There’s something synonymous between style and the Jaguar. Call it a bond between the British luxury car maker and its visionary design director, Ian Callum. Or maybe it’s the decades of industry-leading design, dating back to 1945. Or it could be as simple as saying the jaguar is the coolest feline in the animal kingdom. Whatever that theoretical reason may be: the Jaguar and its ferocious style are predatory in the auto industry.
Oddly enough, when someone thinks of a modern day Jaguar, car enthusiasts are quick to picture an F-Type or an XF. However, their flagship sedan, the XJ, rarely appears as a popular Canadian choice, as it accounts for only a quarter of the company’s sales in 2015. At a price tag starting from $99,000 and loaded with a battalion of features, the four-door sedan should have all the style, speed and grace to grasp a lion’s share of the market. So I requested a drive to see if there’s something in the sales figures that I’m missing.
In a week with the 2016 Jaguar XJL Portfolio, the luxury sedan introduces a variety of appeasing knick-knacks that remain competitive with the equivalent wolf pack: the Audi A8, the BMW 7, and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The visual goodies are bountiful on this one, so I neatly prepared nine of the most gorgeous features that define the Jaguar XJL.
1. The grille is simultaneously menacing and quaint.
A big, mean grille can be a dime a dozen these days, especially when a certain knockoff Bentley hits the opening track on Drake’s new album, Views. What makes the XJL’s front grille unique is that it’s slightly taller with a new, wide mesh pattern, adding depth on the front lines. It also maintains the selective beauty of the Jaguar’s front bumper area.
2. The long body gives a sexy side profile.
Similar to how a slim pair of pants subconsciously adds height, a long wheelbase adds length. A long body creates a visually seductive side profile, but adds functional spaciousness on the inside. While some may worry about parallel parking a long car like this, automated parking features nip at those fears rather quickly.
3. It looks fast because it is fast.
In the rear, the exhaust tips are designed in an oval shape for an exotic and pierced look. Built on an aluminum body and underlying structure, the lightweight frame coupled with a V6 engine equals ultra speed and competitive sportiness. It glides like Batman’s cape, but with the thrust of Iron Man’s suit.
4. The gear shift paddles make it vroom.
Drive mode allows you to use the gear shift paddles for temporary access to manual operation. However if you’re ready to speed things up, switching to Sport mode sets it permanently. While I found the feature fun to switch on the fly – especially when I just want to hear it growl – the paddle placement had me accidentally engaging it. Might be troubling for those not versed in manual driving.
5. The seats are melty for all the right reasons.
The seat design includes soft quilted leather and heated/chilled vents for proper temperature checks. Rear seating is spacious and cozy, while the front seat passengers are pampered by multi-adjustable seating and massage options that work your shoulders, lumbar, and lower back. Nap time? Switch to park. Zzz.
6. You’ll want to caress the interior ceiling. I’m serious.
The interior, while it’s lovely to look at, is actually heavenly to touch. The ceiling is lined with a suede interior for a velvety feel. The console is smooth and cool to brush your fingers against, while the wood veneer trimming maintains a regal presence.
7. If the console’s clock and oval vents don’t speak Jaguar, I don’t know what does.
Taking queues from past Jaguars, the modernized centre console design adds sportiness and function to the threshold. The oval vents make something flash out of something conventionally dull. The clock – standard amongst most Jaguars and Land Rovers – is the finishing touch. What’s a car without a time piece, anyway?
8. The touch screen interface was much needed.
Jaguar’s goal isn’t to be the #1 car technology company out there. Innovative design is what makes it tick. However, as modernized touch screens are becoming the norm in any car, basic and up, the 2016 model now includes the upgraded InControl system in the 8″ touch screen. More specifically, app synchronization and improved responsiveness.
9. Privacy without the tinted windows.
While it may not be the primary reason to drop six figures on a car, rear passengers can keep prying eyes out by automatically applying a net filter to the side windows and rear windshield, adding a privacy element to the backseat experience. I won’t suggest anything.