This was supposed to be the Jaguar XJR show, until Jaguar decided a mere 550hp (metric) wasn't enough and dropped a 575hp version of their supercharged V8 into their most luxurious super-limo. The result is a luxo-barge that'll do 0-186mph in 44 seconds, for when you're really, really late for that board meeting at 2! But the XJ itself is aging in a segment where Mercedes has freshly revitalized the S63 AMG, BMW has delivered the M760Li xDrive, and Audi's S8 Plus is as rapid as ever. The Jag has always been the most driver focused, but when you're being chauffeured, is that really a plus?
5.0L Supercharged V8 Gas
Being the sporting model in the XJ lineup, there's no time for niceties in here like wood trimming. Instead, you're likely to find optional carbon fiber paneling and aluminum inlays to complement the piano black trim. The piano black stuff admittedly feels a little tacky in such a car, and attracts fingerprints like an ice cream truck attracts kids.
The seats are glorious, with quilted soft perforated leather to accommodate the heating and ventilation, underpinned by a supportive shell and some good bolstering. They're also embroidered for 2018 with the number 575, in red. Once sat inside, you'll hardly be wanting for space. The XJR575 is only available in long-wheelbase, meaning massive rear leg room, while the panoramic sunroof hardly impedes the clear air above even the tallest of occupants. Refinement is incredible, with even the V8 roar seemingly muted within the cabin due to high levels of insulation.
Adaptive damping is standard, and though comfort does what it says on the tin, the ride gets a bit lumpy for a luxuriant sedan. The steering, now electronically power assisted, is numb on center, but loads up beautifully off center and feels as good as a hydraulic setup ever did. Of course with a 124-inch wheelbase it's barge-like and steady, even under cornering, lacking some of the nimbleness of the short wheelbase XJ.
As the newfound name suggests, the XJR575 gets a bump in power from its 5.0-liter supercharged V8 to an F-Type SVR-matching 575 metric horsepower – That's 567 American horses. Torque surpasses the SVR at 517 lb-ft, with all that twist being sent rearwards via an 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox. At odds with the lengthy wheelbase and limo-like rear cabin, the XJR575 will dash from 0-60mph in a claimed 4.2 seconds, on its way to 186mph in 44. The snarling V8 is truly vicious, delivering surging torque that seems endless as the XJR575 reels in the horizon.
Essentially a range-topper, standard kit is pretty extensive, including an 825-watt Meridian sound system, paired to a new touch screen infotainment system that responds to swipes and pinches. Also new is a digital dash – a-la Audi virtual cockpit though not as customizable. In this 575 trim, there's an active sports exhaust, 20-inch alloys, aluminum paddle shifters, and red painted brake calipers. There's a standard rear parking camera – 360-degree is optional – and cruise control – adaptive is also optional, with forward collision avoidance – but there's also traffic sign recognition and lane departure warning with lane keep assist. The XJ hasn't been crash tested in the US.
Some trim elements may be a little of a letdown, but the newly up-rated V8 is an absolute monster. This is perhaps not as clinical as an Audi S8 Plus or as 'old money' as a Mercedes-AMG S63, but it's enticing and entertaining in its own right. You'll want to be the chauffeur in this one