Quick Drive: 2011 Jaguar XJ Supercharged
By Winding Road Staff
February 03, 2011
Photos by Graham Driver
I have, with many of my fellow Winding Roaders, been a fast fan of the 2011 XJ since its launch late last year. A phenomenal looking machine, that draws compliments and stares wherever I have the pleasure of driving it. Jaguar is one of those lucky automakers that seems to have been able to keep public opinion of its brand quite positive, despite having produced more than its share of poor vehicles. And now the Jag lineup is chock-a-block with class-competitive cars, so the latent adulation has real merit.
First, it’s gorgeous on the inside. The dash is especially done well, sculpted in leather and wood. Sitting down in the front seat feels like bellying up to a cozy bar in a castle library. It’s a beautiful blend of classic and modern styling, and it feels very rich, warm, and inviting. For the driver, too, there’s the LCD display in lieu of a traditional instrument cluster, which is both unique and quite practical. Rear passengers also enjoy a nice, comfortable space in the XJ, but the driver’s seat is definitely the place to be.
The supercharged engine is more than enough for this car. I was surprised at how much urge this thing had down low. A luxury car doesn’t need this sort of speed, but I’m not complaining. The car can still be driven smoothly enough, but it’ll snap your neck back if you’re not careful. I’m not complaining.
The third thing that struck me was the quickness of the steering in the XJ. At low speeds, you don’t have to toss the wheel too far to either side to get the car to rotate. Yeah, it has no bearing on it’s actual turning ability (it has a turning circle of over 40 feet), but it definitely takes a lot of the pain out of driving in town It feels nimble, even, when combined with the quick response of the engine.
The new XJ really is an excellent package. It definitely earned its place on our Top 12 Cars Of 2010.
—John Beltz Snyder, Production Editor
- Stunning to behold inside and out
- Wide use of aluminum makes for a very lightweight car relative to the competition
- Supercharged V-8 is addictively torquey and quick to respond to throttle input
- Isolation dulls the thrill on dynamic roads
- Touch screen media and HVAC controls are not up to snuff in this tech-savvy market segment
- We’re still not convinced we love the video game-like all digital instrument panel