On the road the Jaguar proves a thoroughly gratifying car to drive, thanks to its devastatingly rapid acceleration and its adept cornering capabilities. Its hydraulic steering is precise, well weighted and adequately communicative, body roll is minimal, front-end grip is high and entertaining tail-out action is only a few button presses and a dose of throttle away at any moment.
Both its brake pedal and accelerator have easily modulated responses which, combined with the fact that the Jaguar feels both lighter and smaller than it really is, make the XJR easy to control and balance.
The Jaguar’s suspension is overly firm, however, and not entirely befitting of the car’s supposedly luxury nature. You routinely feel every ripple in the tarmac underneath and, coupled with a light vibration through the steering column and accelerator pedal, you’re persistently reminded that you’re on the move.
Externally it’s a smart and subtle saloon, with the only minor cosmetic flaw being a set of exhaust tips that look a little low-rent and lost. A pair of larger rectangular exhausts, frenched in to the rear valance, would probably look considerably better.
Inside you’ll find a premium-looking interior with comfortable, supportive seats. There’s plenty of room for front occupants, but taller passengers will find the rear somewhat cramped, a typical XJ trait. Standard equipment is comprehensive and includes quad-zone climate control, heated and ventilated seats front and rear, sat-nav and a surround-sound system.
There are a few faults, primarily some flimsy-feeling switchgear and plastics. It's also disappointing to see that the modern-looking TFT instrument panel is bereft of additional instrumentation and customisation options. Given the Jaguar’s high-performance nature, many would no doubt appreciate the ability to view readouts for the likes of oil temperature, oil pressure, transmission temperature or boost.
The Jaguar would also benefit from the active exhaust system available on the F-type, as at idle and at lower speeds some may find it lacks the aural presence they might expect of a supercharged V8 saloon.
Nevertheless, the overall impression is of a quality product. Average a realistic 20mpg and the XJR will even cover a tolerable 360 miles between fuel stations. This, coupled to its relatively spacious interior and large boot, means it’s a moderately practical and usable super-saloon.
When it comes to specifying your XJR saloon, however, don't opt for the £1295 carbonfibre engine cover. It feels frail, looks cheap and you can't see it when you're driving anyway.