Unique in its class, the 2015 Jaguar XJ melds old-world road presence with modern technology in a blend that grants beauty and grace.
The 2015 Jaguar XJ is a beautiful British sedan and is largely unchanged from the previous model year. It remains the flagship of the Jaguar brand, seating up to five and carrying more than just indulgent opulence in its elegance.
The two body styles are available for the 2015 Jaguar XJ, which include regular and long-wheelbase (XJL) models. Engine options begin with a supercharged V6, while an available supercharged V8 rivals many muscle cars with its output.
The exterior of the XJ is sleek, modern, and in all ways beautiful. Its styling is not as over the top as the Italian competition’s, but the Jaguar XJ is also not as conservative looking as the German models that it competes with. The basic design is a flowing, near-fastback four-door sedan with wide shoulders, slim haunches and the signature pouncing curve of the Jaguar. Body color options are offset with tasteful chrome accents and badging.
Two things set the Jaguar apart from many competitors: its decidedly old-world appeal and its modern all-aluminum bodywork.
The base XJ has 19-inch wheels, a self-leveling suspension, bi-xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof and soft-closing doors. The XJL Portfolio (the base XJL model) adds considerable length to the car, nearly all of which is used to give four extra inches to rear-seat legroom. Otherwise, the XJL Portfolio is the same as the base XJ.
The XJ Supercharged and XJL Supercharged add upgrades that include 20-inch wheels to go with a powerful V8 engine and performance tires. The top-of-the-line XJR (available as either a standard or long wheelbase sedan) upgrades to exclusive 20-inch wheels, quad exhaust tips and an even more powerful V8. A Sport and Speed package is available on most upper trims to bring exclusive trim detailing, red brake calipers, a front splitter and a trunk spoiler.
The interior of the XJ is well-appointed and luxurious. Elegance is the aim with fanfare kept to a minimum. Soft leather, light chrome accents and deck wood were found inside the midlevel XJL that we drove. Controls are straightforward, ergonomic to use and easily adjustable for the driver. The rounded shift knob lifts lightly from the center tunnel and soft-touch buttons control entertainment and storage access.
Standard features in the XJ include a 14-speaker Meridian audio system, a USB port, an 8-inch touch screen, eight-way power front seating and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Many options are grouped into packages, though adaptive cruise control, premium leather, a 26-speaker Meridian audio system and a heated windshield are available as standalone options.
Three engine options are available for the 2015 XJ and XJL. The standard engine is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 producing 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. This runs through a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels (all-wheel drive is optional).
Fuel economy is 21 mpg combined for rear-wheel drive models, while the all-wheel drive XJ is rated at 19 mpg combined. We averaged 23 mpg in an XJL Portfolio with all-wheel drive over nearly 500 miles of highway-intensive driving.
A larger V8 option is available with XJ and XJL Supercharged trims. This beefy, supercharged 5.0-liter V8 outputs 470 horsepower and 424 pound-feet of torque. Upgrading to the XJR option boosts this engine’s output to 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. Both models have an EPA rating of 18 mpg combined.
Each respective engine option comes with specifically-tuned chassis and tire/wheel combinations to suit. For example, suspension tuning for the V6 model is responsive, but soft, matching the sedate and well-mannered appeal of the supercharged V6 as a highway cruiser. The bigger V8 in the Supercharged trim adds an active rear differential, sportier suspension tuning and larger brakes to compensate for the uptick in power. Likewise, the XJR adds specific suspension tuning to make it more track ready than its siblings.
On the road, the Jaguar XJ has a smooth, commanding presence that lends confidence to the driver. There’s an effortless pace and gracious feel behind the wheel, as well as an extremely quiet interior thanks to plenty of dampening and thick glass.
Technology in the XJ revolves around the standard 8-inch touch screen with navigation, Bluetooth, voice controls and a 14-speaker Meridian sound system.
Although the system is one of the easiest to figure out that we’ve used, it lacks several capabilities that might be considered standard in this upper-level segment. Other manufacturers, even in their lower-end models, offer access to smartphone apps, as well as weather and traffic alerts as standard. Many of these are not available at all to the Jaguar XJ.
Despite this, we did enjoy the Jaguar XJ’s unique user interface. Unlike its German counterparts, the Jaguar XJ does not employ a central command knob, but instead utilizes the more intuitive touch screen and physical controls.
The 2015 XJ offers good safety with superior braking and handling. Forward collision alert and advanced brake assist are available with the optional adaptive cruise control system.
The Jaguar XJ is, however, missing some key advanced safety features that are becoming standard in the high-end luxury segment. Lane-keeping warning and assist, parallel parking assist, surround-view cameras, cross-traffic alert and a head-up display are not available.
In this segment, cost-effectiveness is largely a matter of elegance for the dollar, which makes the Jaguar XJ a very good value. Base and mid-level offerings for the XJ and XJL are very competitively priced, while upper-level models are expensive, but not overly so. While the 2015 Jaguar XJ has an average introductory price compared with others in the segment, its high-performance options are unusual for a flagship sedan.
The 2015 Jaguar XJ is a beautifully made car that is lovely to drive. It makes a simple, profound statement about its owner by avoiding ostentatious display and focusing on elegance. The 2015 XJ’s road presence is commanding, but not demanding. It is, in short, a well-tuned and beautifully balanced luxury car.