I’ll start this Modern Motoring article by saying that I am ever thankful to be able to test drive new cars weekly for the past few years and have/will never take this aspect of my life for granted. Ever.
I’ve driven a plethora of vehicles, ranging in value from less than $10K to exquisite machines worth about half of my house and a myriad in between. And while I get excited about what I pick up on Monday mornings, there’s that one time of year that simply gets me giddy car-wise: summer.
That’s the one time per year that I get to test out the Jaguar XJ, their oh-so elegant flagship luxury sports sedan that even out of the box is bathed in luxury. With 2016 being my third consecutive year testing the XJ, I had the date circled on my calendar many weeks in advance.
Seeing as it’s one of the official vehicles of the Royal Family and the Prime Minister of the UK, there’s plenty to love about it.
With the Germans and Japanese making it crowded in the uber-luxury world, those lovable Brits are keeping their competitors on their toes with the 2016 Jaguar XJL.
The XJ comes in two body types - the standard wheelbase and the XJL, where the “L” represents long wheelbase, which is the one we’ll be chatting about in this review, specifically, the XJL Portfolio AWD.
Some cosmetic changes for 2016 see the front grill stand a bit straighter with a new mesh pattern, increased power from the LED headlights and updated taillights along with oval exhaust tips. The unmistakable sleek, athletic stance remains constant and there’s no mistaking this vehicle for anything else on the road.
Riding on 19” wheels that nicely frame the XJL’s sleek body, the floating roofline is a splendid design component that makes both the XJ and XJL look stunning.
The powertrain is a carryover from the 2015 model (definitely not a bad thing) and the two options are as follows:
- A 3.0L V6 Supercharged engine producing 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque that propels you from 0-100 km/h in only 6.4 seconds.
- A 5.0L V8 Supercharged engine producing 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft. of torque that launches you from 0-100 km/h in a very quick 4.6 seconds.
Both engines run on up to 82L of premium fuel so be ready to collect a lot of rewards points from your favourite gas station.
My All Wheel Drive (Rear Wheel Drive is an option on some models) tester was equipped with the 3.0L engine and even with the long wheelbase and extra weight, there was plenty of power beneath my right foot to keep this British beauty moving confidently in both urban and rural landscapes. The engine is very responsive and there’s very little lag from the supercharger.
Handling, cornering and overall comfort score high marks from me as the XJL bounced between crawling in rush hour traffic to being “leash-free” on the backroads north of Mississauga.
Basically, the XJL performs as it’s supposed to for a flagship luxury sports sedan…incredibly well.
Fuel economy ratings for the XJL come in at 14/8.9/11.7 for L/100 km city/highway/combined.
Real world driving conditions will see those figures flutter depending on your driving style and through over 500 km in my test week, I achieved an overall rate of 11.3.
Inside is where you’ll find complete bliss, starting with a redesigned, fully digital 12.3” TFT dashboard (Instrument Panel Display, as Jaguar calls it) along with the 8” infotainment system that’s easy to operate and split into four main quadrants from the home screen: audio, phone, climate, navigation. A cool feature is that there are four different pre-set themes you can select from appearance wise.
Rear passengers are also given the royal treatment via 10.2” screens behind the front headrests if you opt for the long wheelbase Premium Rear Seat Package (offering over a damn meter of leg room!). And yes, those airplane-esque fold out trays are also part of the deal.
As a lover of natural light, the panoramic sunroof truly opens up the vehicle giving it a more spacious feel. Audio-wise, there’s a booming 825W 7.1 channel Meridian sound system using 17 (not a typo) speakers (there’s a 1,300W system available as well) that’ll make Robert Johnson's 1930’s recordings sound as if he were beside you.
So we know the rear passengers are well taken care of, the sound system rocks and the digital dash/infotainment system is state of the art.
Hmmm, what am I missing?
Oh, that’s right; the front seats.
My XJL Portfolio trim comes with a luxurious diamond quilted stitch pattern and twin needle stitching throughout the XJ lineup.
All four seats can be heated or cooled (of course), with five different massage functions and adjustable side bolsters for the front seats, which happen to be adjustable 14 ways.
If ever there were seats I’d want to be in for a cross-Canada road trip (I can take three other folks with me, if you’re interested), these remarkably comfortable and "I-need-my-home-office-chair-to-be-these" seats would be in my top three, maybe even top two.
The rotary rising and collapsing gearshift is something I’m finally used to, now that I’ve driven many Jaguar/Land Rover offerings in the past few years. Traditionalists will say “Bah, where’s the shift lever!” and others will say “Lincoln’s using buttons…buttons as a gear shift!” Personally, I’m a fan of the Jaguar gearshift knob because it creates plenty of space in the front console and I’m a functionality kinda fellow.
Safety-wise, there’s a suite of advanced technology including adaptive front lighting, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control ($1,600), park assist for parallel and perpendicular ($1,000) reverse traffic detection, a full complement of airbags and a few others that can be found on www.jaguar.ca
Jaguar has done a fine job in crafting a power player to compete for the attention of those who want to move in style and luxury in their 2016 XJL.
With the starting price for my tester ringing the register at $99,000 before options, delivery and taxes, you’re definitely getting what you pay for.
I can’t say I spoke with a British accent for the week I had the car but I can say that I appreciate the height of luxury and look forward to the summer of 2017 for my next week in this delightfully wonderful vehicle.
Enjoy the full gallery below: