2011 Jaguar XJ

2011 Jaguar XJ

Episode 2946
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Even before their divorce from Ford, Jaguar was transforming its cars from a classic grand touring image of the 20th century to a British showcase of sophisticated motoring for the 21st century. Now, the mid-size XF sedan set the stage, but everyone knew the make-or-break star would be the top-tier XJ saloon. Now, our first impressions were very positive. So let’s have a complete critique. 

The all-new 2011 Jaguar XJ follows the XF into a bold new world of styling for this classic brand. Aside from grille texture and badging, Design Director Ian Callum has left nary a hint of the previous XJ, choosing to go back further for inspiration. Instead of the familiar four-orb headlights, two swept-back cats-eye lamps are set in low, sculpted fenders. But XJ heritage is still sensed in the rounded-off grille and long hood that date back to the original 1968 Series I.

With so much sloping glass, there is very little trunklid. Blacked-out C-pillars are definitely an eclectic touch. LED taillights pour down the XJ’s elegantly simple, tapered tail, adorned only with a chrome Leaper.

The mid-size XF’s potent trio of 5.0-liter direct-injected V8s provides plenty of go for the larger XJ as well. Base unit is naturally aspirated with 385 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. The Supercharged XJ’s belt-driven breathing is good for a stout 470 horses and 424 pound-feet.

The special-order Supersport adds the 510-horsepower eight from the XFR. The only transmission, a six-speed automatic, presses the hockey puck-JaguarDrive Selector into your palm at startup. There are also wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and driver selectable Dynamic mode that holds gears longer while also firming up the suspension and seat belts!

With a mean growl, our 385-horse XJ leaped from 0 to 60 in 5.8 seconds, and raced through the quarter mile in 14.3 seconds at 103 miles per hour. It does bog down momentarily at launch. Without that, times would be even faster. Still, results closely match the XF, thanks to the aluminum chassis that allows the XJ to enter the ring some 300 lbs lighter than its rivals.

That chassis is supported by standard air suspension with continuously variable damping. Driving aids include the expected stability and traction control, plus an active rear differential. The combo makes for a supple ride and sublime handling-once you get used to the quick but dead steering, that is. The lack of feedback reminded us of a video game. But, get the hang of it, and this big Jag easily mastered every corner we threw at it. Yes, it rolls a bit, but overall it is well balanced and unflappable.

But you always know what the brakes are doing. An initial soft pedal is followed by good bite. A 131 foot average coming down from 60 could be shorter, but stability is excellent and the experience is far smoother than most rivals.

And, no rival can match the way Jaguar dresses its interiors. Wood veneer rings a spacious, amazingly well equipped cabin, whose low-slung leather dash is shrink-wrapped around nautical-style vents.

Classic round gauges reside in a virtual world, as a driver-focused 12.3-inch display fades up at startup, highlights critical data, and tints red in ‘Dynamic’ mode.

A center eight-inch Dual View touch screen allows the driver and front passenger to view two different visuals at the same time. It fits right below a classic analog timepiece.

Very modern is the standard panoramic glass roof. There’s ample storage, including Jaguar’s one-touch opening glovebox, and very usable cupholders in the center console. In the rear, leather covers the seats, door panels, and even the headliner is suede cloth. While there is plenty of room, long wheelbase models expand it to limousine proportions. The Jaguar’s 18.4 cubic feet of trunk volume is decent, though less than Mercedes’ S-Class.

Government Fuel Economy for our XJ are 16 city/23 highway on premium fuel.  We hit a respectable 20.0 miles per gallon in real world driving. The new XJ has a base price of $72,500, which makes Jag’s flagship a segment bargain. The supercharger adds $15,000 more, with the SuperSport in six figures. On all, the long wheelbase tacks on a few grand additional. 

The 2011 Jaguar XJ bridges the gap between two eras beautifully. Never once do classic inspirations and eclectic touches mar the totally modern outcome in the slightest. With extroverted style and performance aplenty, Jaguar’s big cat roars into the 21st century with its claws out.

 

Specifications

  • Engine: 5.0-Liter Direct-injected V8
  • Horsepower: 385
  • Torque: 380 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 5.8 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.3 Seconds @ 103 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 131 Feet
  • EPA: 16 MPG City/ 23 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 20.0 MPG
2024 Lexus GX550

2024 Lexus GX550

It’s A Land Cruiser With A Lexus Badge

Episode 4344
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When most people think of Lexus SUVs, they tend to think of the RX, and for good reason. The RX was a key player in popularizing the luxury SUV market as we know it today. But, the Lexus SUV world is much bigger than that, of course, including something for adventurous, rugged, off-road types.

We’re not about to claim that there’s some kind of body-on-frame SUV resurgence happening, but it’s clear that car-like crossovers haven’t fully taken over the SUV world just yet; and more than any other brand, Toyota seems on a mission to make SUVs truly great again. Even when it comes to their Lexus brand with this new 2024 Lexus GX550.

