Beauty may be the ultimate luxury. In an age when even entry-level automobiles are increasingly comfortable and refined, when even compact pickups come with power everything, what remains to distinguish a truly luxurious motorcar?
That's a question a Jaguar owner never has to ask.
A Jaguar is sculpture that moves. It is a finely engineered, but that's expected of a car north of 50 large. A Jaguar is far more than fine engineering: It is slinky, shapely, tastefully bejeweled and endlessly beguiling. And its beauty is more than skin deep, extending into its elegant, fine interior.
All this beauty is backed up by muscular powerplants and finely tuned suspension that provide a smooth, luxurious ride with surprising agility and Gibralter stability.
Jaguar's XJ Series includes six models. XJ8, XJ Sport, and Vanden Plas are powered by a 4.0-liter twin-cam V8 rated at 290 horsepower. XJR, XJR100, and Super V8 models get a supercharged version of the same engine rated at 370 horsepower.
XJ8 ($56,330) comes with nearly every luxury item known.
Vanden Plas ($68,330) rides on an extended wheelbase for increased rear-seat legroom. It trimmed in elegant Autolux leather and inlaid walnut burl. Heated mirrors, heated seats, traditional British picnic trays, and a six-disc CD changer contribute to interior ambiance.
XJR ($71,830) comes with a supercharged and intercooled version of Jaguar's AJ-V8. To support its increased performance, the XJR comes with a firmer version of Jaguar's Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) plus sticky P255/40ZR-18 Pirelli P-Zero tires, and special sport seats. For 2002, the DVD navigation system comes standard on the XJR.
Three variations are new for 2002.
The Super V8 ($79,330) is a supercharged Vanden Plas; it combines the long wheelbase and interior luxury of the Vanden Plas with the supercharged engine and tighter suspension of the XJR.
The XJ Sport ($59,330) shares its shorter wheelbase and naturally aspirated (i.e., non-supercharged) engine with the XJ8, but borrows the XJR's sport seats and more aggressive suspension and tire package.
The limited-edition XJR100 adds 19-inch BBS modular wheels and Brembo brakes with cross-drilled rotors to the standard XJR's qualifications. Special Anthracite paint lends a unique appearance, offset by charcoal leather with red stitching. The XJR100 is named for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons. Only 240 examples will be sold in all of North America.