rear legroom while having the same trunk space.

The base XJ8 has a 300-horsepower, 4.2L V8 and the SWB body style; the XJ8 L keeps the same equipment but adds the LWB body style, with its expanded back-seat space. Next up is the luxurious Vanden Plas, which also uses the 300-horsepower engine and the LWB body style but is more luxurious with lambswool rugs Peruvian boxwood inlays, and optional multimedia entertainment system. The XJR is equipped in a similarly opulent fashion, but comes with a 400-horsepower, supercharged version of the 4.2L V8. The Super V8 XJ Includes all the luxurious interior amenities of the Vanden Plas plus the pulse-quickening performance attributes of the XJR. The Super V8 Portfolio is packed with Luxury features and is equipped with the supercharged version of the 4.2L V8

Both engines have aluminum construction with chain-driven overhead camshafts, and are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The supercharged engine gets two high-efficiency intercoolers, a twin-pump fuel system and forged, oil-cooled pistons to handle the extra forces. The supercharged models can accelerate to 60 mph in only 5.0 seconds. Yet the XJ has better fuel economy than most other cars in its class, with EPA estimates of 16 city, 25 highway.

Aluminum alloys are also used extensively throughout the XJ's body construction, which enables it to be significantly lighter than most other vehicles its size. It's strong as well; Jaguar says that the aluminum front structure can withstand impacts of up to 10 mph with no damage to the main bodyshell. The sheetmetal is also designed for easy collision repair.

The interior is especially roomy in LWB models, where back-seat occupants have picnic trays that fold down from the back of the front seats. With optional equipment, rear-seat occupants can also have dual entertainment screens and individual audio inputs. In the Super V8, there's full four-way power adjustment for outboard back-seat occupants, and the climate-control system has four zones.

Supercharged models get a number of upgrades to manage the increased power, including larger performance disc brakes on all four wheels and revised suspension settings. Across the line, the Enhanced Computer Active Suspension Technology (ECATS) system controls damping characteristics to assure both a smooth ride and crisp handling.

Materials vary depending on the model. Standard XJ8 and XJ8 L models get soft-grain leather trim with piping in a range of colors, and Burl Walnut veneers are included. Vanden Plas and Super V8 models get Peruvian boxwood or optional Elm veneers. The supercharged XJR gets aluminum exterior finish details, rather than the chrome embellishments found on other models.

All XJ models come very well equipped, but top features in the line include radar-based adaptive cruise control, front park control, a 320-watt Alpine sound system, a voice-activated navigation system and a rear DVD entertainment system with dual screens.

All models come with a 4-year/50,000 mile basic warranty and a 6-year/ unlimited mile corrosion warranty.

Editors' Review

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Few cars have aged as gracefully as the Jaguar XJ. With its flowing body lines and stylish face, Jaguar's big sedan looks as fresh now as it did when it first hit the scene in 2009. That's a good thing, since the aging XJ needs to contend with the much newer Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

What's an automaker to do if they have the senior citizen in one of the most hotly contested segments? If you're Jag, you send it to the gym. Meet the new range-topping XJ: the XJR575.

A stronger heart

The XJR575 replaces the XJR in Jaguar's lineup, using a massaged version of the company's well-liked 5.0-liter, supercharged V8. As its name suggests, this XJ produces 575 horsepower -- up from 550 in the XJR -- while torque output increases 17 pound-feet, to 517. Together with a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive, the XJR575 hits 60 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds and tops out at 186 mph. Those are both nice improvements over the XJR's 4.4-second 0-60 time and 174-mph top end.

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The Good The XJR575's 5.0-liter supercharged V8 is punchy and makes all the right noises. Among the top handling vehicles in its class. Still easy on the eyes after all these years.

The Bad Jag's flagship sedan is nearly a decade old. Daily ride comfort is on the firmer end of the spectrum.

The Bottom Line The Jaguar XJR575 is still an entertaining ride and offers surprising value.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 8.5
  • Features 8
  • Design 8
  • Media 7.5

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