Interior 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.
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.