2012 Jaguar XJL Supersport | road test

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 by

Quick Review

GoodGood Distinctive looks, relentless power, styling
BadBadPrice, slow touch screen response
SpecsSpecs5-litre supercharged V8; 503bhp, 625Nm
PricePriceAED 579,000 (as tested)
RatingEditors Rating Four Star

Since it’s acquisition of JLR, Indian car company TATA has taken keen interest in developing Jaguar as a brand with rich and distinguished heritage. As a result, Jaguar has redesigned its flagship model for the toniest of customers and given them a British flavoured alternative to the German triumbrant. But has it become the cool guys’ answer to the same old same old in the full size luxury premium segment? I hoped to find out as I pocketed the world’s chunkiest car keys.

The signature lines aging back to 1968 have been replaced, the stylish all-new XJ now depicts the shift in ethos for the marquee with chief designer Ian Callum at the helm.

The new XJL Supersport has whale-like proportions and a large chrome grille splits the squinting eyes on either end. In all probability, the design for the headlamps came off someone’s futuristic design thesis at art school. The sloping coupe like rear is almost fastback like with its aerodynamic benefits being obvious. The rear led lights illustrates a cats claw and resembles a design that remains true to the brand. Other exterior detailing includes dual chrome exhaust tips and very sporty 5-spoke 20-inch rims.

Climb aboard this A380 for the road and settle in to 12-way power adjustable driver‘s seat that allows for adjusting seat bottom extensions for added thigh and lumbar support with added side bolsters that cradle you during more sporting manoeuvres. What dominates the interiors are these swept around powerboat style cockpit with a leather-covered dash. The XJL Supersport gets bold aircraft style air con vents that are infinitesimally adjustable and are very easy to operate. Like its German counterparts, the XJL Supersport too gets full alcantara lining on the roof and side pillars and perhaps the purple insides of the glove box and central storage bin have something to with British monarchy, or not! The three-spoke leather wrapped steering wheels is fully adjustable for reach and rake. The interior wins our vote and so does the pop up scroll type shifter Jaguar has been using for a while.

The Supersport can become a high performance super saloon with the touch of a few buttons

The digitally generated instrumentation gets rid of the regular analog gauges. Instead, you get a 12.3-inch TFT screen that can be tailored to display the tachometer, navigation, audio settings etc. The gauges are futuristic too with the numbers next to the needle automatically lighting up even as it moves with a torch like effect. Click the button for Dynamic mode and the gauges turn red, nice!

Overall the cabin gets a bounty of leather, chrome and carbon fibre trims with the added touch of ice blue lighting that creates a visual and textural marvel.

Jag offers two varieties of the much acclaimed supercharged 5.0-litre V8 and the SS gets the hotter of the two, churning out 503bhp (470bhp in the lesser brother) and 625 Nm of torque. Unlike the XKR, this has a mature, less wavering chassis, thanks to the long wheelbase. Jag boffins claim that the XJL Supersport will get from a dead start to a 100km/h in 4.9 seconds and we second that claim. Our best attempt was timed at 5.2 seconds. Overtaking requires no second thoughts and calculated positioning on the roads, just plant your foot and breeze past, the speed deficient. Opt for the speed pack and get some aero-kit add-ons and up the electronically limited top speed from 250 km/h to 280km/h.

The XJ is made completely of aluminium and so you would expect it to be lighter than everything else in its class and it is. The long wheelbase might seem as a liability while engaging in spirited driving sessions, but it somehow manages to hold its composure and whips through the curves and switch backs with uncanny ease. This is bit of driver’s car as the SS badge suggests. Ride quality is of a high degree but fails to match that of the German benchmark, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Take away the light blend of intake and exhaust noise and at 80km/h it is almost a library. Occupants can treat themselves to offerings from Isaac Asimo or J.R.R Tolkien in peace.

Upfront both driver and passenger gets heated/cooled seats that do a decent job of keeping your back and bottoms conditioned while the driver also gets to keep his palms warm with the heated steering feature; not much use in the GCC. The extended rear cabin has dual cup holders, vanity mirrors with lamps, business tables, foot rests, optional rear seat entertainment system with dual 8-inch LCD screens and even memory setting. The rear seat passengers can also make use of the high-end intuitive touch screen remote that controls a multitude of functions. The top-end Jag also comes with a 1200-Watt 20-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system with USB and AUX inputs. You can even rip music and have it stored in the hard drive. Cabin temperatures can be maintained at different temperatures via the quad zone climate control in the rear. The mediocre rear visibility on this 5.2 metre long flagship Jag helps no one, but the rear view camera and the front and rear parking aids will. There is Bluetooth connectivity and blind spot monitoring system that helps the driver keep his hands on the wheel at all times.

The 520-litre boot is no bigger than the one in the very compact Nissan Sunny, but you do get metal runners that prevent luggage from ripping the carpeting. In the centre console is a large sized LCD screen that has a dual view, so the driver gets to match routes on the Navigation system while a TV channel is entertaining the passenger, like that in a Range Rover. We found the hazard button to be cruelly small, although placement is fine. If the sights through the large windows don’t suffice open up the panoramic style twin sunroof and get stargazing.

Perhaps you might have seen billboards of Jaguar advertising the XJ’s starting price of AED 279,000. Don’t be fooled. This fully loaded feline is priced at a weekend box-office grossing AED 579,000. This is right when you feel that the Mercedes S500 AMG and Audi A8 are more value for money for each dirham spent.

The closest analogy would be comparing the 2012 Jaguar XJL Supersport to Gotham City’s superhero, Batman. Bruce Wayne is known to be the charismatic billionaire and so the XJ SS is known to be the bespoke saloon for the season, chauffer driven if you will. And like how Mr Wayne turns Batman, this XJL Supersport also capable of being a fiery 4-door XKR. You don’t need to wait till the dark of night to be your other self. Just switch on/off a few buttons and it quickly changes its character. Unfortunately you’d have to be Bruce himself to get yourself one of them. For that price even he would settle for something German…probably you should too.


Engine: Supercharged 5.0-litre V8

Max power: 503bhp @ 6,000 – 6,500 rpm
Max torque: 625Nm @ 2,500 – 5,500  rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drivetrain layout: Front engine; rear wheel drive
Body style: Full size Luxury sports sedan
Seating capacity: 5

Weight: 1,9,15kg


0 to 100km/h: 4.9 seconds (claimed)

0 to 100km/h: 5.2 seconds (tested)

Top speed: 250 km/h (claimed)

Fuel Economy:

City: 18.3/100km (tested)

Highway: 8.7l/100km (tested)

Mixed cycle: 12.1l/100km (tested)


Base price: AED 279,000
As tested: AED 579,000

The competition:
Mercedes-Benz S500 AMG, BMW 750il, Lexus LS 460, Audi A8, Mercedes Benz- CLS 500 AMG, Porsche Panamera S

One Response to 2012 Jaguar XJL Supersport | road test

  1. soma Reply

    May 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm


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