When the first gen GX arrived for 2003, it seemed to go out of its way to disguise its substantial off-road capabilities behind some very soft-roader sheet-metal, but those that knew… knew that underneath, the GX was based on the rugged J120 Land Cruiser. Fast forward to this third-gen GX, and it looks like Lexus is fully embracing that Land Cruiser kinship going boxier and bolder than ever before. Square lines, chunky fenders, wide track, short overhangs, highly vertical windshield; all hallmarks of serious off-roaders.

The GX is also the first Lexus to benefit from their Overtrail Project which encourages Lexus owners to get out of their comfort zones and experience what their luxo-ute is actually capable of. So, Overtrail models are outfitted with 33-inch all-terrain tires on 18-inch wheels, a locking rear diff, and an Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that can independently unlock both front and rear stabilizer bars for more wheel articulation.

2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Front
2024 Lexus GX550 3
2024 Lexus GX550 Profile
2024 Lexus GX550 5
2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Rear
2024 Lexus GX550 Wheel
2024 Lexus GX550 Badge
2024 Lexus GX550 Grille
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Just like the recently released Toyota J250 Land Cruiser, the GX is built on Toyota’s Tundra truck frame, but instead of a four-cylinder turbo-hybrid, it’s launching with a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6 with 349-horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. That’s 48-horsepower and 150 lb-ft over the previous GX’s V8. Max tow rating shoots up from 6,500 to 9,096-lbs. The GX works exclusively with a 10-speed automatic transmission, with full-time four-wheel-drive and a two-speed transfer case standard. Lexus says a hybrid option will be available later, but no word on if it’s the Land Cruiser’s 2.4-liter I4 hybrid or the V6 hybrid that’s currently available in the Tundra pickup.

It doesn’t take much time behind the wheel to appreciate the high seating position and great visibility of the GX; as rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too. There’s a big control center in front of the dash with a high-mounted 14-inch touchscreen, and dedicated knobs for temperature and volume just below. A third row of seating is available in most trims, providing space for six or seven passengers. But if you go Overtrail, Lexus assumes you’re not the big family type and would rather have the space for packing adventure gear, so it’s the only trim that is five-passenger only.

As rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too.

While the double-wishbone front and rear multi-link suspension of this Overtrail is clearly off-road inspired, it held up well enough in our Mason Dixon Dragway handling course. Slow and steady definitely won the race here, as the GX felt big and heavy, with notable weight shifting on transitions through the cones, and light steering. Stability systems were eager to kick in well before things could get out of sorts.

Buyers can add Lexus’ Adaptive Variable Suspension for smoothing things out on the highways without sacrificing off-road capabilities. It launched quite aggressively off the line in acceleration runs; again, sturdy and truck-like, with all four wheels biting into the pavement and propelling us forward harder than we were expecting, hitting 60 in 6.5 seconds.

2024 Lexus GX550 Dashboard
2024 Lexus GX550 Steering Wheel
2024 Lexus GX550 Infotainment
2024 Lexus GX550 Shifter
2024 Lexus GX550 Front Seat
2024 Lexus GX550 Second Row Seats
2024 Lexus GX550 Third Row Seats
2024 Lexus GX550 Seats Down Trunk
2024 Lexus GX550 Trunk
2024 Lexus GX550 Engine
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Lots of grip and no drama, as this turbo-six puts plenty of power down instantly. It sounds good too; powerful, with a nice throaty exhaust note that was more of a V8 rumble than V6 trumpet. Quarter-mile completed in 14.9-seconds at 94 mph.

Braking runs were a little inconsistent, with the off-road tires seemingly gripping and pulling us in different directions. But stops averaged a great 114-feet from 60 mph, so we’ll accept the slightly unsettled feel.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 21-Highway, and 17-Combined; we averaged a respectable 20.1 mpg of Premium. But it garners a worse than average Energy Impact Score of 17.5-barrels of yearly oil use, with 8.3-tons of CO2 emissions.

Pricing starts with Premium grade at $64,250, ranging to Luxury at $77,250, with Overtrail in between at $69,250. All trims can be plus sized for additional features.

The 2024 Lexus GX550 is clearly not just another luxury saturated soft-roader. It’s a real deal Land Cruiser with a Lexus moniker, and this Overtrail is the most off-road capable Lexus ever. That not only makes it appealing to traditional Lexus buyers, but to a whole “range” of new conquests as well.

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6
  • Transmission: 10-speed automatic
  • Horsepower: 349
  • Torque: 479 lb-ft
  • EPA: 15 City | 21 Highway | 17 Combined
  • 0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.9 seconds at 94 mph
  • 60-0 Braking (avg): 114 feet
  • MW Fuel Economy: 20.1 mpg (Premium)
  • Max Tow Rating: 9,096-lbs