Short Drive: The Jaguar XJL 2.0 Ti - If I somehow became CEO of a public listed company, this is what I'd want

I have been a little bit busy enjoying life with my family over this past week. If it's one thing for sure it is with family. So I have decided not to post anything over the past few days and just spend some quality time with them, as well as doing the other things that I like to do in life. I have mentioned before, it isn't just about motoring that interests me. I have pursuits in various other grown men stuff. But do note that it is all about quality of some sort.

I have a certain belief these days. The belief is simple that one should invest in a little quality most of the time in order to lead a fairly fabulous life. The simple motto one should follow is – Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten. And so with quality, there is a price to pay for it. But sometimes, you can get a bit lucky as there are versions of quality that would not break the bank.

Now whilst the Jaguar XJL 2.0 Ti in this review would break the bank, and backs, of most of you readers out there, it is actually something worth every sen of the RM653,888 (w/o insurance) asked for it and is considered a bargain against its rivals. It is also a stunningly good drive and one which you actually need to get rid of the chauffeur and drive it yourself. Unless the traffic is ridiculously bad that is.

The current Jaguar XJ series has been around for quite a while. It was first sold in 2010 and has a lightweight aluminium chassis. This makes the Jaguar XJ the lightest of the full sized luxury sedans out there and it actually weighs as much as the smaller, mid-sized XF (BMW 5 series) car. For those that need more comparison, it actually is a Mercedes Benz S-class sized of car but it is as light as a Mercedes E-class. In fact, this long wheel based version is still super light compared to its long wheelbased rivals.

So what does lightness get you? A lot of good things actually. The Jaguar XJL can be stuffed with a smaller engine that what you would expect in a premium full sized sedan. This 'entry-level' model gets the 2.0liter four cylinder engine. Note that the closest competitor in this class runs a 3.0liter V6. This entry level XJL just needs a 2.0liter turbocharged engine with 240hp / 340Nm torque to get it to 100kmh from nought in 7.5seconds and onwards to a top speed of over 240kmh. All with the help of ZF's brilliant 8 speed automatic which shifts smoothly and fast too.

Now because of its light weight, its relatively small petrol engine and extremely efficient gearbox, it actually consumes very little petrol. Even though petrol is relatively cheap these days, the XJL makes ownership costs lower even more by burning less of the stuff needed for it to move. But the best thing about the lightness is how the darn thing handles. I have never actually driven something so large take corners with so much composure and surefootedness. I have drive and sat in full sized BMW 7 series and Mercedes Benz S-classes. The XJL may have the same length and same amount of grandeur, but it handles so much better than expected.

The ride is actually very good on a front steel sprung, rear air suspension setup. It actually rides nicely on its 19inch wheels and if you're seated at the back it is all cosy and quiet. I feel that the S-class is the plusher and slightly quieter of the two, but you're talking about decimal points. Once you get into the front seat and start driving the XJL, its a whole different thing. You can get nice and low in the driver's seat. The steering seems to be nice and solid with feedback coursing through the wheel. You can feel the car responding to your inputs in an instance. There is no delay and there is no feeling of added bulk that you may feel if you're taking a corner in one of the other German luxo-barges. 

There is no nose heaviness like in an Audi A6/A8. There is no lurch and complain like in an S-class. Even the ultimate driver's machine called the BMW 7 series has that feeling that is is carrying a tad too much weight compared to this lightweight baby. You push or pull on the steering wheel and it follows your inputs. The nose of the car is also obedient and it has that nicely balanced rear wheel drive feel to it. Floor it mid corner and the tail with help push you through the corner. Jaguar's designers have set up the suspension very well indeed. And again, this is what 1,800+kg does instead of 2,000+kg like its rivals.

Now whilst you're doing all of that you are actually sitting in a cabin that is very cosy. The round air vents, traditional round instrumentation and that strip of walnut remind you that you're actually in something special. So does the leather and that nicely crafted gear selector (I cannot say it is a gearknob as it isn't – it is a round cylinder that rises once you start the Jaguar up). This car has that old school sense of occasion that is only found in some Bentleys priced higher up as well as in the newest Mercedes Benz S-classes. Audis and BMWs seem new school compared to this. It has that old school opulence that is severely lacking these days, even the XF does not feel this traditional. And one must note, a Jaguar may look super modern on the outside but a bit more traditional on the inside. There is no other luxury sedan in the market that has this sort of looks as all others follow the long bonnet, high roof look to it. This one looks so different yet so opulent at the same time. I love it how Jaguar brings unique exterior styling and a sense of old world class inside.

So why is RM650,000+ a bargain in terms of quality? It is actually one of the most affordable full sized luxury sedans sold in Malaysia. All of its rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz are similarly priced but all of them run a 3.0liter engine. The Ford based 2.0liter turbo in the Jaguar saves a bit on road tax, fuel costs and if you think about it a whole lot on maintenance costs. It may be a tad less refined in terms of having a four cylinder thrum instead of a V6 burble but I find that very minimal as the levels of soundproofing in a full sized luxury car to be high. Not much engine noise actually gets through to the cabin. Do note that the engine will actually cost less to maintain in the long run compared to the petrol-electric hybrid in the S-class as well as the sometimes sensitive and temperamental Audi and BMW cars.

And then there's the handling. I love a large car that can handle. Never have I driven something this long that can be thrown around with abandon. Of course if you crash it, aluminium is harder to repair but the Jaguar Land Rover 3S showroom in Glenmarie is fully equipped to do so. Just ensure that your insurance is up to date and if you do own one, drive the XJL like how a Jaguar is meant to be driven.

If by some fantastic twist of fate I suddenly become a CEO of a company earning RM2.6billion per annum this is the company car I'd like the board to buy for me. No, you don't have to buy me one of every colour. One unit of any colour will do.

Jaguar XJL 2.0 Ti

RM653,888 (w/o insurance)
1,999cc turbocharged 4 cylinder - 240hp 340Nm
8 speed ZF automatic

0-100kmh 7.5seconds
Top Speed 241kmh
Est fuel consumption 9.1liters/100km

Pros – ride, handling, lightness, performance from the lightness, old world luxury inside, equipment levels, fuel economy, affordable road tax, fabulous ZF automatic

Cons – Sometimes people want to brag about engine size and you only have a 2.0liter, S- class slightly more plush riding and quieter, wish it were cheaper

Conclusion – In a perfect world the 3.0liter supercharged version would be the one to get, but this car handles like a dream. No other large sedan drives like it. Looks like a dream too. Makes you think you're working for M.I.6 if you're being driven in one.

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