The Jaguar XJR575 has the biggest claws in the MY18 XJ family, but has it aged gracefully and is there any point of having an exective cruise missile? Ben Griffin visited Portugal to find out.
Until now, the Jaguar XJR luxury saloon was the fattest cat of the XJ range and in more ways than one. But the 2018 refresh brings with it the introduction of something altogether more potent – a clue as to how potent provided by the ‘575’ bit.
Jaguar’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8 has been given a 25bhp power increase, taking the grand total to 567bhp. Suffice to say, the XJR575 is scarily fast. 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 186mph enough for you? If not, it should be.
Unfortunately, the XJ beneath was only given a modest update and that means the XJR575 is technically eight years old. Now it has to contend with the likes of the BMW M760Li, Porsche Panemera Turbo and Mercedes-AMG S63, too, which have the benefit of youth on their side.
Jaguar has, of course, always been about offering high-powered, luxury barges and the XJR575 is as high-powered and luxury as it gets. But does it make sense to buy when there is a new XJ lurking and has this cat aged as gracefully as we hoped?
Ben Griffin packed his bags, woke up unusually early and dragged the British weather with him to Portugal, where he got to spend a fair few hours in the new XJR575 and XF Sportbrake.
Jaguar XJR575 review: What makes it different?
A few unique extras help you tell the XJR575 apart from its less ferocious brethren, including XJR575 badging, twin bonnet louvres and two bespoke paintjob options: Velocity Blue and Satin Corris Grey.
Then there is the body, which features a tailored rear spoiler, side sills, front bumper and lower air intakes with gloss black surrounds, and 20-inch gloss-black wheels with red brake calipers.
The inside is more glitzy than any other XJ, too, thanks to yet more ‘575’ branding, bespoke embossed treadplates and what Jaguar calls 575 Intaglio and diamond quilting if you go for the Jet on Jet or Ivory on Jet colour options.
New additions to the revised XJ include full LED headlights, J-blade daytime running lights, updated infotainment system and some new safety systems that should make it harder to hurt your car. Or yourself.
You can have the XJR575 in two versions except in the UK: A standard length, which is 5,130mm long, and a long-wheelbase for those who want extra leg room, which is 125mm longer. Both feature rear-wheel drive, unlike cheaper XJs. Brits only get the shorter car.
The good news is that there is no penalty for wanting more space for your pins in terms of CO2, fuel economy and performance and, to be honest, it’s really only the stretched rear doors that give the game away if you are worried about aesthetics.
Neither mode is dainty, of course, but does that mean it’s a bit like steering the titanic? Thankfully, no, but you definitely need to treat it with care.
Jaguar XJR575 review: Handling & performance?
The XJR575’s engine has been used in the F-Type SVR and it’s just as loud and bad-tempered. The fact it kicks out 517lb/ft of torque from 3,500rpm means it can gain speed lazily, but at the same time keeping the revs high rewards you with truly astonishing pace.
Forward motion is only half the story though, because that 5.0-litre V8 kicks out serious noise. It is more civilised than the V8 in the Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R, but needs less in the way of artificial help to be heard in the cabin and the supercharger whine is more prominent.
The steering is direct, with more feedback and involvement provided to the driver than in the BMW or Mercedes-AMG equivalent and more akin to what you get in an Alfa Romeo. It is heavy though, especially in Sport mode.
The rear-wheel drive XJR575 weighs 1,875kg or an extra 10kg for the stretched version, which means it can and will understeer. But the gigantic tyres give you the sort of grip that builds confidence, even if the body is more prone to roll than it should be.
Somehow Jaguar has made the XJR575 feel much lighter and smaller than it is, which in turn enables you to thrash it around with relative ease and without repurcussion. It can go very sideways, but Portugal’s dry tarmac made it difficult – and drifting a five-metre-long car was also a concern.
The gearbox is of the ZF eight-speed automatic variety, which you can control using the paddles behind the steering wheel. Do so, and the involvement increases but then the aggressive, rev-heavy Sport mode is snappy enough for fast driving.
In any case, you can stick in the standard drive mode and plod along in serenity. Wind and road noise does creep in at higher speeds, but around town you could be in just about anything. The V8 can be remarkably well-mannered when it needs to be.
The XJ575’s adaptive double wishbone suspension setup at the front and rear, though definitely firm to emphasise its performance focus, narrowly avoids being unforgiving. It can also deal with bumps mid-corner without sending the car off course.
Jaguar XJR575 review: How luxurious is the interior?
Jaguar has always been a badge that indicates you have more cash to spare than most people, but the interiors in recent years are less posh than they should be. Thankfully, the XJ575 does things differently.
The interior’s design is largely similar to what you get in the F-Pace, XF and XE, but the build quality and materials used, ranging from fancy leather to carbon fibre, makes it so much more grand and inviting. The Meridian speakers, which sound fantastic, are a bonus.
But here and there are some cheap plastics and less than desirable switchgear such as the indicator stalks, which seem out of place in a car approaching £100,000. Not that its rivals avoid making the same mistakes albeit on a smaller scale.
In terms of comfort, we stepped out of the XJR575 after a few hours without feeling worse for wear. The seats do want to hold you in place, but there is enough give to ensure decent levels of comfort.
The rear provides serious levels of leg room, even without the stretch option. Head room also proved generous enough to house our six-foot frame, letting it back up those limo-esque looks with limo-esque functionality.
Jaguar XJR575 review: UK price, running costs & optional extras?
The standard Jaguar XJR575 comes full to the brim with useful bits and bobs, making it possible to live on the basic spec. But a few extras are worthwhile, including the Connect Pro Pack, which adds, among other things, a WiFi hotspot. Adaptive cruise control is also useful for motorway cruising.
Continuing the technology theme, you can also spec a dual view display, digital television and a surround sound camera system to help you park it without having an expensive mistake, which is more likely when you consider the 2,105mm width including the mirrors.
Prices start from £93,710 for the standard wheelbase XJR575, which is a considerable sum of cash but then BMW’s M760Li V12 monster starts from £130,000. You do get a 0-62mph time of 3.7 seconds and 601bhp, though, at the expense of a hefty 2,180kg kerb weight.
Meanwhile the Mercedes-AMG S 63 starts from £124,955 and manages 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds with the 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 working hardest, but you do have to pay extra to match the XJR575’s 186mph top speed.
In that company, the XJR575 is fairly decent value, but then you could get yourself the Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R, which is more powerful and, because only 15 are being built, about as rare as it gets. But then the badge lacks the same prestige as a Jaguar.
As for running costs, Jaguar claims up to 25.5mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 264g/km, making it a thirsty and polluting machine.
Jaguar XJR575 review: Should I buy one, then?
As a business prospect, the XJR575 is a niche proposition. But then we appreciate the fact Jaguar offers a car that combines luxury and performance as competently and one that, even after eight years, still can hold its own.
Admittedly, it is quite a hard sell because the F-Type is much more exciting to look at and considerably more dramatic, and you could make a case for the smaller XE S if you simply want a fast Jaguar saloon, especially as it is only slightly slower in the real world.
But then if you have the cash to splurge on a supercharged V8 chauffeurmobile and never want to be late to a meeting again, the XJR575 is an effortless, comfortable and dramatic solution.