Jaguar XJR

Supercharged Jag flagship gets a mid-life refresh

Evo rating
Price
from £60,252
  • It’s still really good to drive
  • Image still painfully middle-aged

The styling of the XJ probably hasn’t helped its sales. Considering it was Jaguar’s first all-aluminium production car at launch four years ago, the design hardly shouted ‘progress’. In fact, it looked so like the out-going model that, in front of a number of Jaguar big-wigs, photographer Kenny P peered through his lens and asked ‘what am I shooting, mate; what’s changed?’ Apparently US customers had told Jaguar they loved the XJ as it was, but that was before they saw Mr Bangle’s 7-series and the new S-class.

At cash-strapped Jaguar, changing swathes of panels to make the XJ look more modern was not an option. This mid-life refresh does bring the neat front wing vent, as seen on the XK coupe, and heavy revision of non-metal parts like bumpers and sill extensions. Heavy is the word, too, the front bumper especially looking a bit clumsy, though the particular XJR we tested looked more appealing with its 19in five-spoke wheels and black paint. New seats give up more space front and rear and there are advances in in-car communications that should be useful to the suited set. The ‘wood’ trim looked very middle-aged, however.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

What is truly galling about the XJ is that dynamically it is a very fine car, with a perfectly judged ride for UK roads, crisp responses and exceptional poise – much of this due to its lightweight aluminium construction. It also has a superb drivetrain, the supercharged V8 giving up its power smoothly and enthusiastically while the six-speed automatic gearbox manages up- and down-shifts swiftly and sweetly. There isn’t another luxury saloon that’s so impressive from behind the wheel. If only it looked that good.

Specifications

EngineV8, 4196cc, supercharged
Max power400bhp @ 6100rpm
Max torque408lb ft @ 3500rpm
0-605.0sec (claimed)
Top speed155mph (limited)
On saleNow

Recommended

Visit/jaguar/xj/202358/all-new-all-electric-jaguar-xj-caught-winter-testing
Jaguar XJ

All-new, all-electric Jaguar XJ caught winter testing

17 Mar 2020

Most Popular

Visit/bmw/1-series/203095/bmw-128ti-revealed-as-direct-hot-hatch-rival-to-vw-golf-gti
BMW 1 Series

BMW 128ti revealed as direct hot hatch rival to VW Golf GTI

BMW has revealed a simplified front-wheel drive hot 1-series called 128ti that will sit below the M135i performance flagship
16 Sep 2020
Visit/nissan/370z/201879/nissan-z-proto-revealed-v6-twin-turbo-six-speed-manual-and-a-catch
Nissan 370Z

Nissan Z Proto revealed – V6 twin-turbo, six-speed manual, and a catch

It’s the Nissan sports car we’ve been waiting 11 years for, but don’t hold your breath for it in the UK
16 Sep 2020
Visit/advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
Features

Used car deals of the week

We’ve perused the used car pages so you don’t have to. Here’s what caught evo’s fancy this week
16 Sep 2020
Visit/audi/s3/203084/audi-s3-2020-review-the-original-posh-hot-hatch-reformed
Audi S3

Audi S3 2020 review – the original posh hot hatch reformed

Probably the best S3 yet, but still not a class-leading entertainer
15 Sep 2020