2013 Jaguar XJR review
- Fastest Jaguar XJ tested
- 543bhp from supercharged, 5.0-litre V8
- On sale now from £92,370
This is the fastest Jaguar XJ you can buy. The new Jaguar XJR gets a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 that we’re familiar with from other ‘R’ products, and is already in the Jaguar XJ Supersport. An extra 39bhp brings power up to 543bhp, the 0-62mph dash down to 4.4sec and the price up to £92,370. The chassis is also fettled, and is now 30% stiffer than the standard XJ models.
What’s the 2013 Jaguar XJR like to drive?
Expecting an XJ to deliver genuine sports car precision and response is rather like expecting your armchair to double up as a filing cabinet. However, by the standards of 5.0-metre long limos, the XJR really is great fun, even in the long-wheelbase model that we drove, but which won’t be available in the UK.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox is hard to fault; it’s smooth and nearly always picks the right ratio, while the engine delivers just the right amount of brutality when you want it before settling to a near-silent hush at a cruise.
The steering, although light, is also wonderfully precise and organic-feeling without being too neurotic. It weights up more in Dynamic mode to offer a satisfying bite in fast cornering, although the setting's sharpened throttle response can be a bit tricky to modulate smoothly.
Ride quality still leans more toward wafty than firm, due to the rear air suspension, and there’s noticeable body roll, but the whole car feels more taut than a standard XJ. It’s eager to turn into corners, giving it that bit of willingness you’d expect.
The compromise is that the XJR’s ride quality does get pattery over scruffy surfaces and thunks over sharper bumps. Still, while it falls short of the sumptuous ride that you’d enjoy in other luxury saloons, the XJR’s is as good a compromise between comfort and tighter handling than you’ll find in any other XJ.
The V8 exhaust note also sounds rude with even moderate acceleration, and then quietens to near-silence the rest of the time.
What’s the 2013 Jaguar XJR like inside?
The piano-black surround to the 8.0-inch, colour touch-screen, blue ring-lighting around the rotary vents, a rising gear selector and lashings of chrome and leather all gives a real sense of theatre to the XJR’s cabin.
Functionality is good, too, if not best in class. The colour screen is fiddly to use on the move but gets easier with familiarity, the switchgear is where you’d want it and nicely damped, and everything feels appropriately indulgent.
The sports seats are also really comfortable, and have a huge range of electrically-controlled adjustment. Rear visibility is a bit restricted due to the very slanted rear window and chunky pillars, but the forward view is good.
The rear bench can sit three if the middle occupant doesn’t mind being upright and uncomfortable, while those to either side recline in sculpted seats with plenty of legroom. You will be short of headroom compared withmost other limo rivals, though.
Standard equipment on the R over other top-end XJs is limited mostly to styling addenda, including the carbonfibre rear spoiler and 20-inch alloys. As the XJR is based on a top-spec Portfolio trim anyway, you get a generous spec including the big colour touch-screen, sat-nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, electrically adjustable leather seats with heating and cooling function, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, and auto lights and wipers.
Should I buy one?
If you’re dead set on a fast, petrol-powered limo, the Jaguar XJR could make sense. However, it’s near impossible to recommend, not least because those after something with sports car ability and accommodation for four will be better catered for with the super-saloons in the executive class, such as the Mercedes E63 AMG and Jaguar’s own XFR. They’re more focused and cost much less, though you do sacrifice some of the space and the full-fat limo image.
Even if you don’t want to make that compromise, the Mercedes S500 L AMG Line is also slightly cheaper, hardly any slower and will be a better chauffeur’s car thanks to its superior rear headroom.
Still, the XJR is cheaper than a Maserati Quattroporte V8 and it has real evocative appeal. It’s a ‘want one’ car. If you want it and you’ve got the means to buy it, you won’t be disappointed.
What Car? says...
Engine size5.0-litre V8 supercharged
By Vicky Parrott
Used cars for sale
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