The 2019 Isle of Man TT Senior winner loves big engines and old vans. Good lad
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£91,655 when new
Another fast Jag, huh? You bet. This one’s the big dog. Well, big cat to be precise. It replaces the previous flagship, the Jaguar XJR, bringing with it more power, more speed and more luxury toys. This XJR 575, as the name suggests, benefits from 575PS, or 567bhp, courtesy of the bonkers 5.0-litre supercharged V8 found in the heart of the Jaguar F-Type SVR. Why not just call it the XJ SVR? Our guess is that Jaguar didn’t want the XJ to appear too racy. XJs are supposed to be quiet, cosseting, and adorning it with the JLR equivalent of a GTI badge may probably scare off potential buyers.
By fitting the SVR’s engine, and badging it XJR 575, Jaguar has incorporated SVR-like straight line fury and noise without completely altering the car’s character. So how fast is it? It’s an absolute thug. Anything that uses Jag’s supercharged V8 is fast, and this is no exception. Acceleration ranges from alarming to scary depending on how far you push the pedal, with the 0-60mph sprint being dispatched in 4.2 seconds. It’ll reach a top speed of 186mph if you keep your foot in. Mid-range grunt is perhaps the most impressive facet of its performance. It has 516lb ft of torque available from 3,500rpm, and deploying this fully results in forward thrust so violent that it’s a courtesy to warn your passengers before engaging it fully, because it really does feel like being hit from behind by a lorry. It’s a bit of a boat though, surely? No, sir. The XJ might be large, but it’s incredibly agile. It’s possible to carry a surprising amount of speed through corners thanks to grippy 265 section Pirelli P Zero tyres up front (there are 295s at the rear) and suspension that feels completely up to the task of managing the car’s heft and changes in the road surface. The steering is fast, accurate and surprisingly feelsome. The ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox gets on with things quite well if left alone, but it’s also very responsive to your inputs via the paddle shifters. It’s a package that allows you to string corners together beautifully, and rewards you whether you take things easy or drive like a madman. So it’s actually fun then. It’s an absolute hooligan when you want it to be – arguably more so than the F-Type SVR, now we’re thinking about it. Whereas Jaguar’s flagship coupe uses all-wheel drive and is perhaps a little too composed, the XJR 575 flings every one of its 567 horses to the rear wheels. So if drifting, donuts and general abuse of tyres is your thing, then you’ll probably have more fun in this than the flagship F-Type.
I’m guessing economy’s not its strong point. Fuel economy schmuel economy. Thirty-plus mpg is possible on the motorway, but once you start pushing, it’s not unusual to see your fuel consumption drop as low as 15mpg. It’s totally worth it, though. If you can afford the unleaded. And if you don’t give a monkey’s about the environment. Can it do the whole luxury limo thing? Sure. But you’ll need a driver with a will of iron not to unleash the car’s full fury at every opportunity. The XJR 575 doesn’t waft as well as a Mercedes S-Class. Nor does it try too hard to cosset its occupants from the feeling of the road or the sound of that glorious V8. It’s a car that wants to involve you in the feeling of the journey. The ride isn’t harsh, not by any stretch of the imagination. It’s very comfortable and, as long as your driver is easy on the throttle, quiet. But if your primary wish is to be moved from A to B without giving a second thought to what you’re in, then there are more refined cars. The best seat in the house is definitely the one closest to the steering wheel. But it must be nice inside, surely? It’s good. Very good. Especially if you like badges that say ‘575’. They’re everywhere, from the headrests, to the tread plates, to the dashboard. The interior is tastefully sculpted, with a sweeping, C-shaped ‘Riva Hoop’ dashboard and some of the best-looking air vents in the business. It has a decent array of toys, too. Jaguar’s Touch Pro media system is easy to use, with a logically arranged and very responsive 10in touchscreen giving you access to nav, media and vehicle settings. The 26-speaker, 1,300-watt Meridian sound system is among the best you’ll find in any car, providing audio that combines finesse and brute force – a bit like the XJR 575 itself. Jaguar will sell both short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase versions of the XJR 575, although UK customers will have to make do with the SWB model only. That means doing without the individual airline style reclining seats, but at least the SWB pews have a massage feature and Jag includes a comprehensive rear-seat entertainment package with twin 10.2in screens that allow access to DVD playback, digital telly, wireless headphones and WiFi that’s hooked up to a dedicated 4G connection. I’m not expecting it to be cheap. Well, at over £91,000, it’s not. But it’s actually pretty good value for money, considering the F-Type SVR starts from £108,310. The XJR 575 uses the same engine, comes with more toys, has more space, and provides similar thrills (maybe even more thrills when you consider it’s rear-wheel drive). Yes, it’s a different class of car, but it’s undeniably more Jag for your money. By comparison, the slightly more refined but similarly potent Mercedes-AMG S63 costs £124,995. All things considered then, the XJR 575 is pretty damn special. It delivers the presence and luxury you’d expect from a Jag in a package that is also brutally fast and great fun to drive. It really is lovely.
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