Back in the 1970s, a man of somewhat eccentric tastes named Geoffrey Stevens loved the exciting performance and elegant lines of his vintage 1959 Jaguar XK150, but decided the car needed a bit more space out back. The result was a custom model known among Jaguar cognoscenti as the “Foxbat” sports estate, an amalgamation of Mr. Stevens’ XK150 and the wagon portion (complete with wood paneling) of a Morris Minor Traveler. Today’s premium-sedan buyers who crave Jaguar speed and beauty while requiring additional space and comfort for rear-seat passengers need not resort to such extremes. Instead, they can realize their desires by driving the new 2012 Jaguar XJL model line of long-wheelbase ultra-luxury sedans.
Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum pronounced the XJ series “the ultimate in comfort, design and refinement.” A reviewer for Motor Trend magazine took a more visceral approach, likening the Jaguar flagship vehicle to “a missile in an Armani suit.” For 2012, the Jaguar XJL model line is enhanced with new interior color combinations and a gathering of XJL-exclusive packages designed to provide more luxury features and personalization choices than ever before.
Jaguar offers the long-wheelbase XJL in three variants: the opulent XJL Portfolio (MSRP: $80,700*), the pulse-quickening XJL Supercharged (MSRP: $91,600*) and the ultra-exclusive XJL Supersport (MSRP: $117,700*).
A showcase of advanced engine technology, the renowned AJ-V8 Gen III 5.0 liter V8 powers all trim levels of the XJ. The XJL Portfolio gets a normally aspirated version of the eight-cylinder, equipped with direct injection and producing 385 hp. On the XJL Supercharged, the 5.0 liter gains a sixth-generation Eaton® Roots-type supercharger and a power bump to 470 hp. Credit revised engine mapping for the boosted roar of 510 hp on the XJL Supersport.
Regardless of engine output, power flows to the rear wheels via a whisper-smooth ZF 6-speed electronic automatic transmission with Jaguar Sequential Shift™ – a system that lets you switch between Drive, Sport Auto and Manual modes, and comes complete with steering-wheel-mounted, one-touch paddles for drivers looking to shift gears for themselves.
Belying its size, the XJL Portfolio returns an EPA-estimated 22 mpg†on the highway (21 highway mpg† for Supercharged models), while the XJL Supersport rockets from 0-60 mph in just 4.7 seconds (the normally aspirated XJL Portfolio covers the same sprint in 5.4 seconds).
Transmission control runs through the JaguarDrive Selector™, a sleek alloy dial that rises to your palm once the engine is fired. A turn of the Selector wheel not only engages Drive or Reverse from Park, but also lets you choose Sport mode, with revised transmission settings. Also on tap are Dynamic and Winter modes, which automatically adjust performance parameters for the throttle, transmission, traction control and Adaptive Dynamics continuously variable suspension to ensure the ideal ride, time after time.
The standard Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system offers three settings: one counteracts any loss of traction as soon as it’s detected; the other – called TracDSC – permits some wheelslip to enhance sporty driving. The system can also be turned off. Featured on Supercharged and SuperSport models, the electronic Active Differential Control transfers torque delivery to each wheel across the rear axle for maximum grip no matter the road conditions.
The lightweight aluminum chassis on the long-wheelbase XJL measures an extra five inches compared to the standard-length model. Those extra inches manifest as a generous increase in rear-seat legroom. Other long-wheelbase model favorites include business trays mounted on the front seatbacks (part of the Executive Package on the XJL Portfolio), rear vanity mirrors and privacy blinds for the rear side windows.
A reviewer for the Wall Street Journal applauded the “rakish, coupe-like silhouette” of the XJL, crediting the blacked-out rear pillars for its near “four-door fastback” styling effect. Reflecting the stunning boldness of its exterior design, the interior of the XJ envelops occupants in a thoroughly contemporary space dominated by stitched leather, genuine wood veneers, metal trim and high-tech infotainment components.
The XJL Portfolio overwhelms with its abundance of standard features. Highlights include four-zone climate control, heated and cooled soft grain leather front seats and rear bench, massage front seats, a panoramic glass roof and xenon headlights. Standouts on the technology side include a Media Hub with two USB ports and Bluetooth® connectivity, a hard-drive-based navigation system, voice recognition, CD/DVD player, an eight-inch HD Touch-screen set in the center console and a unique 12.3-inch Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) Virtual Instrument Panel mounted in place of a traditional analog-gauge cluster.
The XJL Portfolio also comes with a Blind-Spot Monitor, a rear parking camera and a new Jet/Ivory interior color combination, which includes ivory seating with contrast jet stitching and piping.
Available this year on the XJL Portfolio is a new Executive Package, which boasts – among other highline items – rear-seat business trays, upgraded carpet mats, an electric rear sunblind and a combination wood-and-leather heated steering wheel.
The XJL Supercharged adds such standard must-haves as Adaptive Front Lighting, 20-inch Kasuga alloy wheels and a Bowers & Wilkins® 1,200-watt premium surround-sound system. Available by special order only, the XJL Supersport gathers all these standards, then takes refinement to rarified heights by adding such exclusives as Semi-Aniline leather seating, 20-inch Mataiva alloy wheels, a leather headliner, six unique interior trim combination choices and a rear-seat entertainment system, which features dual eight-in LCD screens mounted in the back of the front-seat headrests.
XJL Supersport buyers also benefit from the new Rear Seat Comfort Pack, which aims to maximize comfort with such refinements as four-way lumbar support and a massage function for the rear seats, as well as electric adjustment of the backrest recline angle.
After completing his evaluation of an XJL model, the reviewer for the Wall Street Journal declared the car “hugely civilized,” “desperately fast” and “drenched in high-tech amenities.” You don’t need to go to eccentric extremes to experience such superlatives for yourself. Simply contact us to schedule a test drive of the new 2012 Jaguar XJL line of long-wheelbase flagship sedans.