Page 1: Intro
With luxury cars - especially stretched sedans - where you sit depends on where you stand. Some owners spend more time in the back seat of their cars, being driven, than they do up front, being drivers. It's a rare car that is equally satisfying in either row. The dual role dilemma makes long wheelbase automobiles difficult to design. What's done to make them more pleasant for passengers in back invariably makes them more dull for drivers in front. Adding space can subtract pace, when you factor in weight gain and balance shift. The newest Jaguar neatly avoids this issue, because it didn't pack on the pounds. The elongated Jag is a mere 53 lb. (1.3%) heavier than the standard wheelbase model.Jaguar marked 2004 with the roll-out of their seventh generation XJ. Much of the attention focused on the car's aluminum skin, and the benefits therein. The lighter, stiffer unibody structure allows the double wishbone suspension to do its thing, without having to compensate for chassis limitations. The XJ's ride/handling bias comes down heavier on the ride side - understandable, given its luxury class status. But, the characteristic Jaguar supple feel is in evidence as well. The XJ is light on its feet for a big car and the feedback through the wheel and through your senses is one of being insulated (from unwanted noise and road harshness) but not isolated (from the road or the car). Ditto on long wheelbase models. The added dimensions inside have done nothing to disrupt the car's balanced feel.