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Review: Jaguar XJR 575 SWB

Jaguar XJR 575 SWB driven ???? Price:?93,710
Engine: 5000cc, V8, supercharged petrol
Power: 567bhp at 6250-6500rpm
Torque: 517lb ft at 3500-4500rpm
Gearbox: 8-spd automatic
Kerbweight: 1875kg
Top speed: 186mph
0-62mph: 4.4sec
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.

2017 Jaguar XJR 575 review

25 Oct 2017 09:00Last updated: 24 Oct 2017 17:53 Priced from ?93,170 Release date November, 2017 With the launch the new Range Rover Velar[1], the unveiling of the Jaguar E-Pace[2] and the announcement of an innovative new racing series, it’s safe to say that it has been a busy old year for Jaguar Land Rover.

Gone are the days when the company was treading water just to stay afloat; JLR is now in fine health, with a series of cutting-edge, electrically assisted[3] models on the horizon. But don’t go thinking that Jaguar has abandoned what it has always been famous for – namely, creating high-powered, luxurious, rear-wheel-drive saloons. First seen in camouflaged guise going up the hill at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, this new (and we use that world very lightly) XJR 575 is the most powerful version of Jaguar’s flagship[4] saloon to date.

It uses a retuned version of the F-Type SVR’s[5] supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine, which produces a whopping 567bhp and 516lb ft – around 25bhp more than the outgoing XJR. A 0-62mph time of 4.4sec and a top speed of 186mph are some way off the class best (the BMW 760Li xDrive[6] reaches 62mph nearly a whole second faster), but the XJR 575 makes do without the help of launch control or four-wheel drive. To differentiate the 575 (575 denoting the car’s power output in PS) from other XJs, the design team has incorporated a number of tailor-made design details for this low-production model.

These include a more aggressive front bumper, curvaceous side sills and a subtle rear spoiler. Twin bonnet louvres and 20in gloss black alloy wheels complete the understated yet menacing look. The 575 also benefits from a wider series of updates that are being introduced to the entire XJ range as part of a late-life refresh, including full LED headlights, so-called ‘J-blade signature’ daytime running lights and updates to the infotainment system, helping to bring the saloon in line with the broader Jaguar range.

But are these updates enough to keep what is, in effect, an eight-year-old car competitive in an increasingly competitive market?

2017 Jaguar XJR 575 on the road

With BMW[7], Mercedes[8] and Porsche[9] all producing four-wheel-drive, turbocharged (and, in the Panamera’s case, electrically assisted) super-saloons, the XJR 575 represents the end of a wonderful and wild era. ‘Responsible performance’ is now the order of the day – a memo that Jaguar must have missed, because, instead of taking this opportunity to dial out some of the XJR’s wilder characteristics, it’s simply accentuated them. Like handing Liam Gallagher another pint mid-gig, everything about the XJR has been turned up to 11.

Step inside, press the bright red starter button and the supercharged V8 bursts into life with an intensity that is often missing from modern-day turbocharged engines. It’s a real brute of an engine that is absolutely brimming with character; at low speeds, you’re treated to a lovely V8 warble that’s soon joined by a delicious, high-pitched wail from the supercharger as the revs climb. It’s an intoxicating soundtrack that is backed up by prodigious levels of performance.

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With plenty of low-down grunt, it’s all too easy to overwhelm the rear wheels, especially if you have the traction control switched off.

At first, this can feel a little disconcerting, but with time you learn to trust the big Jag – its long wheelbase ensuring that slides happen slowly and controllably. Before you know it, you’ll be playing with the throttle through long corners, the rear happily carving an angle wider than the front. It’s addictive, childish, raw fun.

But as they say, you don’t get something for nothing, and so it is here. To get the 575 to handle like a car half its size, the adaptive suspension is set up to be a little on the firm side. The result is an awkwardly inconsistent ride, with the 575 jittering over cracked road surfaces and the occasional expansion joint.

Both the Mercedes-AMG S63 and BMW M760Li work far better as continent-crushing luxo-barges.

2017 Jaguar XJR 575 interior

The XJ’s interior is looking a bit dated these days next to newer rivals, but it still has a wonderful ambience. Up front, the diamond-quilted seats (embossed with some questionable ‘575’ branding) come with a wide range of adjustment, and those in the rear are treated to plenty of leg room; there’s little reason to opt for the long-wheelbase variant.

The new 10.0in Touch Pro infotainment system is also a vast improvement over the current XJR’s dated touchscreen, with quicker response times and clearer graphics. That said, it still feels a little clumsier and less finessed than Audi’s[10] or BMW’s[11] systems. Quality is also a little lacklustre.

Start prodding around and you’ll be surprised at just how much hard, rather cheap-looking plastic is used for the centre console and the lower parts of the dash. The controls also feel a little low-rent; buttons squeak and the column-mounted stalks feel like parts-bin specials.

