I'm so conflicted. The XJ looks very modern and luxurious both inside and out, with a clear connection to the XF's design language that goes far beyond making a bigger XF and calling it an XJ. I especially appreciate the lack of motorized vents (like the XF has) and the standard premium stereo. It would be great if Jaguar's infotainment department could make a touch-screen system that has the response of, say, a first-gen iPhone or admit defeat and switch to an iDrive- or MMI-style controller. I find changing radio stations to be so incredibly slow in any new Jag that I'd just as soon go out and buy a physical CD to listen to.
I love, love, love Jaguar's V-8 engine range. Each variant develops enough power to roast the rear tires or blow past anyone afraid to drive the speed limit and also has excellent refinement and a delightful exhaust tone. The chassis and suspension tuning is among the best in the industry and brings a smile to my face each time I need to change directions. BMW would be wise to buy a few XJs to deconstruct, because the current 7-series isn't nearly this involving behind the wheel.
No matter how well the XJ drives or how incredibly well equipped it comes, there's always a nagging feeling that it's not going to stand up to daily use. Jaguar dependability has been all over the board lately: according to J.D. Power, it matched Lexus in 2009 and then took a massive dive for 2010. How does a luxury car company go from an average of 122 reported problems per 100 vehicles in 2009 to 175 in the 2010 study while the industry average shrinks from 167 to 155? I realize that J.D. Power studies are not above reproach, but the results seem to be in line with my personal Jaguar experiences.
Hopefully Jaguar can get a handle on the dependability issues and figure out how to create an infotainment system that's a bit quicker to respond to inputs. Otherwise, the XJ is about as good as it gets for a large luxury sedan.
- Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor