I quietly said to myself, as I settled in behind the wheel of the sleek new Jaguar XJL.
Maybe I’ve watched too many old movies because I’ve always yearned for the opportunity to just once say something like that to “my driver.”
Sadly (in my mind only), I was the driver, not the backseat passenger in this 2016 XJL. And unless I hit it really big in the lottery soon, it’s not likely that I’ll ever have my own chauffeur-driven limo.
But, if I did there is no doubt this 2016 XJ has the style and panache of a car that would fit the bill quite nicely.
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The XJ has long been the flagship of the Jaguar brand, which has been synonymous over the years along with Rolls-Royce and Bentley as the crème de la crème of British automotive manufacturing.
All are foreign-owned these days with Jaguar part of the giant Tata Motors family, based in India.
However, the XJ is still built in Britain and has had a mild refresh for 2016 with a more modern look outside thanks to a new grille, front and rear fascias and new LED lighting systems, front and rear. Even with the changes, though, it still has that classic Jaguar styling that makes it instantly recognizable.
For many buyers, pedigree is what attracts them to a particular brand, but this luxury sedan class is now a wide-open playing field with entries from Audi, BMW, Cadillac
joining Jaguar in chase of the perceived segment leader, the S-Class Mercedes-Benz.
Our test vehicle was a Jaguar XJL Portfolio AWD, one of five XJ models available in Canada. It features a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine, making 340 hp and 332 lb/ft of torque.
The XJL starts at $99,000 plus $1,475 delivery. All in, our tester priced out at $109,375 with the addition of features like adaptive cruise control, parking assist package, and illumination and comfort and convenient packages.
The ‘L’ signifies the long-wheelbase version of the car, adding an extra five inches of legroom for passengers in the rear— perfect for the executive with his/her own driver or the need to transport clients in luxury. While the legroom is generous, headroom in the backseat of the XJ is compromised somewhat by the low roofline— the price one must pay for the sleek styling!
There are three versions of the XJ in all-wheel drive format, all with the 3.0-litre engine. They are the XJR Sport AWD ($92,200), XJ Portfolio AWD ($96,000) and XJL Portfolio AWD ($99,000).
Two rear-wheel drive variants are offered, both with a 5.0-litre supercharged V8, producing 550 hp. There is a XJR RWD ($121,000) and the XJR L ($124,000). All models come with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.
For many drivers, the 3.0-litre engine will suffice with a decent 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 6.4 seconds. Those demanding more power will opt for the V8 that drops the 0-100 km/h sprint time to 4.6 seconds, pretty quick for a vehicle that weighs in at 1,884 kg (4,144 lb).
the Jaguar XJ is to my mind a beautiful piece of automotive art that has aged well, much like a bottle of fine wine.
The Portfolio model is distinguished by the introduction of a quilted pattern on the seat centre and cushions. In addition, 14-way power seats with four lumbar adjustments are standard. All XJ models have heated and ventilated front and rear seats and the Portfolio features massage functions on both front seats.
However, the biggest addition for 2016 is a new infotainment system called InControl Touch Pro, designed to be simpler and more intuitive. It has an eight-inch screen that works like a smartphone with “pinch to zoom” and “swipe” functions, allowing the user to scroll between screens.
The connected navigation system has what Jaguar calls a Commute Mode that learns the driver’s daily commute and can automatically offer alternative routes to avoid congestion.
The audio system has also been upgraded with a standard 825-watt, 17-speaker Meridian surround sound system. If that’s not enough, you can move up to an optional 1,300-watt, 26-speaker Meridian system.
For those of us in parts of Canada who have to endure slushy and snowy winter conditions
, the all-wheel drive version of the XJ makes a lot of sense. Get behind the wheel and you’ll find the 3.0-litre engine has plenty of power for almost any driving condition you’re about to encounter.
Natural Resources Canada lists fuel economy ratings of 14.1/9.3/11.9 L/100 km city/highway/combined. This is aided in part by a stop-start engine function, which is standard across the model lineup.
If you think the XJ is beautiful on the outside, wait until you get inside. It’s luxurious and inviting with soft, plush leather surfaces and rich wood trim that adds elegance to the surroundings.
Punch the start button and the hockey-puck style chrome shift dial pops up out of the centre console. Simply turn the dial to ‘D’ and you’re good to go. The driver can also select Dynamic or Winter drive modes as required.
Ride and handling are excellent for such a large vehicle and the cabin is well insulated from outside noises and vibrations. All in all, it’s a nice luxury package for a vehicle that has had few changes since its introduction here in 2011.
While it may be pricey, the Jaguar XJ is to my mind a beautiful piece of automotive art that has aged well, much like a bottle of fine wine.
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Jaguar XJL Portfolio AWD 2016 at a glance
: Full-size luxury sedan.
: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive. ENGINE: DOHC 3.0-litre supercharged V6 (340 hp, 332 lb/ft of torque).
: 520 litres.
: (Premium) 14.1/9.3/11.9 L/100 km (city/highway/combined)
: $99,000. As tested $109,375 plus $1,475 destination charge.