The Jag XJR is England’s version of the S-class AMG, or the full-blown 7-Series from BMW. I haven’t driven the S63 since the latest version came out, but I have driven BMW’s latest and I have to say I think the XJR will trounce them both, overall. The Mercedes’ interior is a little nicer, but if I’m going with a six-figure imported luxury sedan, like Jeremy Clarkson, I’m taking the Jaaaaagg.
As with my last review of the six-cylinder-equipped XJ Portfolio, the XJ exterior design remains right on point. This one is cocaine white with black wheels, one of my favorite combinations, with just a touch of chrome ($500) that sets it off nicely. I was at a party on Sunday, and a handful of people remarked on how nice it looked (one also remarked on the open can of Mountain Dew I had in the cupholder, noting that I may be the only person in history to bring one of those into an XJR). It looks super long, though this one isn’t a long-wheelbase model.
Inside, our XJR sports dark brown leather with black trim, which looks good with the white exterior. I haven’t decided if I like the carbon trim package ($1,575), which runs on the doors and around the front of the dash, though it does have the “R” logo in the center, which I do like. I’m still not of fan of the googly-eyed A/C vents, but the functionality is great. You just have to grab the centers and point whichever way you please. The A/C works great, and it was hot the weekend I had the XJR, so the new baby and I were appreciative. Speaking of, it was a little harder than I expected to slip a child seat behind the passenger seat. I moved it up a half foot and it fit, but it took about half the front passenger’s legroom away. With all that length, I would have figured I could toss it right in there. Oh, and the latches for the seat base were nearly impossible to get at. I gave up on Saturday, but succeeded on Sunday. On the plus side, the radio and infotainment touch screen is way better than the last generation’s, both in looks and functionality.
Obviously, the best part of this beast is its supercharged five-liter heart. I said the supercharged V6 in the last one made it “plenty quick.” This car is a bean bag with a jetpack, or a memory foam mattress with a space shuttle attached. I couldn’t even really put the pedal down on surface streets — it’s too frickin’ fast. Getting on the expressway, though — holy smokes. It’ll hit triple-digit speeds while the other guys are still lacing up their shoes. It sounds great, too. And for a little tail-out fun, feel free to put the traction control in TracDSC mode, and it will swing wide.
Upshifts at full throttle, or using the paddle shifters, are super-quick — this automatic transmission is one of the best non-dual-clutch gearboxes I’ve experienced. Shifts in this Jag have just the right amount of kick for a superluxury cruiser. Now, there were a few times that I wanted a downshift or a double-downshift and didn’t get one, but I could have just been in the wrong range. Power is basically on tap everywhere, as long as you put it to the floor and hold on. The brakes are a little finicky, though — they’re sensitive but soft, so if you don’t have good ankle control you could really get some whiplash.
Because of the aluminum body, nuclear-reactor motor and touchy brakes, the XJR doesn’t feel like a heavyweight, especially for its dimensions. It does feel planted around cloverleaves, and over road imperfections, but not sloppy at all. Steering gets relatively quick in sport and race modes, but still, I bet the brakes would be working hard after a few laps at the track.
The suspension, like that on the XJ Portfolio, is the right mix of sport and comfort. It’s probably a little softer than the BMW and a little sportier than the Mercedes. Those parts of the road that have been cold-patched a hundred times? They only register as a quiet rumble in the cabin. There isn’t much lift or dive either when braking or accelerating hard.
As for the sticker, it’s surprisingly fair. The S63 AMG starts at $144,000 or so, and the Audi S8 starts at $115,000, both before options. The Jag has what I call more “flava” than those two, more style. The purchase also tells your fellow drivers, “I could afford the clean lines, tight gaps and techno wizardry of the Germans, but I prefer the English.”
2016 Jaguar XJR by the numbers:
- On Sale: Now
- Base Price: $118,995
- As Tested Price: $122,570
- Options: Carbon fiber veneer ($1,575); 20-inch gray wheels and performance tires ($1,500); XJR Chrome Package with gloss black radiator grille, chrome front bumper side air intakes, chrome side window finishers, chrome side power vents ($500)
- Drivetrain: 5.0-liter DOHC supercharged V8, RWD eight-speed automatic
- Output: 542 hp @ 6,000-6,500 rpm, 502 lb-ft @ 3,500-4,000 rpm
- Curb Weight: 4,134 lb
- Fuel Economy: 15/23/18 mpg (EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
- Pros: It’ll blow out sports cars half the size
- Cons: Short wheelbase means it’s not as roomy inside as you might expect
The story “2016 Jaguar XJR review notes: Superfast and superluxe” first appeared on Autoweek.com.