It's not often that we get a chance to test out one of today's top luxury sedans. But when we do, everyone wants the keys. That was certainly the case a few weeks ago when we received a 2014 Jaguar XJR long wheelbase (LWB), one of the most upscale -- and most expensive -- models in the Jaguar lineup. After several staffers spent some time behind the wheel, some pretty strong opinions were exchanged. We've listed some of the pros and cons of Jag's flagship luxury sedan below.
Too Many Electronics
It's hard to spend more than a few minutes in the latest Jaguar XJR and not become totally overwhelmed with the amount of electronic controls. The glove box is electronic. So are the headrest adjustments for the front seats. And while those items aren't totally annoying, here's something that is: The heated seats are buried under various infotainment system menus. In other words, an item typically operated with a simple button takes extra time and effort in the complicated Jaguar.
That isn't to say that we don't like the Jaguar's toys. Everyone gets a kick out of the electronic gear lever, which rises from the center console when the XJR is turned on, and the fully electronic gauge cluster seems like it's pulled straight from the future. We also like the navigation system, which several staffers described as a bit cumbersome to learn but easy and enjoyable once you get the hang of it (a process that doesn't take very long). But it's hard to believe that the car needs so many electronics -- a factor that may become pricey should they break a few years down the line.
Gorgeous Inside, Gorgeous Outside
Regardless of your feelings on the XJR's electronics, it's hard not to like the sedan's styling, both inside and out. While some disagree, most of our staffers feel the exterior styling is among the best of any full-size luxury sedan, from the Mercedes S-Class to the Tesla Model S. And everyone agrees the interior gives the feeling of an expensive luxury car, considering both the materials used and the style. Maybe the only exception was the leather dashboard, which some of our staffers didn't feel was up to the car's high-end standards.
Excellent Driving Characteristics
Our XJR was incredibly fun to drive, as you might expect considering its sticker price of well over $100,000. But it wasn't just fast and nimble around corners. Nearly everyone in our office was surprised at just how well the XJR cruised on the highway at normal speeds. It boasted a solid, well-made feel traditionally associated with German luxury sedans, and outside noise was surprisingly muffled even at higher speeds.
A Few Issues
Interestingly, our XJR LWB press car had a few issues that we hope aren't characteristic of Jaguar's entire lineup. In addition to a few minor concerns -- such as a rear defroster that isn't very effective and an erratic park assist system -- our biggest problem came from the car's infotainment system. On more than one occasion, it restarted without warning during normal driving. That's not the kind of quality we'd expect from a luxury sedan that costs more than $100,000.
Everything You Want
If you're searching for a luxury sedan, the 2014 Jaguar XJR LWB is an excellent choice. Yes, we've complained about the electronics, but that's an unavoidable reality of today's luxury sedan world. Get past the gadgets and you'll find a high-end sedan with gorgeous styling inside and out, an excellent driving experience and great on-road feel. It's hard for most of us to imagine spending over $100,000 for a new car -- but if we did, the XJR would probably be on our short list.