From £90,0858
New high-performance Jaguar saloon suffers from a few minor foibles, but its substantial firepower more than compensates

Our Verdict

Jaguar XJR

The Jaguar XJR is an enormously attractive and satisfyingly rapid luxury saloon marred only by a slightly firm ride

  • First Drive

    2015 Jaguar XJR review

    Jaguar’s luxury super-saloon gets a host of updates, including electronically assisted steering, and it remains a compelling choice
  • First Drive

    2013 Jaguar XJR first drive review

    New high-performance Jaguar saloon suffers from a few minor foibles, but its substantial firepower more than compensates
Nic Cackett
27 October 2013

What is it?

The Jaguar XJR is a flagship sports saloon that’s designed to rival the likes of the Mercedes S63 AMG, and it packs many a trait that will endear it to enthusiasts.

Powering the 1870kg XJR is an all-aluminium 5.0-litre V8, replete with a Roots-type supercharger and a pair of air-to-water intercoolers. The net result is an almighty 542bhp and 502lb ft, which is sent with conviction to the rear wheels through a swift-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission

Corralling all that power at the tail is an electronic active differential, which helps deliver an admirable amount of fuss-free traction. Braking force is provided by substantial vented 380mm front discs and 376mm rear discs, which can bleed off speed quickly and repeatedly, while Jaguar’s stability systems unobtrusively keep things in check when required.

Other XJR-specific details include bespoke calibration for the transmission, a new front splitter, a rear spoiler, 'R' bonnet louvres and exclusive interior materials.

What's it like?

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.

Should I buy one?

If you’re in the market for a luxury five-seater that’s ferociously quick and rewarding to drive, and are willing to accept a few refinement and finish issues, then the Jaguar XJR is a worthwhile choice. It’s also over £27,000 cheaper than the equivalent S63 AMG, so it represents comparatively good value for money.

Some might, however, find the outright capabilities of the XJR intimidating, unmanageable or unnecessary in the real world.

In these instances, a regular supercharged 3.0-litre V6 XJ - or perhaps the diesel variant, if your mileage justified it - would be the more controllable, cosseting and relaxing option.

Jaguar XJR

Price £92,370; 0-62mph 4.6sec; Top speed 174mph (limited); Economy 24.4mpg; CO2 270g/km; Kerb weight 1870kg; Engine 5000cc, V8, supercharged, petrol; Power 542bhp; Torque 502lb ft; Gearbox Eight-speed automatic

Join the debate

Comments
14

28 October 2013

Knocks the new S63 AMG for six. It has much more style, grace and desirability inside and out compared to the Mercedes and it handles far better too. And it's engine is a belter too, much better and more characterful than the S63's, while its aluminium construction and engineering is light years ahead of the S-Class' dark ages approach.

28 October 2013

I reckon it's exactly the other way - there's no-one who with the money who would in their right mind even consider the old fashioned and rather cheap looking Jag over the Merc. I recommend you read some about the new S-class Wink I mean, look at the interior and the materials - having driven the both cars - the Jag looks like a cheap "American" compared to the Merc. I wish Jag could someday truly compete with the Germans but unfortunately they are not there yet!

28 October 2013
JamesX wrote:

I wish Jag could someday truly compete with the Germans but unfortunately they are not there yet!

Agreed. This car isn't in the same league as the S63AMG.

28 October 2013
Roadster wrote:

it's engine is a belter too, much better and more characterful than the S63's

MUCH better? Really, how? The article says it lacks aural presence, how is that more characterful?

The Jag has a great engine but the Mercedes is a masterpiece, regardless of what you think of the rest of the car. WUM.


28 October 2013
Roadster wrote:

Knocks the new S63 AMG for six. It has much more style, grace and desirability inside and out compared to the Mercedes and it handles far better too. And it's engine is a belter too, much better and more characterful than the S63's, while its aluminium construction and engineering is light years ahead of the S-Class' dark ages approach.

Woahhh buddy what millennium are you living that this is better than the new s class..the interior looks dated , the tech is leagues behind the Merc .. The engine to quote autocar in the S63 is a masterpiece.... Never has an AMG engine in the last decade been labelled as lacking character or aural drama! I am sorry but I honestly have not met anyone to date that has desired this jag! The new S class is a masterpiece of engineering , forward thinking and as quoted by many testers around the world moved the goal posts from being the best in class to being the best all round luxury big saloon period. No idea what u mean by dark ages approach... The Merc is one if the most advanced cars on the road today.

So the jag may weigh less 1870 vs 2070 kg for the Merc but still the Merc is faster to 60 4.6 for the jag vs 4.4... So much then for the lighter weight and better engine etcc..

29 October 2013
Roadster wrote:

Knocks the new S63 AMG for six. It has much more style, grace and desirability inside and out compared to the Mercedes and it handles far better too. And it's engine is a belter too, much better and more characterful than the S63's, while its aluminium construction and engineering is light years ahead of the S-Class' dark ages approach.

Are you serious Roadster or are you peddling yet another anti-German car comment? I agree that compared to the XJ, the S-Class looks staid and less stylish, and the same could be said for all German cars, and I own one. But a better engine than the S63? AMG's current engines are stunning and are up there with the finest. And because the XJ is aluminium, you think it's light years ahead of the Merc? You are on a different planet, the S-Class is so far head of the competition, including the XJ, it's not really worth comparing. Do you apply the same logic to an Audi A8 then or not because that's German too? Handling? Yes, the XJ possiblly tops the S63 but being a luxury class car, I suspect that handling is not the measure that defines a performance car in this class.

29 October 2013
Roadster wrote:

Knocks the new S63 AMG for six. It has much more style, grace and desirability inside and out compared to the Mercedes and it handles far better too. And it's engine is a belter too, much better and more characterful than the S63's, while its aluminium construction and engineering is light years ahead of the S-Class' dark ages approach.

just a few points to knock your Coventry crown off your head.
1) I presume you are talking about the S63 that has just been replaced
2) I would like to see the person who can fit in the back of an SWB XJ, I cannot with me in front
3) The interior has universally been criticised by press around the world for its poor interior plastics and trim
4) London buildings melt its exterior panels
5) For all of its aluminium architecture, it is still nearly 1900kg
6)How can a car with such little engineering funding be light years ahead of the now [possibly] greatest car in the world at the moment, and a car that has registered more new patents than any other. The construction is so technically advanced in the S-Klasse, mating every material to its function that the number of composites and alloys is mind boggling.
7) It might handle well but I would never want be driven in one, the ride is abysmal, which is unforgivable for a luxury vehicle
Dirol If i was up for a left field choice sports saloon with a poor ride, I would choose the Quattroporte which looks 1000 times better and has more character
9) The infotainment system is a nightmare to use and often crashes
10) the XJ will still be seen as the 'poor mans' choice

31 October 2013
Wow that's really interesting - how do you know the engine and handling are better in the Jag?

28 October 2013

Apparently Rowan was looking around for something similar,.dailymail Mr-Bean-Rowan-Atkinson-ditches-3m-supercar-Skoda.html Smile

28 October 2013
Andrew 61 wrote:

Apparently Rowan was looking around for something similar,.dailymail Mr-Bean-Rowan-Atkinson-ditches-3m-supercar-Skoda.html Smile

But he's a comedian and likes to amuse people! Biggrin

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