2016 Jaguar XJL Supercharged Review

Long, luxurious, heavy and fast

Wade Thiel, Senior Staff Writer

Positives: Head turning long lines and sumptuous interior, comfortable seats, plenty of technology and impressive acceleration. Also, it's not a BMW, Merc or Audi.
Negatives: Noticeably corpulent, more body roll than expected, overall driving experience not as good as the competition.
Bottom Line: The word that comes to mind when driving the Jaguar XJL is overindulgence. It's supremely fast, unnecessarily long and exceptionally luxurious. As decadent as it is, it still isn't quite as refined as the competition. Audi, BMW and Mercedes do a better job implementing technology into a big, luxurious car and overall feel better put together. Still, the Jag holds its own and warrants, if just barely, its exorbitant price tag
There’s some seriously tough competition in the large luxury sedan segment. Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW all have impressive entrants and Lexus and Cadillac shouldn’t be left out either. That makes it tough for Jaguar to really stand out, but the XJL manages to earn its spot near the top of the heap, at least in terms of visual cache. It has everything you want in a luxurious long-wheelbase sedan -- a powerful supercharged V8 engine, premium interior materials and advanced technology.

We recently got to spend a week in the XJL’s extravagant cabin and drove it all over the Chicagoland area. Here’s what we found out about Jaguar’s long sedan.

Driving Experience



You feel like a powerful person when driving the Jaguar XJL Supercharged. The warble of the supercharged V8 is music to any performance-minded person’s ears. We drive so many cars with whiney turbocharged four-cylinder engines that the deep-throated 5.0-liter V8 had us smiling every time we stepped on the accelerator. Our grins also probably had something to do with the car's plentiful thrust. The XJL may be big, but it can really move when you need it to.

The only thing we didn’t like is the automatic start/stop. We get that this technology is warranted in a car like this, but killing and firing up the big V8 can sometimes get annoying or feel intrusive to the driving experience. Other vehicles we’ve driven with this technology integrate it more seamlessly than Jaguar has with this car. This feature bothered us less as we got later into the week, but it still seemed to break up what was otherwise a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Ride Quality: The XJL seems to float over the pavement. Bumps and cracks in the road do little to disrupt the big car. The adaptive dynamic independent suspension handles different quality roads without issue, making for a smooth ride no matter what street you’re on.

Acceleration: The car has fast and smooth acceleration and an attractive engine note, though we found the engine noise piped into the cabin to kick in a little late. It can make 60 mph from a stop in under 5 seconds. Frighteningly fast.

Braking: The brakes of the XJL Supercharged are strong and progressive. You can feel the heft of the car, though the brakes do a wonderful job of hauling the car to a stop.

Steering: Steering is light and precise. You don’t get much feedback from the road, but it's no trouble at all putting the car where you want it. Still, we would've wished for more steering effort and feedback, but that's us.

Handling: The Adaptive Dynamic Suspension does its best to minimize body roll, but we still noticed a fair amount in the corners. Still, the Jag is fun to drive. In this car, we prefer to cruise at highway speeds rather than carve up a curvy road.




The XJL comes equipped with plenty of technology to satisfy even the more tech-savvy buyer. The InControl remote allows users to control certain aspects of the car from their smartphone, like trip tracking, remote unlock and locking and remotely starting the vehicle. These features are truly impressive. The InControl Touch Pro infotainment system in the XJL aspires to be a highly intuitive system, but we found that it took some time to learn and was not easy to use on the fly. We found ourselves waiting until the car came to a halt at stoplights before using the system. A few more actual buttons would have been helpful.

Infotainment System: The infotainment system as stated above isn’t as intuitive as Jaguar would have you believe, though it does operate smoothly and is full of features. The 8-inch touchscreen feels plenty large enough and provides crisp and clear graphics.

Controls: The touchscreen-based controls aren’t extremely intuitive, but as our week with the vehicle wore on, we became more accustom to them. We’re glad Jaguar still has a volume knob as it’s never fun to try and adjust the volume on a touchscreen while driving.

Bluetooth Pairing: Pairing a phone proved to be simple and reconnecting seamless upon re-entry.

Voice Call Quality: The quality of phone calls was high on both ends. We experienced no issues.




The best way to describe the Jaguar XJL’s styling is muscled elegance – much like a real-life jaguar. The car has a powerful appearance with creases and bulges but is also sleek and upscale thanks to good proportions and just the right amount of chrome accents. It’s not excessively flashy nor too subtle. It blends eye-catching features with attractive lines, making for a car that will look good for years to come.

