2013 Jaguar XJ & XF Buff Up with AWD
Quebec, Canada, December of 2012: We were invited to Quebec to drive a trio of 2013 vehicles from Jaguar and Land Rover: the company’s flagship Jaguar XJ, the smaller XF and the compact SUV Land Rover LR2. The driving conditions were perfect—snow, ice, rain and wind. Just the kind of weather we wanted to test the goods!
The news: With the addition of all-wheel drive, the XJ and XF are making themselves available to a new market, one that wants to be prepared for all types of weather conditions.
The drive: Our route started off in Mont Tremblant and took us over snowy back roads to Mecaglisse, a driving school and racetrack in the belly of the Laurentian Mountains and a 90 minute drive from Montreal.
I am one of those people who loves to drive on snow and ice. I got my wings after spending a couple of wild winters in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But in those days, I had an aging four-wheel drive Jeep. How my life has changed! This time, I was driving luxury sedans with AWD and feeling very confident! At the track, an instructor coached us in the art of dancing through cones, making quick stops and starts on the ice and drifting in circles around a track. One word: SUPERB.
But a real life test had me totally convinced. On the drive back, a huge snow machine veered into our path, spewing ice and mud. The lake was on our right, the truck on our left. When we lunged right and slipped minimally, the AWD system kicked in. The magic of this technology is what kept us from a potentially serious accident.
2013 Jaguar XJ
The look: The face of the XJ is punctuated with a handsome mesh grille and skinny Xenon headlights. The wrap-around rear window along with a panoramic glass roof opens this lovely sedan up to the outer world. However, for practical purposes, the roof has a dark tint for privacy and power blinds to screen sunlight. The taillights—three vertical lamps called cat’s claws— were designed so that the XJ could be identified in the dark.
Inside: The XJ’s interior is designed like a Ferragamo briefcase: less is more and quality is key. Designers pay attention to everything: the smell of the leather, the stitching patterns on the leather wrapped instrument panel, the exquisite wood trim (in fact, more wood trim than has been used in a Jaguar since the late 60’s), the clock that was inspired by high-end wristwatches and even the way the turn signals sound. The audio system is by Meridian, a British company known for its extraordinary stereo equipment. The vintage shaped vents are fashioned from metals that look and feel good to the touch. Ditto for the knurled shifters and controls.
Interior Electronics: The illuminated stop/start button pulsates like a heartbeat until pressed and then rises from the center console. The JaguarDrive Selector™ lowers automatically when the engine is stopped. And one more little touch: when you put the XJ in “Dynamic” mode, the control panel lights up in a red hue.
A 12.3-inch high-definition screen displays virtual gauges to function as instrument dials. An 8-inch touch-screen display in the center console provides access to functions including climate control, audio, communication and standard navigation. In addition, there is a voice control system for Bluetooth, navigation or audio systems.
The heart: The 2013 Jaguar XJ debuts a new supercharged 3-liter V6 engine (340hp at 6,500 rpm with ratings of 18-mpg city/27-mpg highway). Also available are a naturally aspirated 470hp 5-liter V8 in the XJ Supercharged model and a 510hp 5-liter V8 in the limited-production XJ Supersport and XJL Ultimate models. A new auto stop/start system saves gas, cuts down emissions and provides seamless acceleration.
Honorable mentions: The optional Speed Pack for the XJ Supersport and the Sport & Speed Pack for the XJ Supercharged add aerodynamic enhancements, exterior and interior features and a higher top speed capability (from 155 mph to 174 mph).
Pricing range: from $73,200 for the 2013 JAGUAR XJ: 340hp 3-liter supercharged V6 to $155,000 for theXJL Ultimate: 510hp 5-liter supercharged V8 (does not include $875 destination and delivery). FYI: There are only 30 XJL Ultimate (the extra long wheelbase with all of the bells and whistles) available for sale in the US.
2013 JAGUAR XF
Inside: The XF carries over many design elements from the XJ, including the JaguarDrive Selector that rises from the center console and the air vents that rotate to their open position when the start button is pressed. The XJ also has a primo 380-watt audio system from Meridian and an upgraded navigation and infotainment system.
With the exception of the sweeping glass roof and longer lines, the features that the smaller XF sedan carries are similar to those of the XJ in sophistication, technology and style.
A short history: The smaller sedan takes its claws from the original Jaguar Mark 2 sedan, a medium-sized saloon car from 1959 to 1967 made by the Jaguar in Coventry, England. Adhering to Sir William Lyons' maxim of "grace, pace and space," the Mark 2 was beautiful, fast and capable. The XF had a major revamp in 2012 to align with the new-generation XJ design. For 2013, the XF buffs up with a new eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive system.
The heart: The 240hp 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine brings 30-mpg highway. The available 340hp supercharged 3-liter V6 engine gets 28-mpg highway.
Honorable Mentions: An auto stop/start system increases fuel efficiency. The optional speed pack includes suspension and aerodynamic extras for higher speeds (from 155 mph to 174 mph).
Price range: from $46,975 for the XF 2.0 to $83,200 for the Jaguar XFR 5-liter supercharged V8 (does not include $875 destination and delivery).