XJR’s last hurrah… Final power boost for Jaguar’s lovable hot saloon… Words Kyle Fortune / #Jaguar-XJR-575
Yes, the Jaguar XJR is still a thing. Jaguar might elsewhere be following its stablemate Land Rover into SUVs, but there is still room in its line-up for a flagship saloon. Enough, indeed, for a range of them, but we’re not bothering with anything as hoipolloi as a sensible turbodiesel here. Instead we’re going right to the top. The new Jaguar XJR 575, with a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine, has a number relating to its output.
That’s more than before, Jaguar reminding us of the XJ’s existence by squeezing a few more ponies from that sonorous supercharged V8, making a few minor technical tweaks inside and out, and painting the launch cars a fairly retina-testing Velocity Blue.
With the model in its eighth year, Jaguar had to do something. After all, the XJ’s rivals, each ubiquitous in comparison, have all been replaced. The big Brit will have to soldier on for a few years yet while Jaguar earns enough money by selling those SUVs to justify spending money on another. And it will, says director of design Ian Callum, but like this one ‘it won’t be trying to take on the S-Class, because there’s just no point’.
Revel in the XJ’s different take on the Luxury saloon, be it stylistically or ideologically, and enjoy the fact that even so long after its launch it remains a rarity. There’s no hybrid plug-in powertrain, nothing like the level of autonomy of an S-Class, 7 Series or Audi A8, and, really, it’s all the better for it. The XJ has always been a car intended to appeal to the driver, and all of that stuff is just a distraction.
That’s true of the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 under the bonnet, which is diverting enough to, er, make you want to take a diversion and is worth winding up to its redline for the sound alone. The blare from those none-too-subtle tailpipes is rich and naughty, the accompanying pace never anything less than eye-widening. You’ll hit 62mph from rest in 4.4 seconds, and it doesn’t seem ever to let up, Jaguar quoting 186mph as its top speed should you be in Germany. The eight-speed automatic dishes out its plentiful ratios with imperceptible efficiency, making the paddles all but redundant.
All that 575ps (actually 567bhp – 20bhp up on the earlier XJR) drives the rear wheels, electronics allowing it to do so with remarkable civility even while it’s bending your face. There’s a lot to like then, though the chassis begins to run out of ideas before the urge abates. Even so, until then, it’s agile and there’s even some feel – impressive considering its size and age. You’d be much quicker in a Porsche Panamera Turbo, but you’ll be travelling fast enough in the XJR 575 not to care.
The Jaguar’s age inside is to its benefit, too. Yes, there’s a touchscreen but it’s still housed in a dashboard that was drawn well over a decade ago. It brings a whiff of old-school luxury – bulls-eye-style vents, plush leather and rich chrome – with a hint of Bentley about it. Every rival is undoubtedly and quantifiably better, but if you picked the XJR 575 over them all you’d not be disappointed, and we’d applaud you for doing so.
Left and below XJR’s supercharged 5.0-litre #V8
has the pace to bend your face; the plush interior doesn’t look dated – even if it should – and has an air of Bentley about it.