Jaguar XJR 575 SWB driven
Engine: 5000cc, V8, supercharged petrol
Power: 567bhp at 6250-6500rpm
Torque: 517lb ft at 3500-4500rpm
Gearbox: 8-spd automatic
Top speed: 186mph
Fuel economy: 25.5mpg
CO2 rating:BIK 264g/km, 37%
When it comes to the Jaguar XJR, well heeled buyers are spoiled for choice. The Jaguar flagship is available in numerous petrol, diesel and drive guises, and now it’s been given a raft of tweaks to keep it competitive with its Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series rivals. As part of these, there’s a power upgrade for the range-topping 5.0-litre V8 XJR 575. The 567bhp (575PS) model can be had in standard or long-wheelbase guise, as can any of the other variants.
So, what has changed over previous cars? Well, all rear-driven XJs get electric rather than hydraulic power-steering (although the AWD retains a hydraulic rack), while, inside, a new 10.0in touchscreen is complemented by updated software. New safety features include lane-keeping and parking assist, city braking and radar cruise that can take the Jaguar to and from a standstill.
The XJR cabin’s ultimate toy count may not match that of the S-Class, the perceived quality may not feel as high, but somehow the XJ seems more plush than its German rivals. Perhaps it’s to do with its old-school charm, its more involving, engaging, and personal feel. It’s the very epitome of luxury, even if it’s hard to pinpoint why.
Rear passengers are very well catered for, particularly in the long-wheelbase car’s ‘airline-style’ movable individual seats. But it’s the front compartment where our particular interest lays, as the XJ’s drive means it’s still the most endearing luxury-class car of all. Even with electric assistance the steering remains oily smooth and pleasingly weighted, with perfect self-centring. Nothing else in the class is quite this good. The car’s ride is also remarkably deft, with a superb ability to sooth bumps while retaining control of its 1,875kg body.
With a change to the engine control unit liberating that additional 25bhp, the V8 remains a great-sounding, mellow yet linearly responsive unit. The eight-speed automatic box shifts smoothly, and the rear tyres light up with ease. Official figures are 25.5mpg and 264g/km, although we saw about 18mpg.
The slightly old-school Jaguar XJR may not have the tech count of the S-Class or Audi A8, the crushingly capability of the Porsche Panamera or the sheer muscle of the BMW 760Li, but we’d recommend one in a second.