2012 Jaguar XJL Supersport Review

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2012 Jaguar XJL Supersport

Thankfully, Jaguar has long since exorcised the gremlins that once plagued their cars. Not a single thing went amiss in my week long stewardship of the XJR. Even the pop-up shift selector, which has annoyingly jammed on recent Jag test cars, worked flawlessly this time. Still, with so many automated systems controlling everything from rain-sensing wipers, to seat massaging cushions, you have to wonder whether complexity is the enemy of reliability. I counted 89 separate fuses in 3 distinct fuse box locations in the XJR. At least Jaguar provides a nice selection of spare fuses under the trunk mat.

The 2012 Supersport XJL enjoys a whopping 40hp boost over the standard 470hp supercharged XJ motor. Steering-wheel mounted tap shifting of the 6-speed automatic produces immediate results and stellar performance. Although the Jag’s wide turning radius (41.5 feet) limits parking lot agility, it never hinders canyon carving. The standard 20 inch wheels, shod with Dunlop SP Sport Maxx rubber (245/40R20 front, 275/35R20 rear) afford leech like handling characteristics usually absent in a luxury sedan weighing 4,575 pounds.

Jaguar XJL front seatsJaguar XJL back seats

Rear seat occupants are particularly well catered for in the XJL, which enjoys a 5 inch wheelbase increase over the standard XJ (124.3” vs. 119.4”). All 5 inches go for rear seat legroom. Jaguar even includes sloped footrests for rear passengers in the XJL. If you installed a partition between the front and rear seats, the XJL would make the perfect limousine.

But this car is way too much fun to drive, to hand its keys to hired help. Better to snuggle yourself into the Truffle-Tipped Parchment front seat, grasp the gunstock-like wood/leather split rim steering wheel, depress the checkered flag “Sports Handling” button on the center console, and blast off in a sedan that looks like a Bentley but behaves like a Ferrari.


  • ENGINE: 5.0 liter DOHC, 32 valve aluminum V8, supercharged
  • HORSEPOWER: 510 at 6,000 rpm
  • TORQUE: 461 lb.-ft.
  • TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
  • FUEL CONSUMPTION: 15 City MPG/21 Highway MPG
  • PRICE AS TESTED: $118,575

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