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Jaguar XJR575 Car Review

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With a 575PS supercharged 5.0-litre V8 under its bonnet, the Jaguar XJR is one of the sector's heaviest hitters. Jonathan Crouch checks it out.

Ten Second Review

The Jaguar XJR delivers an intoxicating 575PS wallop courtesy of its 5.0-litre supercharged V8. A massively talented chassis results in an unexpectedly capable driver's car although the low-speed ride might well be too firm for some. You'll need very deep pockets to run one though.

Background

There's a time and place for political correctness. It tends not to be when you're behind the wheel of a supercharged Jaguar with 575PS under your right boot. There might be the hint of concern about the environmental effects of unleashing that mighty V8, tasked with catapulting over two tonnes of car up the road, but they soon get overwhelmed by the focus on avoiding incarceration. The XJR is a rare and singular thing and the motoring world needs indulgences like this to punch welcome interruptions into a sea of grey diesels and hybrid econoboxes. We've had XJR models before and they fill a specific niche. They're the sort of car you buy if you find a German super saloon a bit antiseptic, a Maserati Quattroporte too henchman, a fast Lexus too nerdy and a Bentley Flying Spur too expensive. Think of the Jaguar XJR as an automotive equivalent of the late Alan Clark - well bred, urbane but at the same time with a barely-disguised roguish side.

Driving Experience

Power comes courtesy of a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 and its 575PS will accelerate the XJR from zero through 60mph in just 4.4 seconds on the way to a more than adequate 186mph. The 700Nm of torque is delivered to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The low speed ride on the standard 20-inch lightweight forged alloy wheels is a bit busier than you'd find in a lesser XJ but at higher speeds, the chassis - some 30 per cent stiffer than the standard model - feels very at home. The wheel yields more feedback than the previous fingertip-light steering of old XJRs. Get this Jag up on its toes and it feels sportier than you'd ever imagine, especially so when switched into Dynamic mode. Nevertheless, it'll always feel like a big car. It's absolutely rammed with technology. Jaguar's Adaptive Dynamics system actively controls vertical body movement, roll and pitch rates through the use of continuously variable dampers. The Jaguar active electronic differential has been calibrated in order to exploit the XJR's prodigious grip, while the 'Trac DSC' setting of the Dynamic Stability Control system offers an enthusiastic driver the opportunity to further explore the car's dynamic potential. Helping keep thing shipshape are huge front and rear brake discs, internally ventilated for assured, repeated stopping power.

Design and Build

Most have become used to the fact that the Jaguar XJ now looks a thoroughly modern thing, shucking off its tired retro pretensions with the current model. In both short and long wheelbase guies, this XJR takes this sleek, clean design theme and runs with it. Tailor-made exterior details include a rear spoiler, side sills, front bumper and lower air intakes featuring 'Gloss Black' surrounds. Updated XJR575 exterior badging and twin bonnet louvres mark the vehicle out from the rest of the range, while 20-inch 'Farallon' gloss-black wheels with red painted brake callipers offer another dynamic flourish. A front splitter and quad tailpipes also play their part in bolstering the car's stealthy yet purposeful demeanour. Rear lift meanwhile, is reduced through the fitment of a bootlid-mounted lip spoiler to manage the airflow off the top rear surface of the car, while those special 'R' bonnet louvres aid aerodynamics and engine cooling. Inside the XJR575 features bespoke embossed tread plates and diamond-quilted seating available in Jet/Jet and Ivory/Jet colour options and finished with additional '575' branding. Buyers get the latest version of Jaguar's 'InControl Touch Pro' premium infotainment system, which now features a larger 10-inch centre-dash screen, this set-up allowing a de-cluttering of buttons on a central console that's pleasing to the eye. As before, the cabin's very spacious, as is the boot, at 520-litres in size.

Market and Model

You'll need a £94,000 budget for this XJR575 - that's for the short wheelbase version. There's also a long wheelbase option. In return for the substantial asking figures, you get a car that's exquisitely equipped, befitting its position as the sporting flagship model. There are technical finishes inside the car and optional semi-aniline leather and veneers in either Carbon Fibre or Piano Black. Providing a further unique touch is a choice of contrasting colour stitching to emphasise the design of the seats. Other kit includes dual-zone climate control, twin glass sunroofs and the touch screen navigation, Bluetooth and voice-controlled entertainment system. Safety-wise, you can expect to find all the latest electronic traction, stability and braking aids, plus airbags springing from every crevice. There's even a spring-loaded bonnet to protect pedestrians at point of impact. Included safety kit runs to the usual things - dynamic stability control (the 'Trac DSC' set-up), twin front, side and curtain airbags, front seats with a whiplash protection system, a blindspot warning set-up built into the door mirrors and a pop-up bonnet to improve protection for pedestrians. Jaguar has now added in a suite of standard camera-driven safety features, including 'Autonomous Emergency Braking', 'Lane Keep Assist' and 'Driver Condition Monitoring'.

Cost of Ownership

If you're worried about costs, look away now. Yes, there are some concessions to reducing the ongoing cost of XJR ownership, but more often than not, they're serendipitous by-products of a different focus. The aluminium body cuts weight and improves agility. It just so happens that it's good for economy too. The same goes for the XJR's aerodynamics, which reduce wind noise, improve acceleration and high-speed stability but also benefit in reducing fuel consumption. Not by a whole lot though, and if this worries you, Jaguar will happily point you in the direction of their far more efficient 3.0-litre supercharged XJ. Go for the XJR575 and you'll be looking at a combined fuel economy figure of 25.4mpg, which will probably translate to 15-16mpg in real world conditions, while the emissions figure of 264g/km lags some way behind what you'd get in a Mercedes-AMG S63 (203g/km).

Summary

Be in no doubt that this Jaguar XJR is no one-dimensional autobahn express. It's a car that demands to be driven and driven hard. Is there really a place for a massive limousine that wants to be picked up the scruff of its neck in today's motoring environment? In a word, yes. As manufacturers strive to fill ever-smaller niches, it's good to see that there's an old school British bruiser around that uses modern technology to achieve a classic result. The XJR575 overflows with charisma and that's what sets it apart. It's not perfect - the low speed ride is firm, it costs a small fortune to run and an Audi RS7 would leave it behind in a straight line. But it has personality and, as we know, personality goes a long way. It's a beguiling package. It looks good, it drives well, it's beautifully finished inside and it speaks of a certain independence of thought. Jaguar even now routinely thrashes its German rivals in customer satisfaction surveys. If you want a big car that comes with a large side order of feel-good factor, not a lot touches the Jaguar XJR.

Technical Data

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Jaguar XJR575
Combined mpg 24.4
CO2 (g/km) 270
Extra urban mpg 32.8
Insurance group 50
Urban mpg 16.7
Weight (kg) 1870

Review Scores at a glance

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Vehicle Class - Luxury Car
Performance 90%
Handling 90%
Comfort 60%
Space 80%
Styling 90%
Build 80%
Value 60%
Equipment 90%
Economy 50%
Depreciation 40%
Insurance 50%
Overall Review Score 71%

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