It's a seemingly contradictory set of goals: executive luxury sedan comfort and style, with track-capable handling and supercar levels of power. But for some reason, it just works. Case in point: initial impressions of the Nürburgring-tuned 2014 Jaguar XJR.
We're not going to get epistemological here. We don't know how we know the formula works, we just know.
In the 2014 XJR's case, the recipe is straightforward: take one part Jaguar XJ all-aluminum construction and design-focused luxury, add one part 550-horsepower supercharged 5.0-liter V-8, mix with equal parts suspension tuning, aerodynamic enhancements, and grip enhancers, and you've got the new XJR.
Having driven the last-generation XJR and XJ Supercharged, we're huge fans of the recipe. It tastes great and it's more filling.
Spread over the form of the newest Jaguar XJ, the addition of an R can only get tastier. But of course we'll have to drive it--hard--to know for sure.
Beyond the 550-horsepower, there's also 502 pound-feet of torque on tap, leading to 0-60 mph runs of 4.4 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 174 mph. Power is routed through a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels.
A "Corner Recognition" system detects when the car is cornering and holds the current gear accordingly, avoiding the chassis upset that can come with a mid-corner shift; the transmission also recognizes when sportier driver is going on and becomes more aggressive in its upshift profile. For those who wish to take more control, there are steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.
A new front splitter, aerodynamic side skirts, rear spoiler, and hood vents offer functional and aesthetic nods to the XJR's high-performance nature.
Jaguar's Adaptive Dynamics suspension system helps control roll and pitch with its dampers that adjust at up to 500 times per second, based on driver inputs and road conditions. Engaging Dynamic Mode automatically dials the system toward the firmer end of its range.
An electronic active differential and re-tuned dynamic stability control system both contribute to the XJR's handling and performance ability, while preserving a safety net. Steel brake discs in 15-inch front and 14.8-inch rear diameters are standard.
Sport seats exclusive to the XJR and 20-inch wheels wrapped in 265/35 front and 295/30 rear bespoke Pirelli tires round out the package.
The 2014 XJR isn't all track-tuned performance however; it's still available with all of the XJ's technology and luxury features, plus an array of exterior colors and interior themes, with added R logos embossed on the seats, Jet Black suede headliners, and interior veneers in carbon fiber or piano black.
The 2014 Jaguar XJR will be offered in both standard and long-wheelbase versions. Pricing starts from $116,000 for the shorter model, and $119,000 for the long-wheelbase variant.