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Motoring: Prowling the streets in the Jaguar XJL SS

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | September 12th, 2011

If life has been treating you well financially, you may be in the position to buy a full-size luxury car. But which one to choose?

Most people go out and buy either the Mercedes-Benz S-class or the BMW 7-series. Both these vehicles are fine, but they're also a bit dull.

Some would turn towards Audi for the A8, which is quite nice, and the really imaginative ones will buy either the Porsche Panamera (which can only seat four people) or the Maserati Quattroporte (which is smaller than the competition and also not quite as reliable).

But which one is the best allaround, the car that can offer space with pace? The answer is simple: you will need to get yourself a new Jaguar XJL Super Sport (SS).

This new model is almost entirely made out of aluminum, and it is a lot lighter than it would have been otherwise. That lightness means it's quick on its feet — tires — and trust me, this is one fast limo. The sprint from zero to 100 km/h takes just 4.7 seconds and will head-butt its electronic speed limiter, which does not let it go past 250 km/h. Be in no doubt — this is one seriously quick car.

The reason for its turn of speed is its engine. It has a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 that produces 510 hp and 461 lb/ft of torque. Mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox with the smoothest and quickest shifts I have ever come across, it makes you think why everyone else is fussing about dual-clutch gearboxes when autos can be this good.

I'll tell you what else is good — the handling. Most big luxury cars are not exciting to drive through twisty roads, but the XJL SS surely is. The car turns in well, and you can feel the tires clawing into the tarmac in search of more grip. The steering is also quite communicative for a luxury car of this size, and I like that. Trust me, this is a luxury car aimed at the driver, not for someone who simply prefers riding in the backseat.

If you are wondering about the space in this car, do not worry; front or back, there is plenty of space for adults. If you like your gadgets, it has pretty much anything and everything you'd wish for. I personally liked the massaging seats that were heated and cooled, giving you the most comfortable ride imaginable.

You also get a touch-screen navigation system. My tester also came equipped with the fantastic Bowers & Wilkins sound system and a full-length panoramic roof.

All this power, handling, space and gadgets in a beautifully designed, sleek new design. Some I know are not too fond of this new look, saying it is too far a step forward for Jaguar. I think it looks beautiful, and I smiled every time I walked up to it.

Any faults, you ask? Well, I didn't particularly warm up to the purple glovebox liner, and while quality has improved a lot with Jaguars, there is still some room for improvements.

Apart from that, no complaints — not even the fuel economy, which is surprisingly good. I averaged 13.8-litres/100km, which is excellent for such a big car. Since it likes to drink premium, it will cost you to fill it up, but if you can afford a new car worth $131,000, you can probably afford to fill it up, too.

If you don't have quite that much cash to spend and still want a new Jaguar XJ, not to worry, a base, short-wheelbase model with 385 hp is yours from $88,000. Want a bit more go power? Opt for a XJ Supercharged. It produces 470 hp and can be had from $104,000.

So there you have it, the new Jaguar XJ — a beautiful luxury car that is a joy to drive. Would I buy one if I could? Yes I would.
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