With our 2013 Jaguar XJL Portfolio AWD’s days numbered, the staff in Michigan was willing to send the car out to New York for a couple of its last weeks in our hands. Volunteering for the daylong drive was intrepid wheelman and associate online editor Eric Weiner. Weiner snuck in a detour to visit friends in Jersey before delivering to car to New York bureau chief Jamie Kitman and me in New York. The long road trip adjusted his attitude toward the big Jag.
“Especially for somebody my size [small] and age [young], the XJ always felt too big and geriatric,” Weiner allowed. “I’ve changed my tune a little, though, since I spent a fair bit of time in it driving from Ann Arbor to Longport, New Jersey, near Atlantic City, and then up to Kitman’s house near Nyack.
“My biggest issue with the Jag from the get-go was that I could never get comfortable in it. I did eventually find a good driving position, but I still think the seat is too low.
“On the highway, I fell in love with the Jag’s engine and ride. It was so smooth, quiet, and comfortable on my lengthy route that I barely tired of it. When I did eventually notice myself getting sleepy from sheer boredom in eastern Ohio, I simply pulled over into a rest stop, threw on some smooth jazz, and reclined. Twenty minutes later, I was wholly refreshed, delighted to be waking up from my catnap surrounded by wood and soft leather.
“This brings me to my next point. I love that the 2013 Jaguar XJL’s interior feels so damn British. I can practically smell the pipe tobacco and taste the juniper-y zest of London dry gin.”
Kitman touched also on the Jag’s Britishness, but from a different standpoint:
“I can't say I was too surprised to find a fault code prominently and annoyingly displayed in the XJ’s dash—just what I’d expect from a British car with fancy electronics that has seen 24,000 hard miles in less than a year,” he began. “Yet as frustratingly predictable as it was, I was surprised—nay, delighted—to note while taking my latest test drives that our Four Seasons XJL also felt pretty much as crisp and creamy as it did the last time I drove it, eight months ago. In other words, it seemed to be aging gracefully, not always a strong suit of English belles.”
In other respects, Kitman’s opinion of the XJL has been reaffirmed.
“Even after ample consideration, the 2013 Jaguar XJL Portfolio is my idea of what a luxury automobile ought to drive like,” he asserts. “Not only does it handle exceptionally well—and I expect that in an $80,000 car—but it rides like a magic carpet. That, too, ought to be a non-negotiable demand for the luxury-car buyer, yet it seems to have become strictly optional. Indeed, it's not even an option on a lot of cars that ought to know better, the sure culprit being wheels and tires that are too big. And yet, even with 19-inch wheels, our 2013 Jaguar XJL soaks up the bumps, irregularities, and maintenance deficiencies of the New York metropolitan area's streets and highways with an ease and decorum that is state of the art.”
As for the fault code that Kitman mentions, it was a message advising “adaptive damping fault.” When I collected the car from him, however, the message had gone away. It never did reappear over the following weeks, even after road trips to Connecticut, Philadelphia, and the Adirondacks. Apparently, the problem fixed itself. With the next scheduled service still thousands of miles away, there seemed no reason to bring the car in to the dealership, a hassle I was only too happy to avoid. Instead, I turned the 2013 Jaguar XJL over to staff photographer Patrick Hoey, who would take it back to Michigan for its final days.