The longer, faster cat's meow

Behind The Wheel: Jaguar XJL Supercharged

Jaguar cars, long known for their sexy lines and classic proportions, were growing extremely long in the tooth with their XJ platform, a design that was pulled, smoothed out and tweaked since the Series 1 cars in 1968. In cat years, that’s food for worms. Well, in 2009, Jaguar took the much needed leap into the 21st century, albeit at great risk. How do you follow a classic design with something totally new and not have the masses hate it with a passion? Well, one look at the 2012 Jaguar XJL Supercharged, and you’ll forget all about old school. The new is heavenly, if heaven is a 470 horsepower velvet hammer.

This midrange version of the XJL, sandwiched in between the base XLJ Portfolio and the bonkers XJL Supersport, the Supercharged is no shrinking violet. Sure, the sheet metal is long, sexy and elegant, but it performs like Kate Middleton in a bionic suit. The 5.0 liter V8 is a monster and mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, it puts the power to the rear wheels in a refined and powerful British fashion. The paddle shifters make for quick shifts and the adjustable air suspension keeps the ride firm but royally smooth. We took this chariot out for a spin to see if Jaguar really does deliver the sexiness just the way we like it… quickly.