2019 Jaguar XJ: A Quintessential Luxury Sedan

The Jaguar XJ is a car that resonates through the history of the late 20th century when it was the quintessential luxury sedan driven by anyone who wanted a bit of that unique style and elegance. Times move on though, and so has the XJ.

Jaguar completely overhauled its model range and the X-Type was the last of the old Jaguar portfolio – but the changes were well worth it. The bigger, more upscale XJ has a lot going for it today, and here’s a brief overview.

Exterior Styling

If there’s one word that properly sums up the 2019 Jaguar XJ, it’s elegant. Although the XJ is more like the XF than any XJ models of the past, there’s still an unmistakable Britishness about it that sets it apart from its rivals. It’s not quite a sport sedan, but it can be specified in a number of different ways.

Competing at this level isn’t easy, and the rivals of the XJ are all superb. However, there’s something about the exterior styling of the big Jag that says you’ve thought a little longer and harder about your purchase.

There’s a slope to the roofline that hints at coupe, which is perhaps even more pronounced in long-wheelbase versions of the XJ. Some large luxury cars just look like the owner will be sitting in the back reading the Wall St Journal instead of being upfront driving, and this is one of them.

Interior

Cars in this class don’t necessarily stand or fall by any one particular aspect, but a high-quality luxury interior is a must to even be considered a serious contender at this level. The 2019 Jaguar XJ doesn’t disappoint for a second in this vital area.

The ergonomics are not perfect, but the style, quality and fit of the materials are beyond reproach here. The main ergonomic issue is the rear headroom we mentioned in the intro. Although the worst of the problem was fixed pre-launch by lowering the rear seat, there isn’t as much headroom in the rear as many would like. However, if you’re buying the XJ for you to drive and you’re not going to be sitting in the back seat, who cares?

The XJ passes one very important test, and that’s having an entry-level trim level that’s more luxurious than the highest specification versions of large sedans in the non-luxury segment. Entry models are perhaps not quite as impressive as some of those German rivals, but we’re really into the realms of splitting hairs. Standard features include a full set of power features, heated front and rear seats, and ventilated and massaging front seats.

Powertrains and Performance

Buyers can choose from an impressive lineup of V-6 and V-8 engines under the hood of the Jaguar XJ, and every unit is supercharged. The only thing that’s perhaps missing is a hybrid, but that’s unlikely to be a deal-breaker for too many of the Jag’s potential customers.

The standard engine is a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that develops 340 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of torque, which is sent to the rear or all four wheels through a superb eight-speed automatic transmission. In rear-wheel-drive form, this engine gets the XJ from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, while all-wheel-drive versions take 6.1 seconds. This engine is available with short and long-wheelbase versions of the XJ, and this engine is the only way to have the Jaguar with all-wheel drive. The top speed with this engine is a relatively modest 121 mph.

If more power is required, the optional powerplant is a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8, which in its less-powerful form puts 470 hp and 424 lb.-ft. of torque at your disposal. Go for an XJR575 with the V-8, and then you’re looking at a fabulous 575 hp and 517 lb.-ft. of torque. The 470 hp V-8 gets the Jag from 0 to 60 mph in a very swift 4.9 seconds, but the more powerful version gets that time down to a tire-screeching 4.2 seconds. The top speed of the de-tuned version of the V-8 is 155 mph, but that rises to a seriously quick 174 mph for the XJR575.

Safety

Vehicles of such relatively low sales volumes don’t often get crash tested by the NHTSA or IIHS, but there’s plenty of advanced kit to suggest the XJ is a pretty safe car. Every model comes standard with a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, forward collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings with active lane control, and a driver drowsiness monitor. A surround-view camera is optional, which is probably understandable, but so is adaptive cruise control, which isn’t perhaps as acceptable at this level.

The Good

  • Classy, elegant design
  • Sumptuous interior
  • Lots of standard features
  • Excellent engines

The Not-So-Good

  • Not as much interior space as some rivals
  • No electrified powertrains
  • V-8 not greatly more powerful than the V-6

The Last Word

The 2019 Jaguar XJ is a fabulous blend of contemporary and retro style. All that’s really retro about the XJ is its name and its British elegance, which means everything that needs to be modern and cutting-edge is just that. The engines are smooth and powerful, and although the 5.0-liter V-8 is tempting, the majority of buyers will find the V-6 more than satisfactory, especially as it also means you can have all-wheel drive.

If you inspect any single element of the XJ in minute detail, there’s every chance you’ll find a rival that perhaps does it a little better. But as an overall package that sets you apart from the bulk of the full-size luxury sedan crowd, the 2019 Jaguar XJ makes a compelling case for securing your business.

Yauhen_D / Shutterstock

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