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2017 Jaguar XJ-Series Overview
While the Jaguar XJ name goes back farther than most of us can remember, the current model that’s been around since 2009 is one that truly brought Jaguar back up to fighting shape to take on the Germans’ nearly unchecked dominance in the higher end of the luxury car market. Jaguar’s flagship XJ-Series sedan enters 2017 largely unchanged, although the 2015 model year saw notables update to the front-end styling and the interior. Offered with a short or long wheelbase, a V6 or V8 engine, and rear-wheel (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), the XJ-Series is nevertheless simpler and more straightforward than the German Big Three’s offerings, and it’s arguably a better-looking car, as well. Base models start at just over $80,000, while fully-loaded “L” (long-wheelbase) models can run well upwards of $100,000.
The entry-level 2017 XJ gets a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine that makes 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque and can scoot the hefty sedan from 0 to 60 mph in about 6 seconds. V6-powered variants come standard with rear-wheel drive (RWD) but are also available with all-wheel drive (AWD), mainly to widen the car’s appeal to buyers in snowier climates. The AWD system can direct up to 50% of the engine’s power to the front wheels but is normally rear-biased at 10/90 front-to-rear. Two supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engines are also available—the first makes 470 hp and 424 lb-ft with a 0-to-60 time of 4.9 seconds, and the second is good for 550 hp and 502 lb-ft with a 0-to-60 time of 4.4 seconds. V8 models come with RWD only.
In the XJ-Series, all three engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission controlled by the familiar Jaguar rotary-knob gear selector ahead of the center console. While the XJ is lighter than some of its German rivals, big supercharged engines aren’t exactly known for efficiency, and its fuel-economy numbers are a little behind the times. RWD V6 models get reasonable EPA figures of 18 mpg city, 27 highway, and 21 combined, while AWD versions drop 1 mpg in each category. V8 models, meanwhile, manage just 15, 23, and 18, despite the engine stop-start feature included across the lineup.
Jaguar has a long history with using lightweight aluminum in its cars, and the XJ is generally light on its feet compared to some of its rivals—and more nimble than you’d expect a massive sedan like this to be. It comes with an electronically adjustable air-spring rear suspension, electric power assist steering, and Z-rated tires. V8 models receive an active rear differential, and the flashy XJR trims add red brake calipers, a stiffer suspension, a small rear spoiler, and quad exhaust tips. Three driving modes (Normal, Dynamic, and Winter) adjust throttle, steering weight, shift timing, and ride quality.
The XJ is an imposing, sharp-looking car, but it’s on the interior that you really begin to understand why it costs so much. The cabin is swathed in leather and other soft-touch materials, with wood trim that can be upgraded to carbon fiber. Standard features include heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats, an InControl Touch Pro infotainment system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, an 18-speaker Surround Sound system, a power trunk lid, dual-zone climate control, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, navigation, and a panoramic moonroof. Jaguar’s InControl Remote app also allows drivers to view the vehicle’s fuel level, remotely lock or unlock the doors, start the car remotely, and set the climate control to a specific temperature via their smartphone.
Higher XJ-Series trims receive 4-zone climate control, a rear sunblind, and premium leather upholstery, while long-wheelbase versions add almost 5 inches to the wheelbase for extra rear legroom. The options list is fairly extensive and includes a 26-speaker 1,300-watt Meridian Reference stereo, upgraded interior lights, and massaging front and rear seats. An available rear-seat entertainment package adds dual 10.2-inch screens that fold into the front seatbacks, a pair of wireless headphones, and USB and HDMI inputs.
Expensive cars like the 2017 Jaguar XJ-Series are not usually crash tested, but standard safety equipment does include a reversing camera, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, and parking assist are available extras.
Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a Formula Vee. After receiving history degrees, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.
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