Jaguar owners, Tata Motors, have thankfully left much of the British automakers legacy intact despite faltering sales in the last couple of years. Therefore, those that are a fan of the elegance and timeless style of arguably Jaguar’s most important vehicle, the XJ, will likely be pleased with the minor update to the luxury sedan for 2009 before its major overhaul in 2010.
Unlike other models, the third-generation of the XJ looks exactly as you would expect of the styling from Jaguar. Although the exterior of the 2009 XJ has a slightly revised front end that features a bright lower mesh grille, bi-xenon headlamps and new side power vents, the XJ is but the latest iteration of one of the world’s most recognizable auto designs. The packaging, however, is not an indication of the car’s modern luxury engineering, which includes a lightweight all-aluminum body and frame, powerful V8 engines, a Computer Active Technology Suspension, adaptive cruise control, Advanced Restrained Technology System and high-tech features like navigation and Bluetooth connectivity for up to five phones keep this flagship sedan in step with competitors from Germany and Japan. The parking aid equipped rear bumper introduced last year remains on the upcoming edition. Despite the discontinuing of the “Sport Premium,” to Jaguar’s credit that have added even more standard features to the remaining Executive, Sovereign, and Super V8 models for 2009. Perhaps the only criticism of the car, beyond price, is that Jaguar has a legacy of illogical ergonomics to the interior that goes back as far as company’s use of the color green. Nevertheless, the interior spares no expense in use of Burl walnut wood trim, chrome and fine leather.
Choice of engines does not include the 2.7L twin-turbocharged diesel V-6 that is available in Europe, though in addition to the base V8, the 4.2L supercharged V-8 engines with 400 horsepower is. Fuel efficiency and emissions have improved, with the former achieving 16/25 mpg with the 300 horsepower normally aspirated base engine, and 15/22 mpg for the supercharged version. Being a relatively heavy vehicle the normal V8 propels the XJ to a top speed of 121, while the supercharger adds an extra 34 mph. Both engines run through a six-speed automatic. In testing, the cars extremely soft suspension does not completely hide the vehicles stiff body structure and solid steering.
Pricing would hardly seem to matter to those capable of purchasing a new Jaguar, but even in these tough economic times an XJ can be had for a paltry sum of $66,475 for the base model, up to $94,850 for the Super V8. Sales numbers aside, Jaguar can still knows how to build luxury performance sedans. Depending on what happens for 2010, enjoy the XJ while you can, if you can.