Jaguar XJL Supersport speeds to the top
By IRA SIEGEL For Sun-Times Media September 26, 2012 12:20PM
2012 JAGUAR XJL SUPERSPORT
ENGINE: 510-horsepower 5.0-liter supercharged V-8
TRANSMISSION: six-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: rear-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 15 city/21 highway
BASE PRICE: $117,700
AS TESTED: $120,875 (includes $875 for destination)
For those fortunate to be considering an ultra-luxurious sedan, the Jaguar XJ is quite attractive and offers better driving dynamics than its competitors.
Thanks to a lightweight all-aluminum structure, powerful V-8 engine, quick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission and sophisticated adaptive suspension system, the XJ delivers lightning-quick acceleration and is responsive to steering inputs from the driver.
While the XJ is plenty big, the XJL is almost 5 inches longer. That extra length provides XJL’s rear-seat passengers with extra legroom.
The base XJ features a 385-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8 engine, finely stitched leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power front seats, heated rear seats, full-length panoramic glass roof, virtual instrumentation, 8-inch touch screen with navigation and much more.
The base model for the long-wheelbase version is the XJL Portfolio. The Portfolio package also can be added to the XJ. It adds massaging front seats, heated and ventilated rear seats, four-zone automatic climate control, rear vanity mirrors and more.
Either the standard wheelbase XJ or long-wheelbase XJL can be had in Supercharged or Supersport trims.
Supercharged models, as the name implies, feature a supercharged version of the 5.0-liter V-8 engine good for 470 horsepower. If that’s not enough power, the Supersport ups the ante with a 510-horsepower version of the supercharged V-8.
The 385-horsepower naturally-aspirated V-8 engine found in the XJ and XJL Portfolio is more than capable, propelling the car from 0-60 mph in about 5.4 seconds.
Supercharged models are rated at 4.9 seconds for 0-60 mph, while Supersport models drop that down to 4.7 seconds.
Some may find that the XJ and XJL offer a ride that’s a bit on the firm side. But I like how the suspension system provides a well-planted feel while still being good at soaking up the bumps.
XJ’s brakes are strong and feel a bit grabby until you get acclimated to them. XJ’s cabin remains quiet until you plant the pedal to the floor and hear the nice-sounding roar from the exhaust.
That roar is more impressive with the XJL Supersport that I recently tested. While the entry price for the XJ is just north of $70,000, the XJL Supersport is exclusive with a price tag of about $120,000.
With the Supersport you get an extremely powerful engine, 20-inch wheels shod with Dunlop performance tires, 1,200-watt, 20-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system, rear-seat entertainment system with dual screens mounted in the rear of the front headrests and much more.
For 2012, a new rear comfort pack on the XJL Supersport offers winged headrests and footrests for rear-seat passengers and the ability for the front passenger seat to be stowed forward when unoccupied to increase rear-seat room.
Think of this as your mobile office while being chauffeured around. However, with a car that’s this much fun to drive, I’d rather spend my time in the driver’s seat.
My only complaints are that the virtual instrumentation looks too virtual and not as good as real gauges, and the remote fob is large and heavy.
But that wouldn’t keep me from pulling the trigger on this fine sedan if I had the resources. The XJ is beautifully styled, possesses a comfortably quiet cabin that’s loaded with amenities and it’s a driver’s car with gobs of power.
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