Visually, this car could hardly be more different than its predecessor. It looks contemporary and has a presence that the old XJ lacked. Inside, the cabin is beautifully trimmed and, although I wouldn't describe it as distinctly British, it definitely feels richer and looks more styled than its German competitors. There are a few miscues -- the most obvious is the tacky "Jaguar" logo centered just under the windshield -- but overall it exudes originality and modernity while retaining its "Jaguarness." The leather is fabulous.
Jaguar's new touch-screen interface is marginally faster and better looking than the previous system but it's still slow and it's not nearly as intuitive or attractive as Mercedes' COMAND or Hyundai's infotainment system. Plus, the font size on the display is so small that I often had to wait until I was stopped at a light to adjust the HVAC or see who sang the '80s song I was listening to on satellite radio. Hopefully Jaguar's new owners will put revamping this interface on the top of their to-do list.
Driving the XJ is both effortless and involving, and it feels far more agile than the BMW 7-series or the Mercedes-Benz S-class. My only complaint is that the brakes felt a bit dead, and that lack of feel caused me to slow or stop far quicker than I intended on a few occasions. Otherwise, the Jaguar XJ is truly a dynamic specimen.
- Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor