2017 Jaguar XJR Review

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2017 Jaguar XJR Overview

A brute in a suit. An iron fist in a velvet glove. These are very cliché ways to describe the 2017 Jaguar XJR, but they do perfectly express the experience provided by this high-performance version of Jaguar’s flagship sedan. While the sedan is getting up there in age, it still proves an intriguing alternative to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz AMG S63, BMW Alpina B7, and Audi S8.

Jaguar deserves a round of applause for the XJR’s styling—the XJR is going on 8 years, and its exterior still looks like it was unveiled to the world for the very first time. The sleek profile displays a heavily sculpted hood, coupe-like roofline, blacked-out rear pillars, 20-inch alloy wheels, and a rear lip spoiler. Jaguar gave the 2016 XJR a mild facelift with new LED headlights and a revised front clip to bring it in line with the current lineup, and for 2017, it adds some new color choices.

Under the XJR’s hood is a gem of an engine—a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 powertrain paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive (RWD) for an output of 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque. Jaguar claims the XJR can hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 174 mph, and EPA fuel-economy figures stand at 15 mpg city, 23 highway, and 18 combined. A retuned suspension, adaptive dampers, and rear differential give the XJR a level of agility you would expect from a sports car, not a flagship sedan. While providing a slightly stiffer ride than other XJ models, the XJR can still iron out most bumps and imperfections on the road.

Settling into the XJR’s interior makes you realize just how similar and austere many of its competitors are. Details like a low-set dashboard with a futuristic design, air vents that look like jet engines, and a rotary gear selector that rises up when the vehicle is turned on contribute to providing an experience very few models can match. A set of sport seats with improved bolstering and various power adjustments come standard, although they do mean that you’ll lose out on the massage function found in other XJ models. Despite being Jaguar’s largest sedan, the XJR is not very welcoming to rear passengers—the sloping roofline eats into headroom, and legroom is surprisingly tight. But opting for the long-wheelbase variant does alleviate the legroom issue by adding almost 5 inches to the overall length. Trunk space is average for the class at 15.2 cubic feet.

On the tech front, the XJR features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that can be configured to suit your needs and an 8-inch touchscreen with Jaguar’s InControl infotainment system. Reviewers who have tried InControl note that it’s better than the previous system, but it still pales in comparison with those of competitors in terms of performance and ease of use.

Standard safety equipment for the 2017 XJR includes a full set of airbags, traction and stability control, active head restraints, blind-spot monitoring, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, and Jaguar’s InControl Protect telematics system. Optional safety features are a surround-view camera system, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and parallel/perpendicular parking assist. At the time of this writing, neither the NHTSA or IIHS has crash tested the XJR.

The 2017 Jaguar XJR is available now at dealers with a base price of $118,000 for the standard model and $121,000 for the long-wheelbase variant.

Updated

Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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