2007 XJ New Car Test Drive
Feature for feature, the Jaguar XJ sedans represent one of the best values among full-size luxury cars. It offers features and comfort comparable to the top-line luxury sedans from Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz for thousands less. Yet it makes a strong statement of luxury when it rolls up to a five-star hotel, stronger than some of those other marques muster.
For 2007, the XJ value equation improves further, with front and rear heated seats and Bluetooth wireless cell phone capability standard on all models.
As automobiles tend more toward generic and distinctions get harder to draw, even at the top of the market, the XJ sedan seems unique. It remains a true statement of luxury. Roll up in one of these and you'll be treated like royalty. The XJ's lithe, elegant lines ooze class, but not excess. Its cabin retains the charm of an upper-crust clubroom: nicely stuffed seats with piping, lots of polished wood and wool rugs underfoot.
Underway in town or on the highway, the XJ is smooth, quiet, stately and powerful, and it handles quite well for its size. It's easier to operate, certainly less complicated, than the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, and Mercedes S-Class. It's less burdened with systems and processes that can frustrate with their complexity. The five XJ models are loaded with sophisticated safety and performance technology, mind you, but all that technology is tucked away in a less obtrusive fashion, and it generally works without much annoyance or distraction. The XJs deliver the best EPA fuel mileage ratings in this class, and none carries a gas-guzzler tax.
The XJ sedan comes in regular and long-wheelbase versions. Stretched five inches, the long-wheelbase models offer enough rear-seat room to recline and watch a movie after lunch on a flip-down wooden tray. Yet these longer, roomier Jaguars are for practical purposes as quick, nimble and fuel-efficient as the shorter wheelbase versions. The supercharged XJR is the quickest and nimblest of all, but it doesn't add nearly the price premium that competitors' high-performance models require.
We could point out half-a-dozen specific things that other cars in this class do better than the XJ. The Jaguars are neither the quickest nor the quietest, for example, and they lack some safety features offered in others. If all wheel drive is important, you won't find it in the Jaguar XJ. But none of that may amount to much for many buyers. Indeed, the Jaguar XJ might be the friendliest and most charming of the luxury sedans.
The 2007 Jaguar XJ sedan is available with a normally aspirated or supercharged 4.2-liter V8, and a short or long wheelbase. All five XJ models seat five, and all are equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The standard XJ8 ($63,585) is powered by the 300-hp, normally aspirated V8, and it's comprehensively equipped. Standard features include heated front and rear seats, Bluetooth cell-phone interface and Xenon headlights with power washers, which are often options, even in the full-size luxury class. The standard leather seats have contrasting piping. The 140-watt audio system features eight speakers and a single-CD player, and 18-inch wheels come standard.
The XJ8 L ($67,085) is equipped like the XJ8, but its wheelbase is five inches longer, which means considerably more legroom in the back seat. It also comes with an electric rear sunblind.
The long-wheelbase Vanden Plas ($74,835) is the quintessential luxury Jaguar, adding British niceties such as a twin-stitched leather dashboard, Peruvian boxwood inlays in the standard burl walnut trim, rear-seat picnic trays and deep-pile lamb's wool rugs. It comes standard with a DVD-based navigation system and a 320-watt Alpine stereo with 12 speakers and a six-CD changer.
The XJR ($79,930) is the high-performance model, built on the short wheelbase and powered by the 400-hp, supercharged version of the V8. The XJR also gets a firmer suspension with steel springs, rather than air springs, larger Brembo brakes, 19-inch Sabre alloys wheels with Z-rated performance tires, R Performance sport seats and special trim inside and out. It comes with the Alpine audio and Jaguar's touch-screen navigation system.
The Super V8 ($91,335) is the luxo-hotrod of the line, or the long-wheelbase Vanden Plas with the 400-hp V8 and Brembo brakes. It also features four-zone climate control, adjustable rear-seats and a DVD-based rear seat entertainment system with two 6.5-inch display screens.
Options are few, given the level of standard equipment. A Warm Climate Package ($1,350) includes four-zone climate control and rear sunblinds. The Multimedia Package ($2,950), touch-screen navigation ($2,300) and Alpine audio ($1,600) are offered for models that do not include them. Single options include Front Park Control ($250), Sirius Satellite Radio hardware ($450) and a range of special wheels ($1,200-$4.500)
The XJ's standard safety features match the class baseline: dual front airbags, front occupant side-impact airbags, curtain-style head protection airbags front and rear, advanced four-channel anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic stability control. Some other full-size luxury sedans offer driver's knee airbags and rear side-impact airbags.
The XJ's tire-pressure monitor, however, is one of the most sophisticated available, measuring absolute pressure in each tire. Most systems rely on the ABS system to measure tire pressure, which means they measure each tire relative to the other. Theoretically, if all four tire loose pressure at the same rate, the system might not report a pressure loss.