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References

  1. ^ Range Rover Velar (www.whatcar.com)
  2. ^ Jaguar E-Pace (www.whatcar.com)
  3. ^ electrically assisted (www.whatcar.com)
  4. ^ Jaguar’s flagship (www.whatcar.com)
  5. ^ F-Type SVR’s (www.whatcar.com)
  6. ^ BMW 760Li xDrive (www.whatcar.com)
  7. ^ BMW (www.whatcar.com)
  8. ^ Mercedes (www.whatcar.com)
  9. ^ Porsche (www.whatcar.com)
  10. ^ Audi’s (www.whatcar.com)
  11. ^ BMW’s (www.whatcar.com)

Jaguar XJR 575 Review: Outdated, Silly, And Thoroughly Brilliant

Jaguar’s XJR 575 is a car that ticks pretty much every ‘endangered species’ box going. It’s a big, luxury saloon that’s still rear-wheel drive only. It has a big V8 with a whining supercharger strapped to it, not a pair of turbochargers.

A V8 that by September 2020[1] will be no more. Oh, and it’s all wrapped up in a car that’ll very soon be replaced. There’s a sense of finality to the occasion when you drive this ?93,710 chunk of pomp and circumstance, but make full use of its 5.0-litre eight-banger and its extra 25bhp – bringing the total supercharged violence to 567bhp (575hp) – and you’ll be too busy having fun to worry about the onslaught of downsizing and electrification.

Jaguar - Jaguar XJR 575 Review: Outdated, Silly, And Thoroughly Brilliant - Features

That’s despite the fact that on paper, the XJR looks well behind the current crop of mega saloons.

After all, its 4.4sec 0-62mph time is almost a full second down on the now 4.0-litre powered Mercedes-AMG S63. But here’s the thing: those impressive figures are partly down to trick all-wheel drive systems and gearbox skullduggery, so out in the real world, the big Jag feels every bit as potent. And don’t forget, there’s no waiting for turbochargers to spool up here: plant your foot down, and you have instant access to the full might of that V8.

The strong, linear pull of this thing is an eye-widening, sphincter-tightening joy to experience. Can you feel the extra 25bhp? The 575 feels just that little bit more urgent than I remember the ‘regular’ one being, but last time I drove one of those was nearly three years ago.

In any case, more power isn’t something to complain about. The volume from the V8 – both inside and out – is probably lower than you’d expect, but I’ve no complaints about the sound quality: its brawny, guttural bellow has the constant support of the supercharger’s shrill whine, and it’s a wicked combination.

Jaguar - Jaguar XJR 575 Review: Outdated, Silly, And Thoroughly Brilliant - Features

The gearbox is the usual eight-speed ZF automatic, and it’s a good fit here. The only caveat is the ratios don’t feel quite right in slower, tighter corners: you’re left with a choice of buzzing off the limiter in second, or hovering around lower revs in third and not making the most of the V8 on your exit.

The chassis has been left alone, and it feels a little ‘old world’ compared to the kind of physics-defying uber barges we’ve seen from the German big three in recent years. Tipping the scales at around 1900kg it’s actually a little lighter than the S63, and lighter even than the smaller E63. But it can’t hide its weight: press on, and the heavy snout wants to wash wide, and even in dynamic mode, there is quite a bit of lean going on.

It’s up for being chucked around though, and the feelsome, well-weighted steering makes placing the 5.1 metre-long hulk surprisingly easy on even the twistiest of roads. And the N222 in Portugal – where we tested the car – doesn’t leave you wanting for bendiness: it’s a relentlessly squiggly strip of tarmac, and was voted the World’s Best Road last year. I can see why.

Jaguar - Jaguar XJR 575 Review: Outdated, Silly, And Thoroughly Brilliant - Features

Bored with cornering as quickly as possible?

Don’t forget, with all 567 of the XJR’s horses making their way rearwards, breaking traction is hilariously easy. Unless you have incredible self control, you’re going to get through a fair few sets of rear tyres with this thing. But what about when you slow down and stop being an imbecile?

That’s when the XJR comes into its own. It’s supremely comfortable, gloriously wafty, and now enhanced with delicious quilted leather and lashings of carbonfibre. The ‘Riva Hoop’ that wraps around you is now festooned in the stuff (with a big red ‘575’ badge slapped right in the middle), but my favourite detail is the headlining.

It’s a sort of fluffier take on Alcantara, and I’ve decided I want to coat the entire interior of my house in it.

Jaguar - Jaguar XJR 575 Review: Outdated, Silly, And Thoroughly Brilliant - Features

The XJR also now has an infotainment system that isn’t unresponsive and infuriating to use, but that and all the other snazzy new trinkets can’t stop it from feeling particularly dated on the inside. Rivals from the likes of BMW and Mercedes are streets ahead when it comes to interior design and gadgetry, and a smattering of carbonfibre plus a newer nav system won’t hide that. It’s a car that probably should have been dropped from the range by now, and compared to the rest of Jaguar’s current offerings, it’s a bit of a dinosaur.

But you know what? I’m glad it’s still kicking around. It’s silly, noisy, antisocial and to an extent pointless, but never, ever boring.

We need to enjoy cars like these while we still can.

References

  1. ^ by September 2020 (www.carthrottle.com)