- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 19, 2004

Jaguar insists on developing automobiles that cross over many parameters, resulting in luxurious and exciting vehicles. Continuing to build examples of automobiles that not only exude contemporary appeal, Jaguar also retains a huge inspiration from its heritage.

Case in point is the introduction of the Jaguar XJ long wheelbase. Here is an automobile that not only transports you in luxury, but can fill your drive with the excitement of a sports sedan. Part of that excitement can be credited to the available supercharged V-8 engine. However, this automobile is no slouch in standard fare with a high-performance normally aspirated V-8 under the hood of the base XJ L. Here is a vehicle that is intent on being a prestigious luxury automobile rather than a competition vehicle. But it proves to be both.

Constructed of lightweight aluminum and powered by a powerful V-8 engine, this Jaguar is everything you would expect from Coventry. According to Mick Mohan, chief program engineer, the aluminum monocoque construction enables engineers to produce a lightweight platform while retaining the rigidity needed to give the vehicle outstanding handling and ride comfort characteristics.

Differentiating the long wheelbase model from the standard XJ is the five inches added behind the “B” pillar. This is the all-important rear-seat zone where legroom can be a premium on other sedans. This increased length seems to add far more interior room than expected. I and a number of other scribes that are well over 6 feet were astounded at the increase in legroom. This Jaguar also adds a bit more headroom, which is always welcome.

Power is provided by two engines. The base engine is anything but basic; here the normally aspirated V-8 engine produces excellent throttle response with 294 horsepower. This translates to about 6.3 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph, which means merging into fast-moving freeway traffic is effortless.

Even more impressive is the supercharged V-8, which produces 390 horsepower and a 0-60 time of about 5 seconds.

Refinement, luxury, spaciousness and performance are all words that describe the Jaguar XJ L. These are also words that must be used together to describe the whole of this vehicle. While one word would certainly give you an idea of the character this vehicle possesses it would not give you the full picture.

However, the only way to truly understand the total of its parts is to drive this Jaguar. And when you do, don’t forget to experience the rear-seat environment. This will change your whole perspective on having someone drive you.

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