The Jaguar XJ is a four-door, five passenger full-size luxury sedan. The Jaguar XJ has been the luxury car company’s premiere sedan for 50 years. One of the most iconic visual designs in the world of automobiles, the XJ has resisted the winds of change during the entire course of its existence, bowing only to small upgrades here and there. The XJ is a car which suffered alteration begrudgingly, at least until the last few years when the company realized that some styling decisions had to be made in order to make up lost sales ground in the competitive market.

The 2008 Jaguar XJ has been pleasantly refreshed, with a more aerodynamic front bumper and the addition of a lower grille which serves to accent the vehicle’s sporty character. Gone is the leaping Jaguar hood ornament, in order to better fit in with the streamlined look of the vehicle, but only the most hardcore of Jaguar fans would lament its passing.

The XJ bears the standard Jaguar power train options of a 4.2 liter V8 in regular or supercharged form. The standard V8 churns out 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, more than enough to adequately accelerate the 3,800 lbs sedan. However, if you enjoy the feeling of having enough torque to pull stumps out of the ground resting just underneath your right foot, then the supercharged version of the same motor is for you. Rated at 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, this engine provides earthshaking horsepower and performance which should be enough to satisfy even the most demanding luxury sedan driver. Each engine is linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The XJ is broken down into 5 separate trim levels: XJ8, XJ8 L, Vanden Plas, XJR and the Super V8. The XJ8 L bears the same standard equipment as the entry-level XJ8, but it rides on a chassis which has been extended 5 inches in order to provide extra room for rear passengers. The Vanden Plas (built on the long wheel-base as well) is the highest optioned version of the car available with the standard V8 engine, while the XJR sports the supercharged 8-cylinder along with other performance equipment. The Super 8 is like a combination of the Vanden Plas and the XJR, designed for high-class speed addicts who want the best of both worlds.

Each version of the Jaguar XJ is of course resplendent in top quality interior materials and features. The base car’s list of standard equipment reads like a dream: HID headlights, dual-climate controls, a wooden steering wheel with leather wrapping, power adjustable everything from the leather seats to the mirrors to the pedals, and Jaguar’s self-leveling air suspension. The Vanden Plas adds a greater touch of class such as exotic wood trim and picnic trays for rear passengers, as well as parking assist and heated and cooled seats. The XJR and the Super V8 feature Brembo brakes and performance seats which are designed to grip occupants and keep them in place while taking sharp corners at speed. Both cars also benefit from improved suspension control, and the Super V8 also adds some fairly opulent features such as quad-climate controls and reclining rear seats.

The Jaguar XJ represents one of the most established luxury brands on the planet, and driving the vehicle is a pleasure. The recognition that one is afford as a Jaguar owner is something special that only a few other car companies can provide – most of them at a price of two to three times as much. While it may hang on to its traditional styling, the Jaguar XJ is certainly sitting near the top of the world’s best full-size luxury sedans.

The 2009 Jaguar XJ is a carryover from 2008. There are 6 separate trim levels available for the 2009 XJ: The XJ8, XJ8L, XJ Vanden Plas, XJR, XJ Super V8 and the XJ Super V8 Portfolio, with the latter being new for this year. The first 3 trims are powered by the same 4.2 liter V8 engine that produces 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic is the only transmission option. Fuel economy is rated at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 25 miles per gallon on the highway.

The XJR, XJ Super V8 and the Super V8 Portfolio use the same transmission but swap in a 400 horsepower, supercharged edition of the 4.2 liter mill, one which also produces 413 lb-ft of torque. Fuel mileage for this more powerful engine comes in at 15 miles per gallon in the city and 22 miles per gallon in highway driving.***** The XJ8L, XJ Vanden Plas, XJ Super V8 and Super V8 Portfolio all ride on an extended wheelbase edition of the standard XJ chassis.