Jaguar automobiles have been cultural icons for nearly a century, and the 2013 Jaguar XJ carries on with contemporary design, impeccable craftsmanship, modern amenities and sparkling performance. As such, it more than qualifies as a viable and appealingly contrarian alternative to the established luxury flagships, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Lexus LS.
You'll Like The 2013 Jaguar XJ If...
If you're the type of person who dares to be different and enjoys turning some heads on the road, the Jaguar XJ's unique combination of grace and pace will help you stand out.
You May Not Like The 2013 Jaguar XJ If...
Though quality has improved in recent years, the Jaguar brand is still plagued by reliability questions, which weigh on resale values. The 2013 Jaguar XJ is a precarious purchase for value-driven buyers.
The big news for 2013 is the addition of a more fuel-efficient V6 engine at the base of the line and the option of an advanced AWD system to go with it. There are also new audio systems from Meridian.
Thanks in part to the minimal number of center-stack controls, the Jaguar XJ's cabin features a clean, elegant design that separates itself from its rivals with superior materials and remarkable fit and finish. Soft leather trim covers not only the seating surfaces, but the upper dash, door panels and even the headliner on Supersport models. The XJ's navigation system employs a touch screen rather than the button- and wheel-operated setups found on German-built luxury sedans. Recent interface enhancements have tried to address the fact that a touch-screen's functional requirements can be distracting for the driver.
The Jaguar XJ's distinctive design is dominated by a sloping rear roofline that shrouds its substantial mass while creating a stylish 4-door-coupe appearance. The 2013 XJ is available in standard and long-wheelbase versions, with the latter providing an additional five inches of rear legroom. Considering its size, trunk space is rather limited. Also the low roofline makes it tricky for taller folks to get in and out, especially entering the back seat. The almost-full-length panoramic glass moonroof is a strong styling element from both inside and out.
Relaxed road manners and a quiet cabin make the 2013 Jaguar XJ an ideal carrier of dignitaries and captains of business, while the suspension's active damping system helps provide a sense of dynamism, making the big car a pleasure to drive. Light steering may be short on feel but it makes for easy low-speed maneuvering. The brakes, though strong enough, have a light, overly sensitive pedal that can be tricky. On the other hand, there are no complaints about acceleration. The new base V6 has a supercharger and counter-rotating balance shafts, and strikes a good balance of power, smoothness and fuel efficiency. Still, if you have the budget, the big XJ feels more like itself with one of the V8 engines, preferably supercharged.
The 2013 Jaguar XJ, with the supercharged V6 engine, starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $74,075. An additional $3,500 adds all-wheel drive (AWD). The XJL Portfolio is a longer-wheelbase, more richly equipped version with a 5.0 V8 for $82,075. An up-charge of $2,500 gets AWD in this car but you have to go back to the V6, the only way to fit AWD at this time. Nearing the XJ pinnacle, an XJ or XJL Supercharged, with a 470-horsepower V8, starts at $90,475, and the same engine tuned for 510 horsepower motivates the XJ and XJL Supersport, from $113,475. Finally the limited-production XJL Ultimate, with the 510-horsepower engine and every conceivable amenity, costs a lofty $155,875. Check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what buyers are paying in your area. Projected resale values for the Jaguar XJ still trail those of the Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
The 2013 Jaguar XJ features a full complement of the features you expect on a flagship luxury sedan plus a few more, including a leather-wrapped dash, a digital LCD gauge cluster, dynamic suspension damping, blind-spot monitoring and an extra-long panoramic moonroof. The "base" audio system is a 14-speaker, 380-watt setup with hard-disk music storage. The standard safety setup reads like a bowl of alphabet soup – ABS, DSC, CBC, EBD, ETC – and includes a full complement of airbags.
In addition to longer-wheelbase bodies and a now-wider choice of engines , the 2013 Jaguar XJ's list of upgrades includes adaptive cruise control, heated windshield, retractable rear-window shades and several seating options that range from massaging front seats to heated and cooled rear seats. Supercharged V8 models feature an active differential control to better put the increased power to the ground, while Supersport models add metallic foot pedals, semi-aniline leather and a standard rear-seat entertainment system.
MERIDIAN AUDIO SYSTEMS
The 380-watt, 14-speaker Meridian system that comes standard in the lower-range XJs is awfully good, but the premium system in the Supercharged, Supersport and Ultimate models is awesome: 7.1 surround-sound architecture with 825 watts and 20 speakers including two subwoofers.
DIGITAL INSTRUMENT CLUSTER
To help bolster the XJ's high-tech appeal, Jaguar engineers abandoned the conventional analog instrument cluster in favor of a high-resolution 12.3-inch LCD screen with a digital speedometer, tachometer and information window with configurable vehicle data.
Under the Hood
A new base engine joins the XJ range this year, a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that saves a little fuel compared to the V8s. It delivers a more-than-sufficient 340 horsepower along with decent low-speed torque. The three 5.0-liter V8s continue, making 385 horsepower in naturally aspirated form and 470 or 510 with supercharging. All XJ engines get a slick new 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, and the V6 can also be teamed with a new AWD system that favors the rear wheels in its torque split so the car retains its rear-drive feel.
3.0-liter supercharged V6
340 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
332 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 mpg (RWD), 16/25 mpg (AWD), 15/25 mpg (AWD, long-wheelbase)
385 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
380 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg
5.0-liter supercharged V8
470 horsepower @ 6,000-6,500 rpm
424 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23 mpg
5.0-liter supercharged V8
510 horsepower @ 6,000-6,500 rpm
461 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23 mpg
Jaguar automobiles have been cultural icons for nearly a century, and while the brand once suggested old-fashioned eccentricity, the 2013 Jaguar XJ boasts contemporary design, impeccable craftsmanship, modern amenities and sparkling performance. For this year, the line expands with the addition of a fuel-efficient V6 as the new base engine and an available all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. As such, it more than qualifies as a viable and appealingly contrarian alternative to the established luxury flagships, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Lexus LS.