By KBB.com Editors
Jaguar's rolling showcase and largest, most luxurious sedan, the XJ, touts the company's latest achievements in engineering, technology and luxury. Wrapped in a lightweight all-aluminum body, the 2008 Jaguar XJ is surprisingly agile for its size, yet remarkably solid. Offered in a variety of trims, including two stretched wheelbase versions and the legendary performance cat, the XJR, the XJ is without question the finest Jaguar product to date. Faced with radically new designs emerging from Audi, BMW and Lexus, Jaguar's strategy to stick with its traditional styling may prove problematic. With sales not as robust as Jaguar would like, it may be possible to wrangle a good deal on a new XJ.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a premium luxury sedan that embraces more traditional styling, has a large interior and doesn't guzzle fuel on the highway, the XJ should be at the top of your list.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're a Jaguar purist, you may not appreciate the XJ's tall profile. Those who require all-wheel drive will have to investigate the Audi A8 or Mercedes-Benz S-Class. And its low resale value falls far short of rivals from BMW, Audi and Lexus.What's Significant About This Car?
The 2008 Jaguar XJ receives a major makeover with new front and rear fascia treatments and front fender-mounted "power vents." Interior updates include new heated front seats and increased rear-seat legroom. HD Digital Radio is now available on factory-installed radios.Driving It Driving Impressions
Power for the normally-aspirated XJ8, XJ8L and Vanden Plas models comes from a refined 4.2-liter V8 of 300 horsepower, while the XJR and Super V8 receive an additional 100 horsepower in the form of a supercharged V8 engine. The XJ rides on a remarkably capable chassis, highlighted by an adaptive rear air suspension; the XJ is solid, secure and serene, with great higher-speed control and an appropriately smooth ride that's completely in character with this car's image. All-new 18-inch alloy wheels look smart, and the XJR and Super V8 get even more aggressive 19-inch wheels and tires that further upgrade ultimate handling but also somewhat diminish the luxurious, soft ride of the base XJ.Favorite Features
The Vanden Plas, XJR and Super V8 offer twin rear-seat DVD monitors built into the backs of the front-seat headrests.
Power Rear Seat
The Super V8's power rear seat adjusts for the ultimate in chauffeured luxury.
The XJ's wide front seats provide excellent lower thigh and back support and include a four-way power lumbar support. In the rear, you'll find a vastly larger passenger space than in previous XJs, with ample head and legroom for six-footers. The handsome dash incorporates three circular gauges surrounded by an expansive use of burl wood trim. We found the dash-mounted ignition slot is placed fairly low, allowing dangling keys to brush annoyingly atop the driver's right leg. The wide center stack plays host to the optional LCD navigation screen as well as functions for the climate control and audio systems. XJR models offer a set of advanced sport seats and an American Black Walnut trim option replacing the traditional Burl Walnut.Exterior
If you place this generation XJ next to any previous XJ sedan, the differences immediately become apparent. Gone are the low roof and side sills, top-loading fuel fillers and narrow midsection. The current XJ shuns all of these traits in favor of a much taller design that vastly increases interior volume in all directions, most noticeably in the area of rear-seat headroom. The design also gives the XJ one of the largest trunks ever offered on any Jaguar model. The XJ retains such signature styling cues as the curvaceous hood, four round headlamps, tapered rear end and the hood-mounted Jaguar emblem, affectionately known as the "leaper."Notable Standard Equipment
The XJ8 features a ZF six-speed automatic transmission, automatic headlamp control, heated front seats, memory feature for the driver's seat, adjustable pedals and steering column, power glass moonroof, Reverse Park Control, AM/FM stereo with CD, side-curtain airbags, front side-impact airbags, stability control, traction control, xenon headlamps and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Vanden Plas has a longer wheelbase and an Alpine sound system. The XJR and Super V8 receive a supercharged V8 engine, Brembo disc brakes and 19-inch Z-rated tires, and the Super V8 adds a power-adjustable rear bench seat and twin rear DVD entertainment screens; the twin DVD screens are optionally available on the Vanden Plas and XJR.Notable Optional Equipment
Options include DVD navigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, air-cooled front seats, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, HD Radio, front-park sensor, Alpine audio, heated steering wheel and four-zone air conditioning. There are a variety of individual options, and three option packages: A Multimedia Package, a Navigation Package and a Warm Climate Package.Under the Hood
More stately sedan than speedster, the XJ8 is powered by a standard 4.2-liter V8 that will be more than sufficient for most owners' needs. This smooth and powerful engine has just the right mix of growl at the tailpipe to let others know what's under the hood. The six-speed ZF transmission is a brilliant piece of work that helps the big Jaguar achieve fuel economy ratings comparable to a V6-powered sedan. Buyers who opt for the XJR or Super V8 receive a supercharged version of the engine. Rated at 400 horsepower, it delivers acceleration and performance completely in keeping with the expectations for a world-class high-performance sedan.
300 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
310 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25
4.2-liter V8 Supercharged
400 horsepower @ 6100 rpm
413 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the XJ line covers a wide range beginning around $64,000 for the XJ8 and topping out in the low $80,000 range for a fully-loaded Vanden Plas. The supercharged XJR starts around $85,000 while the Super V8 tops out just over $95,000 with all the options. The Jaguar XJ8 costs less than its rivals from BMW, Mercedes and Audi, is on par with the Lexus LS and is much more expensive than the Cadillac DTS. A look at the Fair Purchase Price shows the typical transaction price paid for the XJ in your area. It's a valuable resource to have on your side so be sure to check it out before you begin negotiations. Despite the car's high premium, the XJ does not hold its value well, falling far below the five-year values set by the Audi A8, the Lexus LS 460 and the BMW 750i.