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2008 Jaguar XJ

2008 Jaguar XJ

Acura TL

Jaguar XJ

Audi A5/S5

Liocoln MKZ

BMW 5 Series

Mercedes-Benz C Class

Cadillac CTS

Saab 9-3

Infiniti M35/M45

Volvo S80


Long before Ford Motor Co. knew it would be selling its premium Jaguar brand, it envisioned a freshened version of Jag's XJ sedan.

With Jaguar now sold to India's Tata Motors, the 2008 Jaguar XJ's future could take a different track. After all, it's the legendary British marque that for years has glided up mile-long, tree-lined drives to elegant estates. Even when American owned, it kept that sense of English privilege, with company missives occasionally sparked with such esoteric words as "whilst."

2008 Jaguar XJ Interior
2008 Jaguar XJ Interior

For 2008, the XJ contains a number of design tweaks and upgrades that should keep it solidly in American view finders. Foremost, a new front end, subtle touch of rear spoiler and enhanced feel of athleticism have created a more modernized, overall shape. Even with visual changes, it remains all Jaguar, with slightly convex sides flowing smoothly rearward and only slightly interrupted by side power vents. Signature indentions run aft from dual front headlamps as before. New 19- and 20-inch wheels add authority.

A 2008 highlight is the revised interior. No matter the weather, sitting up front in this five-seater should be cushy. A new, more comfortable seat design adds cooling to the three-stage front seat heating. Communication for up to five phones is Bluetooth based. Turning on audio yields the superior sound of high definition radio, operated through the touch-screen navigation system as is SIRIUS Satellite Radio. Four-zone air conditioning is an up-model option.

Two powerful aluminum block V-8 engine options power the rear-drive XJ, a naturally-aspirated 300 bhp and a 400 bhp supercharged 4.2-liter, mated with a six-speed ZF transmission. The all-aluminum body cuts weight for better fuel economy (16 city/25 highway mpg for the 300 bph). The XJ's handling is noted for its agility and control.

As before, XJ comes in short or long wheelbase versions (about $64,500 or $68,000 respectively), including destination and delivery charges. More upscale models such as Vanden Plus, and performance XJR and Super V-8 models range from about $77K to $95 K, and can have such elite touches as wood and leather heated steering wheel, and lambswool footwell rugs.