From £54,630
If you really need all this performance then it's a bargain

Our Verdict

Jaguar XJ

The Jaguar XJ is a thoroughly modern luxury saloon, and a brilliantly capable one

23 February 2010

What is it?

You’re looking at the quickest version of Jaguar’s new limo, but it’s got a different name. There’s no Jaguar XJR in the new big-car range, even though the outgoing car had one. It’s allegedly because the marketing types reckon this car’s sheer size - you can get it in both short and long wheelbase versions - limits its outright sportiness in comparison with the XKR and XFR, and possibly because the whole ‘R thing’ may now be under review, given that Honda and Volvo, among others, use much the same nomenclature.

However, far be it from Jaguar not to provide a top-performance version of any new model. This quickest XJ is a 503bhp supercharged V8 which develops more torque than any other model, even the diesel, and which the figures say can hurl you from 0-60mph in just 4.7sec, which is not far short of a Ferrari’s time. Top speed is still limited at the usual 155mph, though the car would doubtless be good for 170mph-plus in ungoverned form.

What's it like?

Despite the extra potential, the most remarkable thing about the Supersport is its similarity to the rest of the XJ range; it uses the same tyre size, the same suspension bushes and rates, the same controls and instruments.

The only differences are some interior trim details (such as a leather roof lining) and an ‘active’ limited-slip diff, similar to that used for the XK and XF models. It employs electronically actuated brakes on its output shafts to improve cornering traction and aid agility. Jaguar suspension engineers insist you can feel the difference, between “slippery and no slippery” but it’s a faint difference, simply because the standard car sets such high standards, and has impressive traction-keeping gadgetry of its own.

On the road the car’s 270bhp-per-tonne performance is usually discreetly deployed. True, the car has prodigious low-speed thrust, but unless you use wide throttle openings the engine noise is not much more than a V8 murmur.

When you’re really use the power (handy even in motorway traffic for threading the car into gaps it would otherwise miss), the sound changes to that of a pure performance car, just as with the two smaller R models. The thrust is the same, too, not least because this car weighs slightly less than an XFR. This is a light car for its power, and feels it.

What is noticeable, though, is the extra agility of the short wheelbase XJ, which turns a little more sweetly, but maintains its line just as accurately. And given the extra nose mass of the V8, it seems to ride just a shade more quietly over some noisy surfaces, too. Like all XJs, it feels to have been carefully honed: Jaguar is determined to lose nothing to its opponens on refinement.

Should I buy one?

It’s worth pausing before you do: some Jaguar people say the normally aspirated V8 is now just about as quick as you need a car to be. And this is the priciest XJ of all; you pay £87,455 before options, or £90,455 if you want the extra five inches of rear room.

Still, all that power and torque is seductive, and almost too easy to deploy. Against the opposition, and looking at its performance and standard equipment, it’s almost a bargain.

Join the debate

Comments
14

26 February 2010

Actually, I like the look of it with those alloys and that bodykit. It's stopped pretending to be subtle and has accepted that it's a brash, in-yer-face bruiser and none the worse for it. I have a feeling though that there will be an XKR, with a 550-600hp version of that V8. Either that or the Supersport name will succeed the R badge on the XF and XK. Still, I can't wait for the new XJ to get the XF's Astonish rump and some less hooded-eye looking headlights.

26 February 2010

I'm still not sure about the styling on this car, especially from the rear, i guess i'll have to see what it's like in the flesh.

26 February 2010

Car looks superb and by all accounts, goes like the clappers. Hope they don't get rid or the 'R' badge although I do understand, what with other marques using this moniker.

[quote Rover P6 3500S]I have a feeling though that there will be an XKR, with a 550-600hp version of that V8.[/quote]

I'm not sure Jag should follow the Germans with the "lets eek more power out of our cars to make them faster" rule. As stated in the test, the larger car is slightly lighter than the smaller XFR so weight saving is definitely the way forward.

Just one thing though, that price seems a little expensive.

26 February 2010

[quote Autocar]you pay £87,455 before options, or £90,455 if you want the extra five inches of rear room. Against the opposition, and looking at its performance and standard equipment, it’s almost a bargain.

