2012 Jaguar XJ L review
By Bob Hume, 20th September 2012
On the 18th of August 2010 as a result of having road and track-tested an XJ Supersport at Silverstone, I described it as a “masterpiece” in the opening sentence of the review. Nothing has since caused me to doubt my opinion of an entirely perfect, large luxury saloon - least of all my last Jaguar press loan: the XJ L.
The new XJ had been the subject of a major rethink and when it was launched in 2010, couldn’t have been more of a departure from the familiar 3-box saloon shape that we were all used to. It emerged as a sleek, elegant form that worked well alongside the XF; Jaguar’s building block for its new brand identity.
The XJL has 125mm of extra leg room in the back for rear passenger comfort and will cost you around £3,000 more than the base car. The variant I’d been loaned had been updated for 2012, was powered by a 3-litre diesel engine and was in Portfolio trim.
Without the extras, it will cost you £69,520 but the tested car was a special ‘Ultimate Black’ colour, was fitted with £1,500 of rear seat entertainment kit, a £500 DAB radio and comfort pack that would set you back £2,700.
There was a heap of other expensive stuff present that probably added the cost of a Hyundai i10 but I didn’t care – my passengers and I could enjoy a massage whilst having our individual bottoms heated or cooled during our journey. There were two TV screens in the rear and one in the front, which only the front seat passenger could see.
The standard-length car handles particularly well despite its size and weight, so I was happy that the extra length hadn‘t noticeably affected any of the dynamics. Best suited to A roads, it was astonishingly nimble when I drove it hard on tighter, more technical routes.
The grip is immense and steering is precise – combined with the 275bhp and 600Nm of torque available, this all made for and engaging drive, especially in dynamic mode and using the paddle-shift to change. Hardly any road, engine or wind noise entered the cabin even when I was driving enthusiastically.
Accepting that this is a diesel-powered car is a tough call when you‘re driving it: accelerating smoothly through the gears, you‘ll be at 60mph in 6 seconds from standstill and it still manages a claimed 40.1mpg combined figure.
The gorgeous aesthetics of the shorter XJ had also translated perfectly to the longer wheelbase; most of it has been hidden in the rear passenger doors.
The cabin is an experience that‘s special for all involved: the driver-centric cockpit, lusciously finished surfaces, virtual dials, backlit switches and lovely tactile control surfaces all combine to make the driver‘s seat a great place to be but the huge amounts of room and sumptuously comfortable seats also make being a passenger an enviable option.
The limo version of the XJ has it all: sports car performance and handling, superb passenger comfort and elegant styling. I‘d still call that a masterpiece.