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28 March 2013

This is the new Jaguar XJR

Biggest of the Big Cats returns: pray silence for the 542bhp super saloon

Vijay Pattni
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Behold: Jaguar has done the decent thing and finally treated its flagship saloon to the ‘R' treatment. Meet the brand new Jaguar XJR, unveiled at the New York Motor Show.

Those of a certain vintage will feel the familiar, welcome warmth of shagpile rising from within, but quell that nostalgia; this is definitely a new-age XJR, featuring a new-age philosophy and a not inconsiderable dose of the thing we adore most here at Top Gear. Power.

It gets the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine currently doing excellent service in the XKR-S, producing 542bhp and 680Nm of torque. It's an all-aluminium quad-cam unit, with spray-guided direct injection and dual independent variable cam timing. Oh, and let's not forget the twin-vortex Roots-type supercharger with two intercoolers. But, for the XJR, Jaguar has compromised between the outright noise and venom offered by the unit, and the ultra-luxury necessary for an XJ. But it's still quite loud, probably.

It's mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, developed following much investigation of the same unit in the XFR-S saloon, with steering-wheel-mounted gearshift paddles and a ‘corner recognition' system that knows when you're ‘negotiating' a bend (it'll hold the correct gear for a speedy exit). Cripes.

Naturally, power is sent to the rear wheels, and as such, you're looking at a 0-100kph time of 4.6 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 280kph. Such haste is emboldened by a suspension setup honed at Jaguar's Nürburgring-based test centre - where TopGear.com was treated to a special hotride in Jaguar's XJ ‘Ring taxi - as well as Rockingham and Gaydon.

Basically, you get continuously variable dampers underneath, using systems that monitor driver inputs and road conditions to offer the best setup - it responds up to 500 times per second for greater agility. Select Dynamic Mode, and everything gets stiffer. There's an electronic diff with DSC that allows you to engage "the outer edges of the handling envelope". That's basically the moment just before you exit stage left (albeit in great comfort).

The XJR's huge brakes should see you out of trouble (380mm discs up front and 376mm discs at the back - both ventilated) and they're nestled behind lightweight 20in alloy wheels, with specially developed Pirelli tyres (hopefully better than the F1 tyre TopGear.com made). Oh, and the steering gets special valving used on the F-Type.

The standard XJ has been subtly tweaked on the outside to show off some of this sporting menace, as you can see in the pictures above; there are ‘R'-spec side sills, a bootlid-mounted lip spoiler and special ‘R' bonnet louvres that aid engine cooling and aero. Some black mesh is apparent, too.

There's a 380W, 12-speaker surround sound system made by Meridian (an even louder 825W system with 18 speakers is available, if you require more bass bludgeoning), along with suede cloth headlining, some leather and lots of colour combinations.

Says Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar brand director: "The new XJR epitomises the three pillars of technology, performance and seductive design, while delivering new levels of dynamic ability in a luxury saloon."

Agree? Have a peek through the pictures and then let us know below what you make of the brand new XJR.

Tags: new york 13, jaguar, xj r, xj, xjr

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