When someone thinks of a modern day Jaguar, car enthusiasts are quick to picture an F-Type or an XF. However, their flagship sedan, the XJ, rarely appears as a popular Canadian choice, as it accounts for only a quarter of the company's sales in 2015. At a price tag starting from $99,000 and loaded with a battalion of features, the four-door sedan should have all the style, speed and grace to grasp a lion's share of the market. So I requested a drive to see if there's something in the sales figures that I'm missing.
In a week with the 2016 Jaguar XJL Portfolio, the luxury sedan introduces a variety of knick-knacks that remain competitive with its equivalent wolf pack: the Audi A8, the BMW 7 and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. For the test drive, I neatly prepared the unique features in the Jaguar XJL that compete with its class.
A big, mean grille can be a dime a dozen these days, especially when a certain knockoff Bentley hits the opening track on Drake's new album, Views. What makes the XJL's front grille distinct is the slightly taller design with a new, wide mesh pattern, adding depth on the front lines. It is also complimented by a rounded front bumper design and LED headlights.
Similar to how a slim pair of pants subconsciously adds height, a long wheelbase adds length. A long body can create a visually seductive side profile, and adds functional spaciousness on the inside. While some may worry about parallel parking a long car, automated parking features nip at those fears rather quickly.
In the rear, the exhaust tips are designed in an oval shape for an exotic and pierced look. Built on an aluminum body and underlying structure, the lightweight frame coupled with a V6 engine equals speed and sportiness. It glides like Batman's cape, but with the thrust of Iron Man's suit.
Drive mode allows you to use the gear shift paddles for temporary access to manual operation of the vehicle. However if you're ready to speed things up, switching to sport mode sets it permanently. While I found the feature fun -- especially when I just want to hear it growl -- the paddle placement had me accidentally engaging it. Might be troubling for those not versed in manual driving.
The interior is a treat to touch. The ceiling is lined with a suede fabric for a velvety feel. The console is smooth to brush your fingers against, with wood veneer trimming for polish. The seat design includes soft quilted leather and heated/chilled vents for proper temperature checks. It's spacious in the rear, while the front seat passengers have access to multi-adjustable seating and massage options that work your shoulders, lumbar and lower back. Nap time? Switch to park. Zzz.
Taking queues from past Jaguars, the modernized centre console design adds sportiness and function to the threshold. The oval vents make something flash out of something conventionally dull. The clock -- standard amongst most Jaguars and Land Rovers -- is the finishing touch.
Jaguar isn't trying to be the number one car technology company out there -- design is its forte. However, as modernized touch screens are becoming the norm in any car, basic and up, the 2016 model now includes the upgraded InControl system in the eight-inch touch screen. More specifically, app synchronization and improved responsiveness.
While I can understand a sport car buyer's fixation on the F-Type, the XJ appears to be the conservative option for those that are willing to sacrifice sporty for solitude. From the sales figures, when buyers look for a sports car, they head for a Jaguar. For a luxury sedan -- the buyer has options and are willing to go feature-to-feature with their research.
This post originally appeared on RAMONE.ca.
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