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.

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

Most Popular

Used car deals of the week
Used car deals main
used cars

Used car deals of the week

Here's what caught evo’s fancy this week on the second hand car market
2 Dec 2021
Car pictures of the week
Tolman Peugeot 205 GTI
Peugeot 205 GTi hatchback

Car pictures of the week

In this week’s car pictures from issue 292, we look at the highlights from Adam Towler’s drive in the Tolman Peugeot 205 GTI
3 Dec 2021
Aston Martin V12 Vantage officially coming in 2022
V12 Vantage teaser
Aston Martin Vantage

Aston Martin V12 Vantage officially coming in 2022

Aston Martin’s dreamy small body/big engine combo is back, a new V12 Vantage is coming next year
1 Dec 2021