Sensory Overlord

RIGHT-BRAIN thinkers may be excused for disregarding everything we write about the other six cars and simply rushing out and grabbing one of these, so strong is its emotional appeal—or repulsion. Reynolds loathes this car almost as much as some of us adore it. Jaguar offers a Babette's feast for all the senses in this XJL.

Every line, curve, and surface inside and out engages the eye as something fresh and new Love or hate the black C-pillars, nobody can ignore them. Ditto the gigantic chrome eyeball air vents and book-matched and mirror-matched matte-finish wood liim inside. The base V-8 serenades the ears with an old-money melody like that of a mahogany Chris-Craft inboard. Twin-needle-stitched leather covers practically everything that's not chrome or wood

inside, delighting tire senses of touch and smell. And taste0 Well, selecting this car will suggest yours isn't all in your mouth.

Given its test-topping 385-horse/380-pound-foot engine and feathery aluminum construction (at 4132 pounds, only the puny Porsche is lighter), it should surprise nobody :hat this is the drag-racing champ, hitting the quarter mile in just 13.5 seconds at 106.2 mph, 0.4 second ahead of the next-best Audi. It's also pretty eager to go around corners with tire suspension 3et to its Dynamic mode, feeling almost as agile as the BMW. Of course, Reynolds, our ride-quality gur u, noted lliis suspension selling "wont leave you confused about what mode it's in!'A common gripe was that the steering effort was too light for hew quick it turns in at speed, imparting a nervous feeling.

While the design, amenities, and comfort of the interior were beyond reproach, the lethargic touch-screen had reproach heaped upon it. "Could we divert two of the V-8's cylinders to powering the computer when they aren't needed for accelerating the car?" asked Febbo. But the elephant in the room was reliability, and when a hood-latch sensor fritzed, preventing the doors from locking, Lucas jokes went flying. Technical director Markus hesitates to recommend it to friends, but would choose this one to own.

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