2012 Jaguar XJ

2012 Jaguar XJ Review

Note: This review was created when the 2012 Jaguar XJ was new.

With loads of standard features, a stunning design and powerful engine choices, test drivers say that the 2012 Jaguar XJ has a lot going for it. However, the XJ loses points for its fussy cabin electronics.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engines
  • Agile handling
  • Long list of standard interior features
  • Minimal headroom for tall drivers
  • Cabin electronics trail the competition
  • Back seat legroom is cramped in standard-wheelbase models

Research & Ratings

Currently, the Jaguar XJ has a score of 8.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 13 pieces of research and data.




Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 8.3
Interior: 7.6
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Jaguar XJ Overview

Reviewers say the 2012 Jaguar XJ is a bargain for super luxury car shoppers who seek ample power and a host of standard interior features. Performance is aided by its lightweight aluminum body, standard V8 engine and road-holding adaptive suspension that impress nearly all who drive it. Plus, while the base XJ is no slouch, in Supercharged and Supersport trims the XJ can keep up with nearly anything on the road.

While the XJ is nimble for such a large car, some test drivers say that if you’re looking for a posh, luxurious ride, the Lexus LS or Mercedes-Benz S-Class may be better options. While the automotive press likes the steering, they are not impressed with the XJ’s brakes. One test driver thought they had a grabby feel. Still, most agree that thanks to its light weight, the XJ drives like a much smaller car, which is definitely a good thing.

Some reviewers love the opulent surroundings inside the 2012 XJ, while others see room for improvement. Materials are mostly high-quality; some reviewers even call the interior stunning. But, one test driver comments that some small trim pieces look a little cheap and out of place, and that the radical interior styling is a departure when compared with flagship sedans like the Mercedes S-Class. The XJ’s seats are comfortable, but back seat legroom isn’t the best in regular-wheelbase models. Additionally, some taller drivers might want a little extra headroom.

However, the biggest gripe reviewers have is with the XJ’s touch screen user interface, which controls navigation, phone, stereo and climate functions. Many test drivers say that the system operates slowly, and that the user interfaces in rivals like the Audi A8, BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class are easier to use.

Other Cars to Consider

If you like the XJ’s performance but want a car with a more useable back seat and better cabin electronics, consider the Audi A8. Starting at about $78,000, the A8 costs around $4,300 more, but trumps the XJ with better interior tech, standard all-wheel drive and equally-enjoyable driving dynamics. The A8 also gets better gas mileage than many competing super luxury cars. Still, the A8 doesn’t win every battle. While Audi’s flagship is just as nimble as the XJ, it’s not as quick; and if ample trunk space is important, you should know that the trunk of the A8 is 2 cubic feet smaller than the XJ. However, reviewers say the rear seat is more comfortable in the regular A8, and even more so in the long-wheelbase A8 L.

If you don’t like the A8 because it’s down on power and trunk space, consider the V8-powered Porsche Panamera S. The Panamera has 15.7 cubic feet of trunk space, which can be expanded to 44.6 cubic feet by folding the rear seats. It also offers ample power and nimble driving dynamics, as well as an ultra-comfortable interior with seating for four. On the downside, many reviewers dislike the Panamera’s exterior styling and the V8-powered Panamera commands a much higher price. Expect to pay $90,300 for the Panamera S. However, if you can do without V8 power, the base Panamera starts at $75,200, which is much closer to the XJ’s price.

Jaguar XJ: The Details

At $73,700, the 2012 Jaguar XJ comes in two wheelbases and three trim levels, which are largely based on performance. The base XJ comes with a 385-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 and includes standard features such as navigation, front and rear parking sensors with backup camera, dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a 14-speaker stereo with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity and push-button start.

If you’re looking for some extra legroom in the back seat, the long-wheelbase XJL Portfolio adds 4.9 inches to the XJ’s length, and $7,000 to the price tag, as well as more standard features. The Jaguar XJL comes with all the equipment listed above, but also adds four-zone climate control, upgraded front seats with massage and rear seats that are heated and cooled.

If you need more power, Jaguar also offers the XJ and XJL in Supercharged and special-order Supersport trims. Supercharged XJ and XJL models start at $88,600 and $91,600, respectively. These cars feature all of the equipment listed above, but also include a supercharged, 470-horsepower V8, a 20-speaker Bowers & Wilkins surround sound stereo and adaptive headlights.

Supersport models offer even more power and standard equipment. XJ and XJL Supersport-trimmed cars add a 510-horsepower V8 and a back seat DVD system as standard features. The XJ Supersport starts at $111,200, while the XJL Supersport rings in at $117,700.

  • "The new XJ marks a shift in styling from previous generations. It has a distinctive presence outside and splendid materials inside." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Granted, choosing an absolute winner in a class that includes the 7 Series and S-Class as well as the Audi A8 and Porsche Panamera is near impossible. Each car has particular individual strengths. When it comes to the best combination of style, dynamic substance and value, however, it's hard to top the 2012 Jaguar XJ." -- Edmunds
  • "The dramatic new shape speaks of a shift in direction for the XJ nameplate; the driving experience follows up on the promise." -- Motor Trend 
  • "The new XJ certainly can't be described as cheap. But it's reasonably priced compared to its German rivals." -- Popular Mechanics

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