2013 Jaguar XJ XJL Ultimate - FROM $155,000
Inside and out, the 2013 Jaguar XJ projects the air of distinction and exclusivity expected of a Jaguar, while important new mechanical upgrades make the brand's flagship more practical and efficient.
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Jaguar XJ has a new base engine: a supercharged 3.0-liter V6. All-wheel drive is a new option for this V6, and an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission is standard for all XJ models. The XJ Ultimate is a new limited-production model, and there are upgrades for the XJ Supercharged and XJ Supersport. All XJs feature an improved electronics interface and a new sound system.
Exclusivity is an attribute that buyers expect from a luxury sedan, but Jaguar goes a step further with its full-size XJ sedan and adds stunning, unique and thoroughly modern styling to the mix.
Further setting the 2013 Jaguar XJ apart from the more conventional choices in the segment of luxury sedans is aluminum construction. The weight of an aluminum body panel or suspension component is about one-third that of its steel equivalent, which helps explain why the base-model XJ checks in at little more than 4,000 pounds, or about 400-600 pounds lighter than comparable competitors.
Fuel economy is further enhanced by the XJ's new-for-2013 supercharged V6, a smaller and more efficient engine than the 5.0-liter V8 that formerly was the smallest available power plant for this car. With an output of 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, the new V6 has the grunt to sufficiently motivate the comparatively light XJ. The 5.0-liter V8 remains in the XJ lineup, as does the supercharged V8.
Now that all-wheel drive is available as an option, the XJ deserves consideration in regions where the weather gets foul. The all-wheel-drive system adds a little weight, yet the fuel economy penalty is nominal, as is the extra cost.
High style and a variety of model trims make the 2013 Jaguar XJ a viable alternative to usual luxury sedans like the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Compared with what Mercedes-Benz charges for even the least expensive S-Class, the Jaguar XJ seems like a bargain, and while the Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series are quite close in price to the XJ, they aren't nearly as opulent inside.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Jaguar XJ is a full-size five-passenger sedan available in regular (XJ) and long-wheelbase (XJL) variants. The XJ comes in base, Supercharged and Supersport trim levels, while the XJL has the Portfolio, Supercharged, Supersport and Ultimate trim levels.
The base XJ comes standard with 19-inch wheels, a driver-adjustable self-leveling suspension, driver-adjustable settings for steering and throttle response, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, automatic wipers, automatic bi-xenon headlights, auto-dimming and power-folding outside mirrors, a power trunk lid, a panoramic sunroof and keyless ignition/entry.
The XJ's standard convenience equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver seat memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping heated steering wheel and heated rear seats.
Electronic features include a touchscreen navigation system, voice controls, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a 14-speaker Meridian sound system with a USB port, satellite and HD radio.
An optional Portfolio package adds heated and ventilated 16-way power front seats with massaging function, dual-zone automatic climate control for the rear seats, and heated and ventilated rear seats. Choosing the Portfolio also opens more color choices for interior trim, a faux-suede headliner and additional leather surfacing.
The XJL comes standard with the Portfolio package and is called the XJL Portfolio. In addition to its extra rear-seat space, the long-wheelbase XJ has rear vanity mirrors and manual rear side sunshades. A Rear Seat Comfort package brings more cosseting for rear-seat passengers with a power rear sunshade, folding rear business trays, reclining rear seats with power lumbar and massage, and a rear seat foot rest. Also optional is a 20-speaker Meridian surround-sound audio system and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual displays.
Moving to the XJ Supercharged brings the supercharged V8, along with tauter suspension tuning, 20-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams and the surround-sound audio system. The XJ Supercharged also is available as the longer-wheelbase XJL Supercharged and includes all the extra equipment that comes with the "L" models. A new Sport & Speed Package brings aerodynamic aids and some exclusive interior components to assist in handling the higher 174-mph top speed (compared to 155 mph without the Sport & Speed option).
The XJ Supersport is fitted with the most potent incarnation of the V8, high-performance tires, upgraded leather upholstery and the rear-seat entertainment system. The optional Speed Pack brings the same enhancements as the Sport & Speed package does for the XJ Supercharged.
At the pinnacle of the XJ lineup is the XJL Ultimate. The Ultimate is powered by the 510-hp XJ Supersport engine and has all the Supersport accommodations, except that the rear seat has been configured for only two passengers.
Any 2013 Jaguar XJ can be optioned with adaptive cruise control (which includes a forward collision alert and brake assist) and a heated windshield.
Powertrains and Performance
For 2013, the base XJ's engine is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that develops 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional. Also new this year is stop-start functionality. As in a hybrid, the system shuts off the engine during times when the car is briefly stationary, such as at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic.
Jaguar estimates a rear-drive XJ equipped with the V6 will achieve 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway. All-wheel drive is optional. The V6-powered XJ with all-wheel drive comes in at a Jaguar-estimated 16 mpg city/25 highway.
The rear-drive XJL Portfolio comes with a 5.0-liter V8 that generates 385 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway.
The 2013 Jaguar XJ Supercharged uses a supercharged version of the 5.0-liter V8 that generates 470 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque. The Supersport gets the highest-tuned variant of the V8, which develops 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. The fuel economy rating for both the high-performance XJ models is 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway.
Every 2013 Jaguar XJ comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, active head restraints and a blind-spot warning system. A forward collision alert system and advanced brake assist are included with the optional adaptive cruise control.
In Edmunds brake testing, an XJL with the standard 19-inch wheels and all-season tires stopped from 60 mph in 125 feet, a bit longer than average for this class of car. An XJL Supercharged with summer tires, however, stopped from 60 mph in 106 feet.
Interior Design and Special Features
Stepping into the XJ and sampling the interior accommodations makes you realize just how severe and clinical other luxury sedans can feel. The XJ cockpit features magnificent natural surfaces, exquisite ambient lighting and some of the best man-made materials found in any vehicle at any price.
There are many intriguing design touches, not the least of which is the XJ's signature rotary transmission control, which rises silently from the center console when the ignition button is pressed. The gauges are virtual displays on a laptop-like screen, replicating mechanical indicators and configurable in a multitude of preferred layouts. Soothing ice-blue lighting is used.
The XJ features a touchscreen interface to command most of the sound, navigation and phone controls. The speed with which the system executes its commands has been improved, and other 2013 enhancements are aimed at upgrading the system's overall operation. It does work better than before, but some people will prefer the systems favored by some competitors that are manipulated via one large control dial.
Relatively tight legroom and the XJ's sloping roof line mean that rear-seat passengers aren't treated to the expansive accommodations found in other flagship sedans; if a roomy backseat is important to you, consider the longer XJL. The XJ's trunk size, at 15.2 cubic feet, is about average for the segment.
The Jaguar image is one of effortless pace, and the 2013 XJ's gracious road manners won't disappoint. Jaguar has retuned the suspension this year to improve ride quality, so now the XJ's larger tires and wheels transmit less impact harshness. The comparatively light weight of the XJ imparts a sense of agility and nimbleness that most rivals can't match, while the driver-selectable settings for engine, transmission and suspension enable a wide range of dynamic choices.
The addition of the supercharged V6 for 2013 means buyers can opt for improved fuel economy in exchange for only a small power downgrade when compared to Jaguar's lusty 5.0-liter V8. On paper, the V6 is a little slower than the old V8, but in the real world you won't notice the difference. It sounds good, too. Of course, if it's outright power you desire, Jaguar still has you covered with either of its beefy supercharged V8s.