2011 Jaguar XJ Preview

FAST FACTS
  • XJ, XJL, Supercharged and Supersport models available
  • Engines range from 385-hp V-8 to 510-hp supercharged V-8
  • Six-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Shift feature
  • Air suspension with continuously variable damping
  • Available Active Differential Control system
  • Lightweight aluminum structure, made with 50-percent recyclable materials
  • Standard and long-wheelbase models, the latter with 5 extra inches of leg room
  • 15.2 cubic feet of cargo room in the trunk
  • Standard panoramic roof
  • High-definition "virtual instruments"
  • Touch-screen navigation, audio, video and climate control
  • Available 1,200-watt Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system
  • Media Hub connectivity for portable audio and video devices
  • Wide range of interior colors, leathers and veneers
  • Xenon headlights and LED taillights
  • Price range is $72,500 to $115,000
  • On sale Spring of 2010

Introduction

2011 Jaguar XJFor decades, it's been easy to spot Jaguar's flagship sedan: Quad headlights, an upright metal grille, fluted hood and fenders, a tapered fuselage body, lots of brightwork trimming the greenhouse, dual exhaust outlets, and a traditional leaping cat hood ornament twinkling ahead of the driver. Though still a handsome machine, the XJ has evolved at a glacial pace, the most recent edition criticized for looking old when it was completely new.

The redesigned 2011 Jaguar XJ represents a radical departure after more than 40 years of evolutionary design. It goes on sale in the Spring of 2010 ranging from $72,500 to $115,000, offered in XJ, Supercharged and Supersport models. Each model is available in regular- or long-wheelbase body styles, the latter adding 5 inches of leg room for rear-seat occupants.

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2011 Jaguar XJ

Design

Built upon the lightweight aluminum space frame of the previous XJ, the 2011 Jaguar XJ's aluminum structure weighs 300 pounds less than an equivalent steel frame, according to Jaguar, and is made from 50-percent recycled material. Jaguar says that saves three tons of carbon dioxide emissions during the construction of each car.

Taking the general design theme of the XF to the next level, the 2011 Jaguar XJ is characterized by its large mesh grille; thin, contoured Xenon headlights; panoramic glass roof and teardrop greenhouse; arching, blacked-out C-pillars that Jaguar says deliver the illusion of an "exotic floating roof"; and thin vertical LED taillights framing an expanse of sheetmetal punctuated by a single, leaping cat badge. Pop the trunk, and there's 15.2 cubic feet of space for luggage.

Inside, the vast expanses of wood trim and imposing dash that denoted luxury in the previous XJ are gone, replaced by a "floating" instrument panel wrapped in leather, fronting a thin band of wood wrapping the cabin from door to door. Chrome detailing and piano-black trim complement high-definition Virtual Instruments and an 8-inch touch screen to give the XJ's cabin a high-tech look and feel, but Jaguar made sure to include an analog clock complete with a spun metal face and iridescent blue background, a look the company says was inspired by luxury watches. Buyers of the Supersport model get a leather headliner, semi-aniline leather seat upholstery, and wood veneer trim with laser inlays.

2011 Jaguar XJ

Hardware

Jaguar installs one of three engines into the 2011 XJ. The XJ and XJL receive a 5.0-liter V-8 making 385 hp and 380 lb.-ft. of torque. The XJ Supercharged has, as you might guess, a supercharged version of that 5.0-liter V-8 making 470 hp and 424 lb.-ft. of torque. The XJ Supersport also includes a supercharger, but this version of that 5.0-liter V-8 is whipping up 510 hp and 461 lb.-ft. of torque.

A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard in each model, powering the rear wheels, and no, it's not a J-gate. It's a sequential-shift transmission, with paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel. Each 2011 XJ is equipped with an air suspension and Adaptive Dynamics, Jaguar's continuously variable damping system. Models with a supercharged engine also receive Active Differential Control.

Technology

In an effort to appeal to an increasingly "connected" clientele, the 2011 Jaguar XJ is equipped with a Media Hub. The Media Hub includes two USB ports, an auxiliary input jack and Bluetooth audio streaming. Jaguar says the Media Hub allows owners to connect iPods, iPhones, Blackberrys and laptops to the XJ. The new XJ is also available with a 1,200-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio system (standard on Supercharged and Supersport models), with a CD/DVD player, HD radio and Sirius satellite radio.

Jaguar says its new Virtual Instruments technology renders "sophisticated, and beautifully detailed" high-definition displays that provide all of the functions performed by traditional dials.