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.