Front: The front features Jaguar’s signature grille and LED daylight running lights and xenon bulbs make for an attractive face. The creased hood adds a bit of muscle to the front end.

Rear: The rear features somewhat wide C-pillars that blend with the rear glass for a seamless, wraparound look. The LED taillights and small chrome accents on the rear bumper and exhaust tips help give the rear of the car a luxurious look.

Profile: From the side, you can really see how long a sleek the car is. Your eye flows effortlessly down the side of the car without interruption. The rear overhang is a bit long for us, though.

Cabin: The interior is as easy to look at as the exterior, the wood trim on the doors and dash paired with the two-tone leather are a nice color scheme and the layout of the technology – while not exactly easy to use – is attractive to look at. Jaguar definitely went with a form over function approach to the interior.




Comfort is what the XJL was built for. The car is exceptionally spacious, features premium leather seats, tons of amenities and a smooth ride. The front and rear seats both have plenty of leg room and provide a good place to lounge and enjoy yourself. The XJL’s cabin is leaps and bounds above the vast majority of the cars out on the market.

Our only gripe is the placement of the seat memory settings. They’re on the inside of the driver’s door just above the handle. We bumped them once while at a stop light and the seat adjusted to different settings as we were taking off. Moving those controls closer to the dash or on the dash would remove this possibility.

Front Seats: The seats come wrapped in beautiful diamond-quilted leather and are well padded and bolstered. There’s plenty of seat adjustment allowing you to really get comfortable, and if you need more, the massage feature ups the comfort even more.

Rear Seats: The rear seats are also well padded and bolstered and feature the same high-quality diamond-stitched leather, though they lack the massage function.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Jaguar is very quiet. When you get on the gas, you can hear the engine and you can tell when the system that pipes engine noise into the cabin kicks in.

Visibility: Front and side visibility is good with no noticeable issues. Rear visibility isn’t as good, with a relatively small rear window. Cameras and sensors help alert you to what can’t be seen.

Climate: The climate controls work wonderfully. Rear passengers have their own set of controls and both rows feature heated and ventilated seats.




Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has tested and rated the Jaguar XJL Supercharged. Even the standard Jaguar XJ has not been tested yet. Despite this, we’d imagine that the vehicle doesn’t’ do too poorly on these tests. It comes equipped with a variety of safety technology, including several airbags, active head restraints and more. It’s large size, while not a completely reliable indicator of overall safety, means there should be plentiful crumple zones as well to absorb impacts and keep people safe. Check the NHTSA and IIHS websites at a later date for ratings and testing results.

IIHS Rating: Ratings for the Jaguar XJL Supercharged have not been released.

Standard Tech: LED front and rear lights, driver and front passenger airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints, alarm and engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitoring, LATCH restraint anchor points.

Optional Tech: No optional safety tech.




The XJL is long, luxurious and has plenty of room. That being said, the interior isn’t designed for carrying a lot of luggage and items around. The space is there, but the bins and compartments aren’t. There’s a lot of space in this car, but it is designed for lounging out in luxurious leather seats not packing away your things, unless you’re putting stuff in the trunk.

Storage Space: The door pockets, cup holders and glove box are all generous, but not monstrous. As much space as is in the XJL, we kind of expected more in terms of storage spaces.

Cargo Room: The trunk is where you’ll be putting your junk. There’s 15.2 cubic feet of space for your things. While that’s generous, it’s less than the BMW 7-Series, which is a major competitor of the Jag.

Fuel Economy



With a big burbling V8 beneath the hood, it’s no wonder the XJL Supercharged doesn’t do so well on gas mileage. If you own this car, though, you probably don’t care that you’re likely getting 13 miles per gallon or less when you’re really getting on it. A few extra dollars at the pump shouldn’t mean much to someone who pays upwards of $100K for a car. If you want fuel efficiency, go drive a Toyota Prius, the Jag is all about going fast and smooth while sitting in comfort and luxury.

Observed: We averaged a not impressive 16 miles per gallon combined.

Driving Factors: We drove the XJL mostly in the city with a few short jaunts on the highway. The car was driven under heavy throttle when possible.




The optional Meridian 1300W Reference Audio system with 26 speakers is superb. It hits all the notes, high and low, and makes for a rich, full-bodied sound throughout the cabin. The standard Meridian 825W surround sound system with 20 speakers is probably also a wonderful system but if you want the very best, you can’t do better than the 1300W system.

Shopping for a used
Jaguar XJL?