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Luxury, performance, and cachet are all possible with this Leaping Cat. The only caveat: it will cost you, dearly. For those not in the know, the L in this model of Jaguar means long wheelbase. For the shorter version of this premium sedan, check out the XJ model.

Handling

This full-size car is huge at 206.8-inches bow to stern. However, it drives like a much smaller, athletic sedan. That athletic ability stems from Jaguar’s knowledge of how to build a proper suspension. The payoff is minimal body lean through corners, as well as the ability to absorb bumps without comprising performance.

Steering turn-in is fairly precise, which is probably aided by the fact this XJL is of the all-wheel-drive variety. Having four powered wheels adds even more confidence when driving through s-bends spiritedly.

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Performance

Under the hood bonnet (this luxo-barge is built in the U.K., after all), the Portfolio trim level comes standard with a supercharged 340 horsepower (332 lb-ft of torque) 3.0 liter V6 mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. With a 0‒60 mph time of 6.1 seconds, performance is more than sufficient for daily commuting and longer trips when driven in the standard Drive mode. For racier driving, Sport mode can be selected, which increases throttle response and shift points. For an even purer sport driving experience, Dynamic mode can be selected, giving the driver manual control of gear selection via steering wheel paddle shifters.

The slight growl that emanates from the twin exhaust harkens back to the brand's racing heritage and adds a little bit of excitement to an otherwise very quiet (dare we say tomb-like) cabin.

We haven’t had the chance to test the V8 engine available in the XJL, but the supercharged V6 is probably the power plant more practical buyers will opt for as it delivers both performance and fuel efficiency. Economy-wise, expect an Environmental Protection Agency estimated 16 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg combined.

Interior

Inside you are bathed in what looks like the salon of a fine yacht. Copious amounts of highly polished wood frame the dash and doors. Smooth leather is in abundance, covering everything, including the door panels, armrests, seats, steering wheel, center console, dashboard and more. An Alcantara headliner adds just the right amount of luxury and sportiness, while piano black trim with chrome accents throughout add even more opulence. 

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Even though the XJL has a sporty personality to it, the backseat is where all the action is in this long wheelbase model. Unfortunately, this tester did not come with all of the upgrades for the rear seats, which include things like a reclining function, massage, power sun blinds and a host of other luxuries. It did come with a bevy of luxury touches, like heated/cooled seats, illuminated vanity mirrors in the headliner and a center armrest that folds down revealing storage with a place to put two drinks. Manual side privacy shades are standard; however there is no rear privacy curtain at this price point. Rounding out a long list of thoughtful touches is the ability to close the sunshade on the rear portion of the panoramic sunroof from the rear seat (which sports 44.1-inches of legroom).

At the stern of this upscale land yacht, the power closing/opening trunk boot can hold a somewhat average (for the segment) 15.2 cubic-feet of cargo. The Mercedes S-Class holds about a foot more, with the BMW 7-Series about a foot less.

Infotainment

This 2015 Jaguar utilizes an out-going infotainment system which is slow, lacks competitive screen resolution, and misses features found in competing BMW iDrive or Mercedes-Benz COMMAND systems. While the navigation touch screen system is standard, buyers may become green with envy when the updated version is rolled out in 2016 XJL models. Luckily, the standard Meridian sound system makes up for any flaws in the infotainment category. A finer sounding audio system has not been tested to date.

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Summary

With an $84,700 MSRP (plus $925 destination fee) the XJL is priced similarly to its nearest rivals (BMW 7-Series, Audi 8L, Mercedes S-Class). The 2015 Jaguar XJL delivers on the promise of sporty handling and great luxury. With a list of rear seat amenities challenging the amount of options available in the front seat of the car, the hardest decision buyers might have to make is whether they want to drive, or be driven.