At my current station in life, driving a luxurious executive sedan shouldn’t be a top priority — or at least, should rank well below two-seater sports cars or loud obnoxious sport bikes. However, my priorities seem to change whenever that sedan is emblazoned with a large leaping cat.
I recently had the opportunity to test out the 2015 Jaguar XJL Portfolio AWD, the L denoting the long wheelbase version of Jaguar’s full-size flagship four door. The car simply has to be seen, and sat in, to believe just how long it is: 5,252 millimetres in length, with 1,120 mm of rear legroom, which is 129 mm more than the standard wheelbase.
The front half of the vehicle is all classic Jag. A signature contrasting mesh grill takes up most of the forward-facing real estate, flanked by sharp xenon headlights. The blackened B pillars combined with the wraparound rear window give the XJL, in my opinion, one of its most distinct aesthetic feature in the floating roof. Silver split five-spoke 19-inch wheels compl-
ement the car nicely, especially in the Polaris White colour scheme of my press loaner. They could have been one-inch bigger to fill out the fenders a little more, but there’s always the option to either add-on or move up to the V8 models for that.
The interior is awash with buttery and cream-coloured perforated leather. If you haven’t fallen asleep after settling into the heated/cooled driver’s chair yet, activating the improved massage function with five settings should do the trick. Perhaps that is why the massive panoramic glass roof was installed, to bathe the driver in natural light. Or you could just turn up the 380-watt surround sound Meridian stereo and go deaf to harmonious and distortion-free music.
The 3.0 badge on the rear trunk lid gives away the fact that power comes from a 3.0-litre, 340 horsepower supercharged V6. The block is made from aluminum, to decrease weight. For the same reason, the body is also molded from composite aluminum and magnesium alloys. Coupled with the traction from the all-wheel drive system and silky-smooth ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, the “base” mill feels quick and lively.
You might think Jaguar owners don’t care about fuel economy. And maybe they don’t, but I certainly do. All XJs come with a switchable engine start/stop function, and when matched with driving habits that occasionally demonstrate a degree of restraint, fuel economy numbers in the low teens is achievable. For instance, I was able to score an average 13.2 L/100 km.
During my week with car, I endured “old man” comments more than once. And sure, with its limousine-like qualities, I get it. But it certainly didn’t feel like one on curvy roads. Besides giving lots of traction, the “instinctive” all-wheel drive is normally rear biased, sending lots of torque to the back two wheels for optimal handling. If any slip is detected, up to 50 per cent of the torque is sent back to the front. Although I drove the wheel in late spring, it’s nice to know there’s a winter mode that sets up the vehicle dynamics for maximum grip.
MSRP: $112,490 base
Motor: 3.0 L supercharged V6
Horsepower: 340 @ 6,500 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 332 @ 3,550 rpm
Gearbox: ZF eight-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 13.2 L/100 km
combined city/highway (observed)