Jaguar XJ8L

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When does $63,000 seem like an automotive bargain? When it is the MSRP for the fuel frugal, lightweight, Jaguar XJ8L (Long Wheelbase) that is significantly less money than its luxury sedan competition and still treats you to an exceptional ride and an interior with few equals.

The Long Wheelbase X costs $3000 extra and for that you get five inches more space inside and a raised roof for more comfort for back seat inhabitants. Jaguar’s reliance on a tradition of charm and luxury has not left it out of the electronic era. Burr walnut trays fold down from the front seat backs to hold a laptop computer. According to Jaguar there is also the ability to stuff 6.5-inch display screens in the front head restraints, with rear-seat multi-media options including iPod, MP3 player and DVD connectivity. Communication possibilities include a telephone conference call facility for front and rear passengers, while rear-seat passengers can specify voice-activation for the four-zone climate-control system, with individual seat-to-seat settings.

Jaguar‘s Adaptive Restraint Technology System combines dual-stage driver and passenger airbags with seat-occupation sensing, side-impact chest airbags in the front seat bolsters, front and rear side air curtains, anti-whiplash seat design and rear child seat attachments. Adding to that array of modern safety features are four-channel anti-lock brakes with Emergency Brake Assist, traction control and Dynamic Stability Control as well as having a transponder-operated remote double deadlocking and automatic drive-away locking.

Mom’s view: There is something about asking your lady friends if they would like to take a ride in your Jaguar that speaks of good taste and a nice wine cellar. It has elegancy both inside and out. What is even better is that we got over 23 mpg from the V8 engine in this Anglo-liner even though I frequently had my derriere pushed tight against the double stitched leather covered seats when I whipped all 294 horsepower into action. Could this be love?

Dad’s view:  The suspension makes this XJ8 fairly capable of carving corners or making avoidance maneuvers with a degree of dignity. However, mainly it provides a quiet, well-controlled ride and does it with aplomb. Inside there are plenty of toys with available adaptive cruise control, four-zone automatic climate control, heated front and rear seats, and a navigation system with a seven-inch touch screen.

I liked driving the Jaguar and found it a devoted servant for the most part and a nice combination of old world allure and cowboy hustle with 0 to 60 times in less than seven seconds and a top speed that is limited to 155 mph apparently to prevent you from reaching take-off speed.

Working woman’s view: Gripping the walnut and leather steering wheel, looking over the softly contoured hood, and feeling the energy of the V8 can take your objective reasoning away when considering a car of this status.  The seats are low so getting inside requires some dignity problems. I found the gauges a little too small to read readily, but were nicely understated and not impacted by bright sun glare. Once underway the Jaguar shrinks in size and blends into traffic with ease. I cannot imagine any working woman not being impressed by the looks and demur of this Jaguar.

Young working male’s view: You gotta love Jaguar. What I really admire is the five-inch longer wheelbase that enables you to stretch out back there and enjoy the optional DVD player with displays in the headrests. Cool. Tasteful and understated are two traits this Jaguar enthuses. Make my black, and no lemon, please.


Family conference: Only a transmission that seemed to become confused at times marred our stay at the Hotel Jaguar. And you have the fun of telling your insurance agent you bought an aluminum Jaguar. For a list of all vehicle websites go to and click on business.