The design has the perfect juxtaposition of boxy brawn and organic curves, while the sloping roofline avoids the cliché German-style aping of the Mercedes-Benz CLS. Instead, it looks almost French, with a gentle trunk tacked on to the rakish roofline ala the Citroen C6. The XJ manages to attract a disproportionate amount of attention for a car that’s been on sale for some time now. We even got curious exotic car owners coming up to us while parking in trendy districts, rushing up to our open driver’s side window and inquiring about “the new Jag limo”.
LIGHT WEIGHT AND POWERFUL
Underneath the striking exterior is a highly advanced (but equally costly) aluminum chassis, a weight saving measure that also allows cash-poor Jaguar to have access to a lightweight but modular platform for vehicles of different sizes. While 4,220 lbs isn’t light by most standards, it undercurrents a Ford Taurus SHO by a couple hundred pounds, not to mention its direct rivals like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the significantly-smaller Maserati Quattroporte.
Establishing any performance car bona fides is almost superfluous, as the XJL really shines when someone else is driving you around. The opulent cabin, finished in your choice of butter soft hides, lets passengers stretch their legs completely in the rear seat, while fold-down tray tables seemingly nicked from a Cathay Pacific first-class cabin are available for resting your blue fin tuna tartar as you take in the latest issue of Barron’s.
The middle seat arm rest can be folded down to bisect the rear seat (in case you tire of being in proximity to your companion) and features a number of compartments (including a cigar holder) lined in purple velvet. The wood extends throughout the cabin, and might as well be “reclaimed” wood from a plutocrat’s now-seized yacht. The door panels are outfitted with solid blocks of dark mahogany with some sort of feline inlay design, while another bow of wood stretches from just aft of the A-Pillar, all the way around the inner lip of the windshield and back around.
The poor shmucks sitting up front will have to contend with plush wing-chair-like front seats with available massagers, as well as the controls to the 1200 Watt Bowers & Wilkins stereo system – another frightfully British touch that we enjoyed immensely. Using “Watch The Throne” as a demo, we cranked the volume up high and reveled in the rich piano samples and thumping bass provided by the B&W unit, although its clarity will be lost on those who favor Mercedes-Benz S550s with trunk-thumping subwoofers.