No other big saloon blends comfort and composure quite like the XJR.

What is it?

The newly facelifted XJ, Jaguar’s big saloon, here in supercharged XJR form.

We’re still not totally convinced by the facelift, but we’ll let you have the last word on that. What we will say is that what really matters is the way the XJ drives, and here there’s no need to sit on the fence – it’s brilliant.

Like the Audi A8, the XJ is made from aluminium, meaning it’s light and agile. Unlike the A8, however, its suspension is superbly well sorted for British roads, and that doesn’t just make for comfort, but also for better body control, and therefore greater pace.

That pace is naturally aided considerably by the 4.2-litre supercharged V8 engine. It’s mellifluously smooth, as is the standard six-speed ZF gearbox.

With 400bhp on tap, there’s more than enough power: 0-60mph comes up in 5.0sec. Disengage the traction control and you can easily light up the rear wheels. Even with it engaged, it’s all too easy to squeal out of junctions like a hooligan.

In fact, our chief complaint about the XJR is the sharp throttle response at low speeds – it can be hard to make serene progress about town. At least the supple ride makes up for this.

The standard ‘R’ sports seats are also excellent; comfy and supportive, and now not just heated but cooled, too. We’d also highly recommend the aluminium veneer finish for the interior. It’s seriously classy, and so much nicer than the old-fashioned wood finish.

Should I buy one?

Yes; be different. For your £60,252 you get loads of standard kit (including excellent and easy to use touch-screen sat-nav), and while an S-class might be the more logical choice, we can’t help but be seduced by the XJR’s charms.

The bottom line is that everyone in the office wanted to drive the XJR, and not one of those who did came away unsatisfied. Jaguar calls it ‘controlled suppleness’; we’d agree.

Rory Lumsdon

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