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Test Drive - 2012 Jaguar XJL

The ultimate car for livin' large and in charge.

Story: Will Sabel Courtney

Model Tested: XJ Supersport LWB

Rating: 6 out of 6

The Jaguar XJL comes in six different variations, but if you’re looking for the top-level, mack-daddy, do-not-apply-unless-super-fly-or-a-super-spy King Kong of Jaguars, check the box for the XJL Supersport. The price tag is steep—a hundred grand still leaves you one Honda Fit short of the base price—but all that cash buys you the hottest Jag since the 1961 E-Type roadster. And that one’s earned a place in the Museum of Modern Art.

Unlike the E-Type, though, the XJL is a big car. The “L” in the name means this is the extended-wheelbase model, which measures 17 feet, 3 inches long. But it feels even longer—so much so, you occasionally mistake the hood ornament for oncoming traffic. Aluminum construction means this cat is light for its size, but there just ain’t no way around all that length…or at least you wouldn’t think at first.

But jam down the gas pedal and you’ll be wondering how Jaguar bribed the universe so they could sneak the Supersport around the laws of physics. With more than 500 horsepower available at the flex of an ankle, this metal Jag rips through speed limits like its flesh-and-blood namesake tears through cattle. And when the road turns windy, all five and three quarter yards of vehicle does a damn fine impression of a true sports car.

While there’s plenty to enjoy from the driver’s seat, this big feline is just as nice a place to be if you happen to be stuck in the backseat. A good chunk of the extended wheelbase shows up as extra legroom for the two rear chairs, both of which can recline and massage. If you get bored watching the world fly past you, you can pop in a DVD and watch on dual screens—or crank up the 15-channel, 20-speaker, 1,200-watt Bowers & Wilkins stereo and hear Mark Knofler as though you had front row tickets. (We’re big Dire Straights fans, all right?) By the way, did we mention that all of this comes standard? Hey, when you stack it against the competition, this Jag starts to look like a bargain.

Specs:

Damage: $117,700

Power: 510hp, 461 lb.-ft.

0-60: 4.7 secs.

Gas Cash: 15 city, 21 hwy

Miles Driven: 40

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