Jaguar’s XJ sedan has a history that dates back to 1968, but the brand’s flagship model hasn’t always been a car we’d recommend to friends and relatives. That certainly can’t be said of the 2013 Jaguar XJ sedan, which blends a stunning shape with contemporary luxury and a dizzying array of available variants. For 2013, the big news is that the XJ lineup has been expanded to include a supercharged V-6 and available all-wheel drive.
While previous XJ models weren’t exactly known for their cutting-edge design, the 2011 rework gave the big cat its own sense of style. Unlike the plethora of derivative luxury sedans on the market today, the Jaguar XJ looks like nothing else on the road. It also doesn’t bear much of a resemblance to XJ models of the past, but in this case we say that’s a good thing. Some may decry the restyle as being a bit on the bland side (especially the rear), but we’re not among them. In fact, when people ask us to define the word “understated,” we simply show them a picture of the 2013 Jaguar XJ sedan.
A minor complaint with last year’s XJ models was the limited range of engine options available, but that’s been corrected for 2013. Base models now sport a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6, rated at 340 horsepower and mated to a ZF-supplied eight-speed automatic transmission. While down from the 385 horsepower in last year’s base engine, a normally-aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 (still used in the entry-level long-wheelbase model), fuel economy with the force-fed V-6 is up noticeably, and performance doesn’t suffer significantly. The run from 0-60 mph now takes 5.7 seconds, up just 0.3 seconds from the base V-8.
If you require additional thrust, Jaguar’s supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 carries over from last year, producing either 470 horsepower (in Supercharged trim) or 510 horsepower (in Supersport guise). Bolted to the same ZF eight-speed transmission used throughout the XJ product line, Supercharged models can sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds, while Supersport versions reduce your waiting to just 4.7 seconds. While most versions are governed to 155 mph, available Sport and Speed packs can raise that limit to 174 mph. Buyers in colder climates will appreciate the newly-available all-wheel-drive option, though it restricts buyers to the supercharged V-6 long-wheelbase model.
Jaguar uses aluminum extensively throughout the XJ’s structure to save weight, but the material has the added benefit of increasing stiffness. The net result is that the new XJ serves up an athletic feel not previously associated with Jaguar’s range-topping sedan, yet it still manages to deliver a luxurious ride when asked to do so (thanks to the wonders of its electronic dampers). Sizable brake rotors and Z-rated tires enhance the XJ’s performance potential, and we’re sure that the sedan will surprise many a first-time XJ driver.
Inside, there’s a price to pay for the XJ’s stylish plunging roofline. Headroom for front seat passengers is reduced by the sunroof, though only those much taller than six feet will likely complain. That’s not the case in the second row, where passengers over six feet will find headroom to be lacking. Legroom, on the other hand, is plentiful, especially in long-wheelbase variants. Overall, we’d sum up the interior as “intimate,” which isn’t a bad thing for a luxury sedan with sporting intentions.
Overall, nine distinct versions of the 2013 Jaguar XJ are available, priced from $74,000 to an eye-opening $155,000. As you’d expect of a flagship luxury sedan, all models come well equipped, sporting amenities such as a panoramic sunroof; a hard-drive equipped audio system with AM/FM/CD/DVD/MP3/HD and Sirius satellite radio; voice-controlled navigation; automatic climate control; heated front and rear seats and included maintenance, which covers everything except gas and tires for five years or 50,000 miles. Options include ventilated, massaging front seats, as well as ventilated rear seats.
For more details, see our full review of the 2013 Jaguar XJ
on The Car Connection.