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Jaguar Unwraps 2011 XJ at LA Auto Show Gala

Shaking off a rather stiff British reputation, Jaguar eschewed the typical car show introduction for a thumping U.S. press unveiling of its new XJ after the LA Auto Show on Wednesday night.

The stretched out luxury sedan updates last year’s offering with even more aggressive look courtesy of former Aston Martin designer Ian Callum, with a stout-looking grille and scalloped hood hiding an appropriately muscular 385 horsepower 5.0-liter V8.

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But only half the grunt in the XJ is under that hood. A 1200-watt sound system funnels through 15 different channels to 20 speakers, built by fellow Brit audiophile legend Bowers & Wilkins.

Although a combined DJ and orchestra blaring outside kept us from fairly evaluating the finer qualities of the new setup, we can say this: It gets loud. At maximum volume, drinks next to the speakers rippled from the bass. We’ll report back with a better evaluation under quieter conditions after another stop today.

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Jaguar will offer the XJ with both the standard naturally aspirated V8 as well as 470-horsepower and 510-horsepower supercharged versions. It will also be available in an extended wheelbase version that gives rear passengers and extra five inches of legroom. Pricing will start at $72,500.