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2013 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged Quick Drive

The 2013 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged looks and sounds good, but is it worth the investment?

Many people will never have the option of purchasing a vehicle with an asking price close to $100,000. For those who are lucky enough though, you want a little substance to go along with all of the usual flash that comes with a six-figure purchase. We recently hosted the 2013 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged and were faced with a question: Is there enough substance here to back up the price? We spent a week with Jag's sumptuous sedan doing things its owner would do, and while it had the physical presence, it left us with a few questions. Read on to see what we liked and what we'd like to see done differently.

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Model and Price

At an MSRP of $92,600, the 2013 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged is a serious contender for being parked up front at any country club. Our 2013 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged tester came to play with $98,075 and offered some pretty swank amenities, as it should for an asking price like the one hanging off of it. The adaptive cruise control package ($2,300), front seat massagers ($800) and 20-inch Kasuga polished wheels ($1,500) helped our tester's price tag creep up a few hairs below the magical $100,000 figure. With optional features like those, it takes the sting out of the $875 destination and delivery fee with ease.

Safety and Key Features

Unfortunately, the 2013 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged hasn't been tested by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. However, Jag still includes standard safety features on the 2013 XJ L Supercharged like xenon headlights, LED taillights, driver and front passenger front and side airbags, and active head restraints. Other standard safety features on the 2013 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged include an alarm, an engine immobilizer, a tire pressure monitoring system, and LATCH points. All-season tires were also tossed in, as an optional feature but at no extra charge, on our 2013 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged test vehicle.

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Family Friendliness and Utility

With its huge back seat, you'll have little trouble stuffing a child's seat into the 2013 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged. LATCH points aren't incredibly easy to get to, but if you're persistent, the hooks soon show themselves and give you a small window to strap the car seat in. As a whole, the interior doesn't offer a ton of space for storage, but there is a nice airline-style table the drops down from both the driver and front passenger's seatbacks. It doesn't have a ton of surface space but definitely enough for a tablet and a grande extra hot soy latte with extra foam. The trunk is deep, and can hold enough groceries for a growing family of five, but we were a little surprised at how small the trunk opening was. Nevertheless, we were able to twist cargo in a certain direction to get it to fit in the trunk.

Comfort and Quality

An ivory headliner that runs down the A-pillars and satin elm veneer were optional features added on to our 2013 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged tester at no extra charge. Next to the 5.0-liter V-8 supercharged engine itself, these two features really made the XJ L feel like it was shooting to be an ultra luxe vehicle. A chrome insert that rests on top of the center console also gave the XJ L a solid feel, but it would get uncomfortably hot when left in direct sunlight. Now, we know that's not any sort of scientific break-through (metal gets hot when left in direct sunlight? Who knew!), but it's an unpleasant reminder every time you get back in the XJ L and settle in, to say the least. We also ran across a lot of cheap plastic pieces, which can usually be overlooked in a mass-produced vehicle, but it's unacceptable in a car that costs almost $100,000. This was most notable with the plastic paddle shifters. Why a near-limousine that weighs more than 5,000 pounds has paddle shifters is beyond us, but making those paddle shifters out of plastic is just cheap.

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How it Drives

It only takes going a few yards down the road, but it's obvious that a sizeable chunk of the $98,075 price tag of our 2013 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged tester goes to the drivetrain. Jag's usual 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 is employed in the latest XJ L and is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. This drivetrain is potent, to say the least, and works harmoniously together to get you up and going in a hurry. When you get the chance to open it up on the freeway, the 5.0-liter V-8 engine clears its throat in an intoxicating fashion. The six-speed automatic transmission is controlled by Jaguar's patented knob shifter and is easy to select gears.

Summary

While the 2013 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged oozes opulence and has a powerful drivetrain, we're hard-pressed to give it the crown. Other vehicles like the Cadillac XTS and Acura RLX don't come close with interior materials and build quality (for the most part), but they do offer a more comfortable ride and better technology. That's not to say that the 2013 Jaguar XJ L Supercharged is a slouch by any means, because it's not. Not in the slightest actually. But at this price, you don't expect any flaws, much less basic stuff like chintzy plastics, a center console that creaks when you press a button, or a hard-to-use touch-screen. Combined, they hold it back from ascending to the top of the luxury sedan heap. Once Jaguar finds a way to sort out these problems, we expect the pecking order to change.

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Spec Box

Price-as-tested: $98,075
Fuel Economy
EPA City: 15 mpg
EPA Highway: 23 mpg
EPA Combined: 18 mpg
Cargo Space: 15 "grocery bags"
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Good
Child Seat Fitment, Third Row (if applicable): Not Applicable
Estimated Combined Range: 390.6 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Low

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Notebook Quotes

"There's not much that sets this Jag apart -- not $100,000 set apart. It's a bunch of nice leather and wood in a car that doesn't feel quite so special because the build quality is a little iffy. It's a bunch of gimmicks in a car that doesn't overwhelm you with a feeling of, 'Damn, this is living the life.'" -Jacob Brown, Associate Editor

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