I like Phil's line: "about as good as it gets," because that's how I feel about the new XJ as well. It's big but not enormous. It's sleek but substantial. It's powerful but it's subdued. It's plush but not soft. It's elegant but masculine. It's modern but not silly. Our tester's silver paint over black leather seats with white French stitching and white piping makes for a very stylish combination. Anyone seeking a full-size, full-boat premium luxury sedan ought to give the XJ a look before they pop for one of the predictable German competitors.
I left Ann Arbor the other morning at 7:20 a.m. and made it to West Branch by 9:15, a trip that usually takes about 2 hours, 20 minutes, or more. The XJ is an immensely capable and comfortable freeway car, and it cruises effortlessly at 80 to 90 mph. The familiar supercharged V-8 is absolutely superb, with lovely power delivery, an excellent relationship with the transmission, and a nice growl. The steering is communicative and precise without being heavy.
I love the interior ambience, especially the Gatling-gun climate vents at the top of the center stack and the big slabs of vertical wood on the door panels. I agree with others about Jaguar's touch-screen controls for radio and navigation: Jaguar should have been able to fix those by now. They kinda sucked when they debuted in the XK coupe/convertible. They continued in the XF sedan and they still weren't great. So now we have the third major model debut from Jaguar with the same inferior infotainment interface: a shame.
I can forgive that, though, because overall I like the car so much. My rear-seat passengers were impressed by the room and comfort, and we are talking about the short-wheelbase XJ here, not the long one. I covered 356 miles, mostly freeway, and the trip computer claimed that I got about 20 mpg.
- Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor