2011 Jaguar XJL Supercharged Review – VIP luxury meets racetrack-ready performance

Expert Reviews Jaguar

2011 Jaguar XJ center consoleInterior and Exterior Styling

As we noted in our recent review of the standard XJ, Jaguar has created an “interior of the Gods” for its flagship sedan. There is a distinct nautical feel to the interior design, from the large circular air vents to the sweeping arch of the dash that will remind you of the curve of a ship’s bow. Interior materials are of the highest quality, with luxurious tan leather covering the seats and rich wood trim adorning the dash and door panels. The interior is so nice that we wonder why someone would spend the extra several hundred grand to buy a Bentley.

Speaking of Bentleys, the XJL’s new exterior design seems to have been inspired a bit by this other classic British luxury marquee. From the imposing front grill to the muscular rear haunches, the new design is definitely a departure from the previous XJ and looks more like the four door cousin of a Continental GT. Although some will lament the lack of continuity, the XJL makes a bold visual statement that still fits within Jaguar’s current design language.

The XJL Supercharged comes standard with a host of interior luxury features, including heated and cooled seats for both front and rear, massaging seats for the driver and front passenger, quad zone climate control, and a panoramic glass roof. In terms of comfort, the only real disappointment is the fact that the XJL just doesn’t seem that roomy, especially for the long wheelbase version of a full-size luxury sedan. Rear legroom is generous, but not excessively so, and headroom is less than ample, especially for taller passengers.

As you would expect, the XJL also comes loaded with the latest technology, but unfortunately the execution of some of the electronics comes up short. On the plus side, the 1200 watt B&W premium sound system is simply fantastic. Load up your favorite jazz or classical music on the built-in hard disk and you’ll swear your listening to a live performance. Equally impressive is a virtual instrument cluster that uses an LCD panel to display a trio of simulated analog gauges. Not so impressive is the touch screen display that controls the sound system, navigation, and other basic functions. Response time is unusually slow and the user interface is merely adequate.

2011 Jaguar XJ interior

Our test car came equipped with the optional rear seat entertainment package, which puts 2 small LCD screens in the front seat headrests and gives you a neat little touch screen remote controller that docks into a fold down console, which also includes USB inputs for watching the latest digital media. Unfortunately this system suffers from the same lag time and the screens are really too small for sustained viewing, especially now that you can get a iPad, which is over twice as big, for much less.

2011 Jaguar XJL analog clock


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  • Dave Kovacs says:

    I have had the car in twice since delivery. One to put the winter tires on and one to take them off. At both visits some service bulletin work was done. Nothing that seemed major at all and during the last one their was a software upgrade. I tend to get a bit over the top with interior noises but even over rough patches etc the car makes no squeaks. I sense some of the service bulletin work is to prevent any annoyances or issues down the path. So happily I can say no problems or issues at this point.

    As an additional FYI – - we have had a few warmer days in the 80′s and the climate control handles that easily without a rush of blowers etc. The cooled seats seem more effective compared to some other cars I had with it – -

    My dealer is Bennett Jaguar and it is a new complex so no problems taking the car in and waiting although they will pick up the car and give you a loaner etc. They do transport the tires for me since at 20 inches you can’t pop 4 of them in the trunk! I have also had good experience with them insofar as my prior Range Rover.

    • Derek says:

      @Dave — very good customer information. Thanks for sharing. I’m sure lots of Jaguar and future Jaguar owners appreciate your input.

  • Dave Kovacs says:

    I took acquisition of this car in vapor gray at the end of October. It is a great car to drive and much more exciting and special than my previous ‘ current’ model MB S Class. In PA getting 4 high performance snow tires was a must for the winter however they did not impact ride quality etc. Also I have noticed the car gets much more attention than other cars in this class.

    The Jaguar does feel more intimate inside than a S Class and I think that results in a more engaging and ‘cuddled’ experience. The seats are very comfortable and highly configurable. I have read in several reviews that transmission is just 6 gears – - but unlike other transmissions with more gears I never feel the car is left guessing or searching for the right gear. Oddly enough my S class had more gears, smaller engine and lower mileage with the added ‘pleasure’ of a gas guzzler tax.

    The sound system is really something unique in its performance – - it does not color the music to impress – it delivers a quality of reproduction that encourages your to spend time in the car just to listen to some of your favorite tracks.

    Much is also written about the slower performance of the touch screen. You can turn off transition animation which does change the perceived reaction but i think it really was designed not to be a system you typed away on like a drone on a computer keyboard. More like slow and steady wins the race. However, as the driver I rarely use the screen for entry . . more just for visual confirmation of information. The enhanced Jaguar Voice which was added after the initial launch lets you do everything very easily via voice – — no need to remember what to say – - – the virtual dash ‘pod’ window on the right changes to a voice guidance screen when you touch the voice button on the wheel and quickly and easily guides you without any need to glance over to the middle stack or even take your eye off the road for any length of time. Why use your fingers when you can just say it. . .

    Also for fun just say – -’ I’m hungry ‘- – - and see what the system does . .

    When I was in Ft Meyers a few weeks ago we stopped by the Bentley and Jaguar dealership – - – from my perspective the Jaguar looked much more contemporary than the much more costly sedans of Bentley. They are very nice cars but in comparison they almost seemed like ‘campy’ over the top examples of too much wealth. Also I believe the Jaguar design is much more inline with a person in their 40′s.

    And one other rather cool and functional benefit – - beyond just the visual depiction of how close you are to things is that the warning beeps virtually come from the appropriate areas of the car which are close to an obstacle. . . . something close to the passenger rear bumper – - – that is where the sounds emanates from – - – sounds simple – - -but highly helpful.

    Fast, fun and very freaking cool . .


    • Derek says:

      @Dave – Another happy customer. How has the service and reliability been so far with your XJL?

      So often I hear about the reliability of the older Jaguars, but the company has been working hard to improve their service record with their latest generation of cars. Let us know, good or bad, if your car is working beyond expectations.

  • Twain says:

    Awesome write-up. Jags are the most under-rated marque out there. Performance, luxury, handling and GREAT STYLING. Phenomenal!
    This said, I like the styling of the the last gen XJ a bit more…

    Jags are the most underated cars around IMO.

    • Derek says:

      I totally agree – Jaguars are so under-appreciated. The owner of Tata Motors is a real enthusiast and takes an active part making sure the Jaguar line-up gets better and better on all counts. The brand has not suffered since Tata Motors bought Jaguar. I would even go so far as to say that the brand has gotten a lot better than when it was under Ford’s corporate arm.

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