Jaguar launched its all-new, aluminum-bodied XJ sedans for 2004 and follows for ’05 with three long-wheelbase models: XJ8 L, Vanden Plas and Super V-8 (shown above). Jaguar has offered LWB models all through the XJ’s life, starting with a stretched version of the original in 1972, and these new ones are expected to account for the majority of XJ sales in the United States.
To add rear room while retaining the proportion and dynamic character of the standard XJ, engineers stretched the wheelbase five in., increasing overall length to 205.3 in. and making the rear doors essentially as long as the front doors. The roofline was raised slightly and given a subtle new curvature for visual balance, while the wheels increased from 17 to 18 in. These changes required only 17 new body parts (including the large side pressings, doors and roof), retained the standard models’ exceptional stiffness and added just 53 pounds in weight.
Rear Room and Function
The larger rear door openings, 4.5 inches added knee room and ample headroom provide a substantial feeling of spaciousness in the rear cabin. The three-passenger back bench offers optional 4- way power adjustment and a unique control to move the front passenger seat forward for even more legroom. Picnic trays (standard in Vanden Plas and Super V-8) fold down from the front seatbacks for reading, writing or using a laptop, which can be powered from a nearby auxiliary socket. There’s also multi-media connectivity for iPod, MP3, game systems, etc., with optional 6.5-inch screens in the backs of the front headrests.
Both 294-hp standard and 390-hp supercharged 4.2L DOHC 4-valve aluminum VCP (variable camshaft phasing) V-8s are coupled to a ZF stepped six-speed automatic with a Bosch Mechatronic electro-hydraulic shift mechanism that uses adaptive shift strategy (controlled by the ECU) to respond to road conditions and the way the car is being driven. The (widely unloved) “J-Gate” gear selector gets a shorter-throw lever action with more precisely defined detents and a choice of “normal” or “sport” mode, the latter extending the shift points to make full use of the engine’s power.
Front and rear double-wishbone suspensions are mostly aluminum with air (vs. steel coil) springs and Jaguar’s enhanced Computer Active Technology Suspension (eCATS) adaptive damping. Also standard are an electronic parking brake, 4-channel ABS with Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and a new Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system that reacts to and controls both understeer and oversteer. Brembo brakes with steel-braided hoses and new 19 x 8.5-inch alloy wheels are standard on the high-performance Super V-8.
Jaguar’s Advanced Restraint Technology System (ARTS) monitors the driver’s position relative to the steering wheel, the position, weight of the front-seat passenger and the usage of seat belts, then senses the type and severity of a collision and deploys the airbags accordingly. Two-stage front airbags and side thorax bags protect the driver and front passenger, while side air curtains deploy in medium-to-high side impacts to protect both front and rear passengers.
|Jaguar XJ LWB At a Glance
|What it is:
|Stretched rwd high-luxury sedan
|Who it’s for:
|Luxury sedan buyers preferring Jaguar image, style and elegance over American, German or Japanese
|Where it’s built:
|Audi A8L, BMW 745Li,
|4.2L DOHC 4-valve aluminum VCP (variable camshaft phasing) V-8
|standard 294 at 6,000 rpm;
supercharged 390 at 6,100 rpm
|standard 303 lb.ft. at 4,100 rpm;
supercharged 399 lb.ft. at 3,500 rpm
|ZF 6HP26 stepped sixspeed automatic with Bosch Mechatronic electro-hydraulic shift mechanism
supercharged 17/24/20 City/Highway/Combined
|XJ8 L $63,495;
XJ Vanden Plas $70,995;
XJ Super V-8 $89,995
|What we think:
|Silky-smooth, leather and wood-lined British elegance with prodigious power, traditional Jaguar dynamics, plethora of features and ultra-spacious rear room.
|Seating, cabin trim, harnesses:
|Instrument panel, center console:
|Instrument cluster, rear differential:
|Climate control, navigation:
|Transmission, steering, control arms:
|Front and rear bumpers:
|Propshaft, aluminum steering knuckle:
|Front and rear crossmembers:
|Fuel supply units: