From £90,0858
Jaguar’s luxury super-saloon gets a host of updates, including electronically assisted steering, and it remains a compelling choice

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
Matt Burt
5 November 2015

What is it?

A facelifted version of Jaguar’s 543bhp XJR. Outside of some minor cosmetic and equipment tweaks, including a more modern infotainment system, the key update is the addition of electronic power assistance to the steering. 

Jaguar says the conventional hydraulic rack, which previously featured in the XJ and XJR, had: “reached the limits of its potential.” That might sound like an odd statement, given that all you want is to have the rack communicate your inputs to the front wheels and deliver appropriate feedback, but then a lot more is expected from cars these days. 

Consequently, fitting electromechanical power assistance grants two benefits: an an improvement in efficiency and the ability to support more advanced driver assistance systems that require steering control.

There are fewer parasitic losses with an EPAS system, which Jaguar claims can reduce fuel consumption by up to 3%. A moot point for most considering cars in this class, perhaps, but for a manufacturer those minor improvements can add up quickly.

In an effort to quell those concerned about its fitment, the company is also keen to stress that the system responds and feels far better than the previous hydraulic set-up did. We've always liked the way the XJ and XJR drive, so hopefully its fine handling hasn't been affected.

One thing the XJR never lacked was power, however, which is why you’ll find the supercharged all-aluminium 5.0-litre V8 unchanged. It still churns out a stout 543bhp and 503lb ft, allowing the XJR to sprint from 0-60mph in 4.4sec.

What's it like?

We had just three laps of the Silverstone track in which to find out whether the addition of electronic power steering had tainted the XJR. Fortunately, however, it was immediately clear that it hasn't detracted from the Jaguar's driver appeal at all.

There's plenty of weight to the steering, and that weight builds progressively as the speeds and angle increases. It's got a slick, smooth action to it, making it easy to adjust, and you're further kept involved by a plentiful amount of feedback. You're ever conscious of the sheer mass of the otherwise agile Jaguar, but it rarely feels as weighty from the behind the wheel as the numbers suggest it might. 

The XJR is also still a deceptively fast car, especially once moving. The supercharged V8's substantial urge means that 30mph-80mph takes seemingly no time at all, and it continues to pull with conviction deep into triple figures.

Strong brakes with good pedal feel make it quick and easy to then bleed off that speed, while the Jaguar's firm suspension keeps the body in check through the corners. The eight-speed automatic does a fine job on track, too, changing gears quickly when manually commanded and rarely getting flustered during more aggressive driving.

All in, it's a satisfying and confidence-inspiring car to drive fast, further aided by elements such as an easily modulated throttle and switchable stability modes that allow a modicum of oversteer while retaining an electronic safety net.

The XJR's engine is still a bit quiet, though, and the option of a louder exhaust system would be appreciated. There's still no ancillary instrumentation either, so you can't view boost pressure or other readouts you might consider relevant.

Inside, it's much the same as before, but the new InControl Touch Pro media system is a significant step up in both functionality and quality. The cabin and kit is still not on a par with an Audi or Mercedes-Benz, though, but it's a step in the right direction.

The seats offer a lot of support - on our brief track blast at least - while a wide range of adjustments make it easy to find your preferred driving position. It's still not particularly spacious in the back, though, which is a shame given the car's overall size.

Should I buy one?

The Jaguar remains a good choice for those seeking a powerful luxury saloon that feels great from behind the wheel. That said, it'd be a close-run thing between this and a new Audi S8, particularly in Plus specification.

For one thing, the Audi offers a finer finish and a more modern feel. Many would also likely appreciate the tractability offered by its four-wheel drive system, which makes it far more docile in poorer conditions. It's also quicker from 0-60mph, although not as engrossing to drive as the XJR. Maximum involvement or a better overall package? You choose.

If the likes of the Mercedes-AMG S63 had been on your radar, however, then the Jaguar has one key card to play: value. It's a substantial £29,935 less than the S63, which may make it far more worthy of consideration.

Myself? I'd have a Cadillac CTS-V. Sure, it's a left-field, left-hand-drive option that may prove too oddball for most, but it's faster, sounds better, is more entertaining and far less expensive.

2015 Jaguar XJR

Location Silverstone; On sale Now; Price £91,755; Engine V8, 5000cc, supercharged, petrol; Power 543bhp at 6000-6500rpm; Torque 502lb ft at 3500-4000rpm; Kerb weight 1875kg; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; 0-60mph 4.4sec; Top speed 174mph (limited); Economy 25.5mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 264g/km, 37%

Join the debate

Comments
18

5 November 2015
This is the third review this week of a JLR product that hasn't been altogether positive. What's going on - new found objectivity? JLR, or Autocar, fallen out of favour? Increasingly difficult to paper over the cracks?

5 November 2015
One of the worst automotive styling blunders ever committed, in my opinion. I'd love to know how many people have been put off buying one because of it.

5 November 2015
It's also a class below the XJ/A8/S-klass. But as long as we're comparing apples to oranges, i'd have a C63s.

beechie wrote:

That black 'C' pillar, though. One of the worst automotive styling blunders ever committed, in my opinion.

They should at least offer the option of having it body coloured.

 

 

5 November 2015

Evening Tuga. Indeed, but having driven it so recently I couldn't help but draw comparisons. After all, the CTS-V is of a comparable size to the XJ (in SWB form, like the XJR, at least) and very similar on the powertrain front. The ATS-V has a similar footprint to the C63 and is frequently pitched against that very car, as well as the likes of the M3/M4.

5 November 2015
Yes, rather than the current policy where you have the option of having the body 'C' pillar coloured.

6 November 2015
beechie wrote:

One of the worst automotive styling blunders ever committed, in my opinion. I'd love to know how many people have been put off buying one because of it.

with the black 'chrome' line...

6 November 2015
Slow,underpowered. RS7performance has 605PS and does 0-60 in more than 1 second less at 3.2,plus it will get up a snowy driveway or ski hill.Interior is much nicer too.

Madmac

6 November 2015
madmac wrote:

Slow,underpowered. RS7performance has 605PS and does 0-60 in more than 1 second less at 3.2,plus it will get up a snowy driveway or ski hill.Interior is much nicer too.

"Slow" really? Just becuase a car is quicker than it, it doesnt qulaify tthis as slow!

RS7s official figure is 3.9 seconds to 62mph and in the absence of independent testing figures for this car we can only compare the published figures

Plus, not everyone like Audi's "image" and they haven't made a car with decent steering in living memory

jer

6 November 2015
Probably not worth writing up after a few laps.

6 November 2015

Afternoon jer. If it's a performance car, I like to have access to as much information as possible - particularly if you're going to take it on a track, where it can be really useful to see the likes of oil temperature. At least the track experience let us get our first taste of the revised steering system. If you'd like to read more, however, you can find my road-going drive of the pre-facelift version here: http://goo.gl/DUtJsv

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