Motor review - Jaguar XJR
00:00 23 August 2014
Our motoring man Syd Taylor is smitten by the new supercharged XJR
If the thought of a new supercharged Jaguar XJR doesn’t get the adrenalin flowing, there’s no hope for you and you might as well avail yourself of your sprung walking stick and take to the fells.
For those of us with red blood still in our veins, the thought of a turn at the wheel of Jaguar’s flagship XJ model makes us want to pounce. But before taking to the road, let us pause for a moment’s quiet reflection. What’s the difference between a prancing cat and a laundromat? The answer is simple. A laundromat spins your clothes and a prancing cat takes you for a spin. And if you’re not dizzy with delight on your return, I suggest a new biological washing powder.
For those readers scratching their heads and wondering what this is all about, it’s just that having driven the new £92,370 Jaguar XJR, I’m delirious with joy and determined to get behind the wheel once more.
It has long been thought that a sports saloon really only means one thing: a Jaguar. Rivals may bring to the table bountiful performance, ample luxury and so on but one thing they can’t do is to call the car a Jaguar.
Behind that ‘solar attenuating hydrophobic and acoustically laminated glass’ (none of that ordinary ‘see-through’ stuff here) there’s a whisper-quiet cocoon that’s as accommodating as a luxury suite. You have every electronic aid you ever need and a Meridian ‘lots of watts’ sound system that wouldn’t disgrace a concert hall. There’s even a magic ‘conversation assist’ that places a microphone above each seat to reinforce the occupants voice. Naturally I tried to disable it when a certain someone climbed aboard.
It’s as swift as the wind, as supple as a gymnast and that ‘R’ bespoke chassis and good old rear-wheel drive ensure agile and wonderfully secure handling.
Tootle along serenely if you will but slip it into ‘sport mode’ and, by the motors of a Saturn 5 rocket, does it go! With a roar and a crackle the 5.0 litre supercharged V8 is Herculean, with power that should be measured in megatons - but 550 PS will suffice. A top speed sensibly limited to 175mph and an explosive launch capability is fast enough for Superman. It’s tempting to ponder whether such power is actually needed - but, believe me, it is. You may not need it - but then again, life is not to be lived on bread and water alone.
The design is up-to-the-minute yet retains a sense of lineage. Mechanically it has little in common with classic Jaguars but in terms of the Jaguar spirit it is 100% proof that the cat still roars.
That view down the bonnet is unmistakably Jaguar. That adroit and magical response to drivers input is a reminder of all that the marque stands for - and we can sigh with relief that some things keep getting better. Some brands are just too good to be allowed to wither on the vine.
And so, with the sun gleaming on the paintwork, the open road curved away gently. A little throttle application provided big returns, giving an experience as old as motoring itself, but right up to date in the most refreshing manner as you’re seduced by the sheer voluptuousness of rapidly sustained movement.