2005 XJ New Car Test Drive
Jaguar expands its XJ series for 2005 with three long-wheelbase variations: the XJ8 L, the ultra-luxurious Vanden Plas, and the high-performance Super V8. The new models offer enough rear-seat room to recline and watch a movie while having lunch on a flip-down wooden tray, all coddled in rich wood and leather. Though stretched five inches, these longer and roomier Jaguars are just as quick, just as nimble and just as fuel-efficient as the standard-length versions.
Jaguar's flagship, the XJ8 was launched as an all-new model for 2003, along with the high-performance XJR. Both were greatly improved, offering superior ride and handling to their predecessors thanks to their rigid lightweight aluminum structure and computer-controlled double-wishbone suspensions.
Jaguar now has a full selection of all-new XJs, and any one of them represents a great choice among luxury cars. Unlike other cars in this class, the XJ models are not burdened with cumbersome technology. Their considerable sophistication is tucked out of the way, so the driver benefits from technology without being annoyed or distracted by it.
Most important, these big Jaguars offer true luxury. They make a statement when they roll up to an event and their interiors are rich and beautiful, trimmed in leather and wood. They ride wonderfully, are stable at speed and hang onto corners with tenacious grip. They offer quick acceleration and smooth, powerful braking. All of that, and they cost less than their German competitors.
Jaguar XJ comes as five models. All are powered by 4.2-liter V8 engines and are built on a platform that makes extensive use of lightweight but strong aluminum architecture. The XJ8 and XJR are built on the standard 119.4-inch wheelbase. The XJ8L, Vanden Plas, and Super 8 are built on a longer 124.4-inch wheelbase that stretches the overall length of the vehicle from the standard 200.4 inches to 205.3 inches.
The XJ8 ($60,830) is Jaguar's flagship sedan, and it comes standard with a long list of luxury features. It's powered by a 4.2-liter V8 rated at 294 horsepower and comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, self-leveling air suspension, dynamic stability control, power-adjustable foot pedals, reverse parking assist, and frontal, side-impact and side-curtain airbags.
The XJ8 L ($62,830) is equipped like the XJ8, but offers more room in its back seat.
The Vanden Plas ($70,330) is the most luxurious Jaguar with a twin-stitched leather dashboard, burl walnut trim with Peruvian boxwood inlays, lambs wool rugs, 16-way power front seats, an electric rear sun blind, heated seats and steering wheel and a 320-watt Alpine premium audio system. This is true luxury.
The XJR ($75,995) is a high-performance model built on the standard wheelbase. XJR features a supercharged version of the V8 engine that pumps out 390 horsepower. It also gets a firmer suspension and larger Brembo brakes, plus bigger wheels and tires, radar-based adaptive cruise control and a 320-watt Alpine Premium audio system.
The Super V8 ($89,995) has the same powertrain as the XJR but puts it on the longer wheelbase and adds four-zone climate control, a DVD-based touch-screen navigation system, DVD-based rear multimedia entertainment system with two display screens, an electrically adjustable rear seat and front parking sensors.
Because of the extensive standard equipment, the options list may seem limited, though any XJ can be equipped with a heated windshield. Navigation and the rear-seat entertainment system are available as options on the XJ8, XJ8 L and Vanden Plas.