FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The 2011 XJL Supersport reminded me of a minister’s daughter I knew in college: demure on the outside, but a wild party girl when let loose. The frost blue model I drove initially came off as quite ordinary. But that impression was cast aside once we got out on the highway, where the slightest depression of the accelerator vaulted us well past the posted speed limit. Given the vehicle’s size (206 inches—nearly 20 inches longer than the midsize SUV I typically drive), and the fact that it’s a sedan, for God’s sake, the speed—and the deft handling around curves—was unexpected. (I didn’t time it, but Jaguar says the XJL Supersport does 0 to 60 in 4.7 seconds, with a top speed of 150.)
BOTTOM LINE: Inside, no sacrifices are made. Stitched softgrain leather extends to the headliner, wrapping around not one but two sunroofs. The 44 inches of rear leg room, seat trays, and push-button window blind are remniscent of a private jet. I liked the virtual instrument panel and the HD touch-screen to control audio, temperature (customizable for up to four passengers), etc., but felt as though I needed an engineering degree to figure out the navigation system. (I gave up after multiple tries.) Another annoyance: The sensor on the glove box was a little too sensitive, causing it to unexpectedly pop open from time to time.
TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY: Three words: heated massage seats. No matter how long the traffic jam, the road rage will be kept at bay. Indeed, I once became so relaxed while driving, I had to pull into a parking lot and sit for a while. Coupled with the interior’s ethereal blue mood lights and Sirius’ Chill channel on a 1,200-watt Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system (20 speakers), I was whisked away. Can you blame me for wanting to sleep in the car? Alas, I gave in and drove home. The only discomfort I felt along the way was the cramp in my right foot from resisting the urge to floor it.