2011 Jaguar XJ Performance
This performance review was written when the 2011 Jaguar XJ was new.
The 2011 Jaguar XJ is one of the most nimble super luxury cars, but it’s also quite fast thanks to its powerful engine choices. Despite being slightly less powerful than the BMW 7-Series, the base XJ is just as quick and agile thanks to its light aluminum frame. The automotive press loves the XJ’s acceleration, and while most appreciate its handling, some state that it’s not always as composed as they would like. The brake system also garners mixed reviews – one reviewer thought that they’re a drastic improvement over past XJ models, while another says that they’re slightly grabby.
- "With the XFR’s pretty-darn-quick steering rack and the electronically self-adjusting shocks (they rely on electromechanical slider valves to vary their reactions), the XJ wants to pound through corners in hot pursuit of cars half its size. It has the power, the grip, and the steering focus for that, but the suspension, especially in the base version, allows enough body roll and bob that you don’t forget you’re at the reins of two tons of British luxury." -- Car and Driver
- "Few cars strike such an excellent balance between ride comfort and sporty handling as the 2011 Jaguar XJ. Even with the big wheels, it glides down the road with a sophisticated suppleness. And yet, with its lightweight aluminum chassis and adaptive suspension, the XJ is also deceptively agile." -- Edmunds
- "It represents a comprehensive rethink of what a large Jaguar luxury sedan should be. It's shifting away from the S-Class or A8 or 7 Series. The XJ feels distinctly sportier. The ride is no longer the waft it was with the old XJ. The V-8 isn't intended to be silent. The steering is quick, the cornering agile." -- Motor Trend
- "The down side is a low speed ride that is jiggly and borderline harsh. The upside? It really hustles." -- Popular Mechanics
- "Really, this Jaguar lets just about anyone become an expert driver, holding corners longer and going faster with complete control behind the wheel. Eighty miles per hour now feels like 40." -- Cars.com
- "Thankfully, the subtle sporting blood found in every other Jaguar -- that laid-back, get-funky-on-a-mountain-road je ne sais quoi jolly good, you moneyed freak, let's dance feeling -- is still there." -- Jalopnik
Acceleration and Power
With three engine choices and an excellent six-speed automatic transmission, the XJ is no slouch when you step on the gas. The standard XJ features a 5.0-liter, 385-horsepower V8. Although it’s slightly less powerful than a BMW 750i, reviewers say that it’s just as quick. If you’re looking for even more power, Supercharged and Supersport models feature supercharged versions on the 5.0-liter V8 that put out 470 and 510 horsepower, respectively.
The EPA estimates that the XJ gets 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway with the 385-horsepower V8, while the XJL gets 15/22 mpg city/highway with the same engine. The XJ Supercharged sees slightly decreased fuel efficiency with 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.
The XJ Supersport, as well as the XJL Supercharged and XJL Supersport, have not yet been rated by the EPA.
- "The six-speed automatic does its business quickly and with undetectable slack." -- Car and Driver
- "Which engine you choose simply comes down to whether you desire fast, faster or fastest. Indeed, despite having less power than the BMW 750i, the lightweight XJ 5.0 essentially matches the sporty Bimmer's acceleration." -- Edmunds
- "The shifts on the ZF six-speed transmission arrive smoothly just when you need them, making Mercedes' seven-speeder feel fussy. In sport auto mode, it's superb at predicting when you'd want a downshift on entry to a curve. Use the paddles to manually shift under power, and there can be a bit of a thump in the back, but the compensation is a very prompt reward to your demand." -- Motor Trend
- "There's plenty of low-down pulling power so you can short-shift the gears using the steering column paddles, but if you do hold those ratios to the redline, the soundtrack is beguiling and the car feels unstoppable. " -- Popular Mechanics
Handling and Braking
The XJ’s aluminum frame also gives it an advantage when it comes to handling. Most reviewers think that the XJ drives like a much smaller car, and they’re impressed with its adaptive suspension, which can be adjusted to increase comfort or firmed-up for twisty roads. Despite its nimble cornering ability, a few reviewers think that the XJ’s suspension could handle road imperfections a little better. The steering and braking systems also get high marks from most, although one reviewer thought that the XJ’s brakes were too sensitive.
- "On pitching pavement it can rock a bit side to side, but it never feels loose or discombobulated." -- Car and Driver
- "The steering is sharp, body roll is negligible and there is a nimbleness you notice in the XJ that's missing from its much heavier rivals." -- Edmunds
- "Other big sedans use a wider array of active chassis technologies than the Jaguar does; it does without 4WD or 4WS or active steering or active anti-roll. But when the others hunker into their sport modes, they tend to lose fluency. They take every opportunity to remind you what a task it is to make an elephant dance. The XJ is different. It feels remarkably unflustered and natural." -- Motor Trend
- "Brakes are also different from those in the XJ's predecessor with a much shorter and harder pedal travel but the same superb linearity of response." -- Popular Mechanics
- "The XJ's power-assisted, speed sensitive, variable ratio, rack-and-pinion steering is firm usually, with a nicely weighted feel to it." -- Cars.com
- "The previous XJ's exceedingly coddling ride is gone, replaced by a significantly stiffer approach that offers little in the way of body roll in normal driving. The velvety brake feel of past XJs is also absent; the massive four-wheel discs are slightly grabby, though they do offer pleasingly short pedal travel. " -- Jalopnik