One look at the new XJ tells you that Jaguar has finally shaken off the old-world styling of the previous generation and has embraced a more modern design aesthetic. At first glance, the XJ isn't particularly eye-catching, but on closer examination you can appreciate the clean lines of the new Jaguar design language, which was first seen on the XK coupe and the XF sedan.
The cabin features several nice touches, such as the virtual instrument cluster with a special "spotlight" effect -- for instance, if you're traveling 50 mph, that section of the gauge in highlighted. The double sunroof, with separate glass over the front and rear seats, is another. As others have stated, the touch screen is still a little slow to respond and can be hard to read, but there's not denying the superb sound quality from the Bowers & Wilkins stereo.
The trunk, which Jaguar says is the largest in the class at 18.4 cubic feet, was easily able to hold three bags of golf clubs and could have held a fourth. In addition, the load lip is not too high, and the opening is large enough to maneuver bulky items in easily.
Last but not least, it's refreshing to see a luxury sedan whose base price includes all the features for which other manufacturers charge you extra. For instance, the base price of this XJ ($87,500) is about the same as the Four Seasons 7-series we recently tested ($86,025). But in the Jaguar, a rearview camera, a power trunk, keyless ignition, automatic high beams, blind-spot warning, heated seats, a premium sound system, and satellite radio (among others) are all standard. In the 7-series, with all the add-ons, the price topped the $100,000 mark. With the XJ Supercharged, the only available options are a heated windshield and adaptive cruise. In addition, a wood and leather steering wheel is a no-cost option, and you can delete the XJ badge, also at no cost. All of which makes for a much simpler -- and less expensive -- luxury-car buying experience.
- Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor