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

Ferrari 812 'Competizione' confirmed – hardcore V12 berlinetta returns
Next lightweight Ferrari V12 berlinetta
Ferrari

Ferrari 812 'Competizione' confirmed – hardcore V12 berlinetta returns

Ferrari’s new limited-run berlinetta, the 812 Competizione, to follow in footsteps of the F12 TDF and 599 GTO
22 Apr 2021
Porsche 911 GT3 2021 review – has the 992-gen now peaked?
992 Porsche 911 GT3 front
Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche 911 GT3 2021 review – has the 992-gen now peaked?

Few cars have higher expectations than an all-new 911 GT3 and the new 992 hasn't disappointed, but we'll need more time with it on-road to get a true …
20 Apr 2021
All-electric Opel Manta GSe restomod revealed
Opel Manta GSe
Vauxhall

All-electric Opel Manta GSe restomod revealed

Opel Manta GSe resto-mod previews Vauxhall’s electric GSe performance sub-brand
20 Apr 2021