Steve Cropley

[/quote]

'almost a bargain'? Compared to what?

BMW 750i £68k on-the-road, 0-60mph 5s, 25mpg 750Li £71k otr - similar performance, better fuel consumption for almost £20k less.

Audi A8 4.2 FSI quattro SE £61.6k otr, 0-60 5.5s, 30mpg Audi A8 4.2 TDI quattro SE £63.7k otr, 0-60 5.3s 37mpg - fast enough for most, much better fuel economy for almost £30k less.

Mercedes S500L £78k otr 0-60 5.2s, 25mpg - fast enough, better fuel consumption, £12k less than the lwb Jag.

You're having a laugh mate.

26 February 2010

Here we go again!, the car's not even on sale yet as far as i know and already the medallion mans express, the hot rod,that we bit extra special, club class has shown it's nose out the factory gate, why do manufactrurers produce to start with an excellent saloon car and then produce a look alike from a distance,a Ford Granada!,I really think Jaguar should have left this car alone, even J.Prescott wouldn't have bought two of them!

Peter Cavellini.

26 February 2010

If only it looked like a modern car instead of an old style Japanese interpretation of what a modern European car should look like.

Old Jags used to be the cutting edge of style and grace well ahead of their time. Now we have a design thrown up by a committee with some gimmicks to make it seem controversial.

Great engineering usually gives the perfect style, this one doesn’t flow the front doesn’t belong to the back and in profile it is another car again. Looks like a Ford/GM effort, what have we in the parts bin that will do.

Inside from the drivers perspective it is obviously everything hoped for, seeing it the drive and admitting you paid money for it is something else again.

26 February 2010

[quote nicksheele]

'almost a bargain'? Compared to what?

BMW 750i £68k on-the-road, 0-60mph 5s, 25mpg 750Li £71k otr - similar performance, better fuel consumption for almost £20k less.

Audi A8 4.2 FSI quattro SE £61.6k otr, 0-60 5.5s, 30mpg Audi A8 4.2 TDI quattro SE £63.7k otr, 0-60 5.3s 37mpg - fast enough for most, much better fuel economy for almost £30k less.

Mercedes S500L £78k otr 0-60 5.2s, 25mpg - fast enough, better fuel consumption, £12k less than the lwb Jag.

You're having a laugh mate.

[/quote]

Very good point, or at least it would be if you'd realised that this review is of the Supersport, a car whose power & performance puts it up against comparators like the BMW 760 or AMG S63. Oops, they're both considerably more expensive though. . .

For the S500 L comparison try the N/A 5.0, which you'll find is a bit more price competitive.

26 February 2010

What's tha..?

26 February 2010

[quote nicksheele]

[quote Autocar]you pay £87,455 before options, or £90,455 if you want the extra five inches of rear room. Against the opposition, and looking at its performance and standard equipment, it’s almost a bargain.

Steve Cropley

-->[/quote]

'almost a bargain'? Compared to what?

BMW 750i £68k on-the-road, 0-60mph 5s, 25mpg 750Li £71k otr - similar performance, better fuel consumption for almost £20k less.

Audi A8 4.2 FSI quattro SE £61.6k otr, 0-60 5.5s, 30mpg Audi A8 4.2 TDI quattro SE £63.7k otr, 0-60 5.3s 37mpg - fast enough for most, much better fuel economy for almost £30k less.

Mercedes S500L £78k otr 0-60 5.2s, 25mpg - fast enough, better fuel consumption, £12k less than the lwb Jag.

You're having a laugh mate.

[/quote]Clearly the Supersport is aimed at the S63 and Alpina B7 and Audi S8, not the rivals you listed which compare more with the normally aspirated 5.0 XJ. 0-60 sprints are not really that relevant in real world driving and the shove in the back that the Supersport delivers from 40mph really is something special, and belive me i've experienced it.

26 February 2010

[quote doomngloom]0-60 sprints are not really that relevant in real world driving [/quote] 0-60 times are for children and Top Trumps enthusiasts.

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