Jaguar has lifted the veil off the first “R” model of the latest generation XJ flagship sedan. With a bespoke chassis and aerodynamic improvements, the XJR is “the most focused, agile and responsive member of the XJ family,” according to the British firm.
Like the XKR-S GT, which will also premiere at the New York Auto Show, the XJR is powered by a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine that develops 542hp (550PS) and 680 Nm (501 lb-ft) of torque. Mated to an 8-speed transmission, the V8 pushes the XJR from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds) and on to a top speed of 174 mph (280 km/h).
Even if it’s not that relevant for a performance sedan, the XJR’s average fuel economy is rated at 18 US mpg (24.4 UK mpg, 11.6 liters/100 km), partially thanks to the standard stop-start system.
The XJR can be recognized from subtle exterior styling cues, including a front splitter, “R” side sills, boot-lid spoiler, quad tailpipes and special “R” bonnet louvres, meant to make it stand out from the plain XJ models. Other distinctive elements are the 20-inch lightweight forged alloy “Farallon” wheels shod in specially developed Pirelli tires.
On the inside, the flagship Jaguar features semi-aniline leather upholstery with contrasting color stitching, and veneers in either Carbon Fiber of Piano Black. Entertainment is assured by a standard 380W, 12-speaker surround-sound system made by Meridian.
Tuned dampers and spring rates optimize the XJR’s handling and stability, while the settings for the active electronic differential and Dynamic Stability Control system have been specially calibrated for this model. Jaguar says the suspension has been tuned on the Nürburgring, the high-speed Rockingham UK circuit, an on the roads in north Wales and around the brand's Gaydon Research and Development center.
According to the automaker, the transmission suits fast driving as when in automatic mode, it is able to detect a more enthusiastic driving style, making more aggressive gearshifts and moving the shift-up point higher in the rev range. For manual shifts, the car is fitted with steering wheel-mounted paddles. Stopping power comes from a high performance braking system, consisting of 380mm front and 376mm rear internally ventilated discs.
The standard wheelbase XJR will start from $116,000 (€90,200) in the U.S., with the long-wheelbase version to cost an extra $3,000.
By Dan Mihalascu