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2010 Jaguar XJ - Click above for high-res image gallery

For a long time, worrying about Jaguar was the only sensible thing to do. While it was never exactly clear if the marque had (ever) achieved profitability, we enthusiasts were only too happy to give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, the English automaker serially gifted us with watershed designs. Sublime mechanical creatures like the E- and D-Type sports cars, as well as the curvacious Mark II and original XJ. How could we not be totally and utterly smitten? Yet somehow, the once proud automaker eventually found itself adrift in mediocrity, turning out maligned and slow-selling products with an unpleasant odor of unreliability as the money began to run dry. When the then Ford-owned brand launched headlong into its "democratization of luxury" strategy that resulted in the lamentable 2001 X-Type and serious talk of an SUV, well, we couldn't help but grow gravely concerned.

After all, how could a company like Jaguar - a firm that prided itself not only on voluptuous design and sporty handling but also sybaritic appointments and a refined, aristocratic manor speak with a straight face about "the democratization of luxury?"
Not only does the XJ appear to be the measure of its German competitors, it may play a strong foil for the Maserati Quattroporte and Porsche Panamera.
The very concept was oxymoronic to the point of absurdity: when a given commodity is within easy reach of the masses, it ceases to be a luxury good. Simple as that. Predictably, it didn't take long for consumers to cotton on to this revelation, and the savior X-Type was broadly lambasted and narrowly purchased.

Thankfully, the lanky Leaping Cat is at last in proud form once again, and under the new leadership of India's Tata Motors, they are building on the success of the massively impressive Jaguar XF of 2008. By our reckoning, that car was the first clear indication from chief designer Ian Callum and Company that not only did Jaguar understand that it had a past - it might have the blueprint for a bright future as well. As it reasserts its claim to the flagship slot in Coventry's lineup, the new XJ finds itself with big shoes to fill. Is it up to the task? Follow the jump to learn more.

Gallery: 2010 Jaguar XJ

Continue reading 2010 Jaguar XJ: We get hands-on with Coventry's new big cat

2010 Jaguar XJ: We get hands-on with Coventry's new big cat originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 09 Jul 2009 15:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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