8. Jaguar XJ – High-tech private club, on wheels
Base price range: $75,195-$119,995 (2015 prices)
Though it could arguably stand a full redesign, Jaguar refreshes its posh flagship sedan for 2016 with modest front- and rear-end styling revisions that include a refreshed mesh grille and a new headlamp design. Inside, the big news is an all-new infotainment system that, while we’ve not yet tested its mettle, can only be an improvement over the dismal interface it replaces that made even the simplest commands complex and distracting to execute. The XJ continues to exist as an British upper crust alternative to the usual suspects from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, though it remains a tough sell in what is a closely competitive and brand-centric market.
As before, the XJ is offered in standard and extended wheelbase versions, with the latter adding rear-seat legroom and offering additional backseat amenities, primarily for use as a chauffeured “executive car.” A just-sufficient 3.0-liter 340-hp supercharged V6 comes standard, with a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 also offered with either 470 or 550 horsepower, depending on the version. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard across the line, with all-wheel-drive optional. New for 2016 is something called All-Surface Progress Control, which takes over both braking and throttle as a low-speed cruise control to maximize performance over wet or snowy side roads or other low-traction surfaces, and it is said to work whether the vehicle is rear- or all-wheel-drive. Among its many high-tech gizmos, an available self-parking function steers the car into both parallel and perpendicular parking spaces.