Beating out the Kardashians

2011, Jaguar, XJ

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Boa Steak House on West Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood, CA is the place to go to see and be seen. Most nights the biggest celebrity showing up would be a flock of Kardashians sprinkled with an Avril Lavigne. But even the Kardashians didn't hold a candle to the attention ten 2011 Jaguar XJs with twenty people casually walking to three tables create.

Outside the restaurant the people were noticing the real star of the show, an XJL or XJL supercharged. This celebrity car is rarely overshadowed by another celebrity, in fact some celebrities show up in the XJL just to get more attention.

Ian Callum has done it again. Jaguar's flagship XJ series is sensuous on the outside and serene on the inside. Wrapped in lightweight aluminum is a hulking engine that goes faster than Bruce Jenner, Mr. Kardashian, in his prime.

XJ and XJL models: 5.0-liter 385 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm with 380 lb.-ft of torque @3,500 rpm, naturally aspirated direct-injection V-8; 0-60 mph in 5.4 secs (0-100 kph in 5.7 secs) The XJ starting MSRP is $71,650. The XJL starting MSRP is $78,650. Add $850 for destination and handling. EPA rated mpg for the XJ is 16 city/ 23 highway. The XJL mpg is 15 city/ 22 highway.

XJ Supercharged and XJL Supercharged models: This is what happens when you attach an Eaton blower and dual air-to-water intercoolers. You get a 5.0-liter 470 horsepower @6,000-6,500 rpm with 424 lb.-ft of torque @2,500-5,500 rpm, supercharged direct-injection V-8; 0-60 mph in 4.9 secs (0-100 kph in 5.2 secs). The starting MSRP for the XJ Supercharged is $86,650. The starting MSRP for the XJL Supercharged is $89,650. Add $850 for destination and handling. EPA rated mpg for the XJ Supercharged is 15 city/ 21 highway.

XJ Supersport and XJL Supersport models: 5.0-liter 510 hp supercharged direct-injection V8; 0-60 mph in 4.7 secs (0-100 kph in 4.9 secs). The starting MSRP for the XJ Supersport is $109,150. The starting MSRP for the XJL Supercharged is $112,150.Add $850 for destination and handling. EPA rated mpg for the XJ Supersport is 15 city/ 21 highway.

Those EPA numbers for this car are okay, but Jaguar expects them to get better. In a 2009 interview with Julian Whitehead, director of sustainability and corporate social responsibility, Whitehead said, “Jaguar is part of a UK government-funded project called Limo-Green. Lotus is also part of that group and they have created a 1.2-liter range extender that we are using in the 2010 Jaguar XJ body. In the United States that would equal about 70-90 miles per gallon, or an EU combined cycle with CO2 emissions under 120 g/km.”

Jaguar uses a circular knob, or rotary shift interface for selecting a transmission setting, just twist the dial instead of using a stick shift. Easy. We gently open the door, sit down like we own it, push the start button, rotate the knob and we're off.

It's the stuff dreams are made of, to wind along Mulholland Drive with the engine purring, in a Jaguar XJL supercharged sedan. A stretched-wheelbase XJL Supercharged sedan immersed in shimmering high-gloss body paint, filled with the softest brown and caramel leathers. I don't know who the interior designer is, but they should be commended for the combination of colors, woods, leathers and placement of all of them.

With the shift of the knob you can go from Normal (comfortable, leisurely) to dynamic (sporting, responsive) to winter (for low-grip conditions) mode. Thanks to the engine mapping, transmission shifts, and Dynamic Stability Control (DCS) intervention you can feel the difference distinctly.

All XJ models are fitted with the Jaguar Sequential Shift system, with the shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. This Shift system allows you to upshift/downshift without taking your hands off the wheel.

For a large car, and a larger car the turning radius is respectable with the XJ being 40.4 feet and the XJL turning in at 41.7 feet.

The competitors have been, and still are, Audi A8 L, BMW 7-Series, and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Botanical Green Metallic, Cashmere Metallic, Caviar Metallic, Claret Metallic, Ebony, Frost Blue Metallic, Indigo Blue Metallic, Liquid Silver Metallic, Lunar Grey Metallic, Pearl Grey Metallic, Porcelain, Ultimate Black Metallic, Vapour Grey Metallic

Cashew leather, Dove leather, Ivory leather, Jet leather, London Tan leather, Navy leather

I couldn't finish this story without mentioning that the unibody structure on 2011 XJ sedan is put together with self-piercing lightweight aluminum rivets and heat-cured glues courtesy of the aerospace industry.

My husband, Stretch, is a homebuilt, T-18, guy and he knows the pain-staking love of building a plane from plans. While the XJ is not hand-riveted, the fact that Jaguar uses this technology is a testament to it core foundation of power-to-weight ratio.

I know the pain-staking love of fixing dinner, only to have your husband never show up because he is at the airport working on his airplane. Love because I finally take the dinner over to the airport to him. And help him bleed his brakes.

By Lou Ann Hammond

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Images of the 2011, Jaguar XJ

2011 Jaguar Xj - Serene and Sensuous
2011 Jaguar Xj - Serene and Sensuous
beauty looking out at the claw lights
beauty looking out at the claw lights
plenty of space in the Jag for the Louie
plenty of space in the Jag for the Louie