San Francisco: Ever
wonder what it's like to be royalty? It's hard to imagine that kind of
life - living in an opulent palace, having a courtly staff catering to
your every whim, mingling with the world's finest people, fending off
the paparazzi and having your most embarrassing moments show up at the
supermarket check-out line.
OK, so maybe you don't
want everything that comes with the royal life. But having a $90,000
Jaguar in the palace garage could go a long way toward making up for the
pictures of your topless wife picking her nose.
I had the chance to
sample the automotive facet of high-class life for a week when Jaguar
loaned me an XJ8, the company's flagship sedan. It's a big, stylish,
incredibly comfortable car that could command attention at the classiest
Only this wasn't any
XJ8. It was the long-wheelbase, Super V8 that seemed to have the back
seat from a limo, the engine from a racecar, and the price tag from a
real estate development.
version is new for 2005, adding about five inches in length and $2,000
to the bottom line. The standard wheelbase XJ starts at $60,830, making
the extra two grand seem like mere pocket change to get the additional
Like the standard
wheelbase XJ that debuted in 2003, the long-wheelbase version has an
aluminum body that offers excellent strength with very little weight. It
makes the car feel more athletic than most luxury cars, which is quite a
feat considering its supersized dimensions.
Even though the car is
entirely new, it looks remarkably similar to its handsome predecessor.
There's no mistaking it's a Jag, and the styling thankfully follows the
idiom, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Also in the Jaguar tradition
is a plush interior covered almost entirely in leather and wood, enough
to make you feel like a Prince whether or not you have the right genes.
The test vehicle came
with every amenity imaginable, including a wonderfully engineered
navigation system and a DVD player with video screens in the front
headrests. It had lambs wool rugs, heated seats and steering wheel, and
an electric rear sunshade.
It also topped the
price scales at $89,995 thanks to its Super V8 package, which featured a
supercharged version of the XJ's V8 engine that makes 390 horsepower.
That's nearly 100 horsepower more than the standard model.
You'd have to be
awfully spoiled to call any $60,000 car a bargain, but compared to the
German competition, it is. A Mercedes with similar equipment,
performance and prestige would cost thousands more, making the gorgeous
XJ seem like the blue light special. It also compares favorably to the
BMW 7-Series, especially - some people say - in the styling department.
If you want to be
extremely picky - as anyone considering a car at this price should be -
the XJ has a couple of downsides. The first is its trunk, which is very
long but not particularly deep, allowing only a moderate amount of
storage space. The second is its awkward shifter, which makes it too
easy to select the wrong gear and make noises that dignified Jaguars
just aren't supposed to make.
Other than those minor
issues, this car is pretty much perfect. It has a shockingly quiet
cabin, excellent driving performance, an interior with a serious "wow"
factor, and classic curves that will never go out of style.
Why buy it? Jaguar's
XJ8 has everything a great luxury sedan should - performance, comfort
and style. After debuting as an all-new model in 2003, Jaguar now offers
the XJ in a long-wheelbase version. Rear-seat legroom is limo-like in
the new long-wheelbase XJ8. With fold-down meal trays and an optional
DVD player with video screens in the headrests, it's like flying first
class on the highway.
This car has it all -
comfort, performance and style. It's a world-class luxury sedan in every
respect. Now if only I can convince Her Majesty to loan me Buckingham
Palace for a week. By Bill Siuru © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Jaguar Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©
Jaguar Super V8 offers the Royal treatment
2005 Jaguar XJ8 Super V8 Long Wheelbase
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