2014 Jaguar XJL Supercharged Review
An expensive value proposition.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: July 30th, 2014
We've already reviewed a different variant of Jaguar's long-wheelbase flagship XJL. However, unlike the last car's 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, this XJL packs a much bigger beast underneath its hood. The most significant difference between that car and this car is the 5.0-liter supercharged V-8, which adds 130 horsepower and 92 lb-ft of torque over the six-pot. It also deletes the front half of the drivetrain. That's right, this car has more power and fewer driven wheels. That's great for driving, but does it change the experience of being chauffeured? It doesn't, but if anything, it'll make you want to wrestle the keys away from your driver at every possible opportunity.
We loved the interior in the V-6 model, and aside from a change of color, the two interiors are largely the same. The rotary shift knob is still there, the switchgear is all the same, and the dashboard still sports the dual-layered look that's nearly as aesthetically impressive as the S-Class, despite being significantly cheaper. Save for very few spots, everything is very nice to touch, and there isn't a whole lot of plastic to be had.
The TFT display is still there, as well, casting glare into the driver's eyes, even on moderately sunny days. It would be nice to see the screen every once in a while.
The back seats are immensely comfortable, with more than enough legroom to seat your basketball-playing neighbor sans complaint. The rear seats don't come with the adjustability seen in even the standard-wheelbase S-Class, but that's why Jaguar has a few options to make the rear a bit more exec-friendly. However, even without those option boxes checked, it's still a great place to spend a morning commute.
Aside from a few red-colored details (wheel center caps and the front-mounted Growler grille) and a big ol' Supercharged badge, the XJL Supercharged doesn't look much different than the other models. It's still a very striking design, though, and it has just a bit more character than the somewhat-muted Sonderklasse. It looks like something a 1950's train designer would have drawn up when asked what the train of the future would look like.
On the Road
If you want to start smoking tires and exploring drift angles, you don't even need to put the XJL Supercharged into Dynamic mode. Instead, wait for a little bit of rain to fall, and completely defeat the traction control with a ten-second button press. You'll have plenty of smooth throttle modulation, although the light steering doesn't communicate much feedback to the driver's hands. During the weekday, that's all well and good, but when you want to have some fun, it makes wheel positioning a bit harder.
That said, this car is at home at both high and low speeds. The suspension is soft, absorbing all manner of crappy road conditions, leading to a bit of a floaty ride. It's surprisingly maneuverable for a car of its size, as well, making it a good car for urban moneybags who make plenty of 90-degree turns.
Not everything is perfect in Jaguarland, though. While we like the fuel-sipping nature of the XJL Supercharged's stop-start system, it tends to kick in and out with a rumble that shakes the whole car. The trunk is also surprisingly small for a car of its size, mostly because every inch of extra wheelbase went to rear-seat legroom.
Then there's the matter of infotainment. Jaguar's system is easy to use, but as mentioned earlier, the screen is prone to annoying glare. Furthermore, the base Meridian sound system's surround-sound programming isn't as good as the competition, making the upgraded Meridian unit a must-have option, and an expensive one, at that.
At a starting price well below 100 large, the XJL stands as a good value-buy against the S-Class. The Merc has an undoubtedly nicer interior, but on the whole, the two cars are awfully similar. So, if your whole block went to the Mercedes dealership in the last few months, be the guy who breaks free of the mold and pick up the XJL Supercharged. It's an amazing car - not a perfect car, but still a winner in our book.
Specs & Price
Engine: 5.0-liter supercharged V-8
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Power Output: 470 hp / 424 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 15 city / 23 highway
Base Price: $93,600
As Tested: $94,900 (incl. $925 destination)
Sport and Speed Package: 174-mph top speed, 20-inch wheels, front splitter, rear decklid spoiler, red brake calipers, 18-way sport seats
Rear Seat Package: Individual rear seats with massage, folding center armrests, rear footrests, electric rear side-window sunshades
Premium Rear Executive Package: Rear Seat Package plus rear seat memory, control of all power seats, business tray tables, rear-seat entertainment system, wireless headphones
Illumination Package: Illuminated air vents, illuminated door sills, illuminated trunk sill
Individual Options: 1300-watt Meridian premium sound system, massaging front seats, adaptive cruise control, electric heated windshield, front ashtray
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2014 Jaguar XJ, click here: 2014 Jaguar XJ.