2018 Jaguar XJR575 — Road Test

Posted on Nov 10, 2017 by
2018 Jaguar XJR575
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  • XJR575
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Review Summary:

The most powerful XJ to date isn't the most clinical super-sedan to drive over a twisty road, but with an old-school charm to the 2018 Jaguar XJR575, it could very well be the most fun of the lot...


Lots of fun to drive in an old school way; still good to look at and sit in; 'traditional' powerplant...


Handling and performance and tech not on par to the German rivals, but then again it is a bit of a leftist choice...

For 2018 Jaguar has updated its flagship XJ sedan line and introduced the fastest ever XJ to the line-up — Auto Middle East tested the 300km/h XJR575 on some winding roads of northern Portugal…

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So it’s called the Jaguar XJR575 — I bet I can guess the horsepower?

Yes, well done… So for 2018, Jaguar has not only upped the power in its flagship sedan from 550 to 575 horsepower, but also added a host of enhancements for including a bunch of safety and technology updates. It’s faster of course, but there’s also a new entertainment system on board and driver assistance systems like lane keeping assist, traffic detection and semi-automated parallel parking.

Well, they had to do something, to play with the new S-Class, A8 and 7 Series…

Indeed. The Germans rule the luxury sedan sector and Jaguar knows they need something special to stand out. For starter you can pick from some snazzy new colours included in the 2018 palette. But that doesn’t sell cars in this stratosphere — design and passion sells cars. As a bit of en emotional choice, then, the Jaguar is just different enough from the corporate Germans.

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How so?

Well it looks unlike anything else in class, and compared to the new A8, for example, it turns way more heads especially in our tester’s Velocity Blue around Portugal’s roads. The interior too is special enough, though nowhere near as kitted out as a Porsche Panamera or Mercedes-AMG S63. The new 10-inch touchscreen with smartphone-like controls, and the 12.3-inch reconfigurable driver’s display are nice enough, and the 1,300-watt sound system pretty special, but there’s no first-class opulence in here. Maybe that’s because the highlight, besides British audiophiles’ Meridian’s best efforts, is the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine that sounds like an absolute hooligan.

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That’s not very corporate…

Definitely not —what’s more you can switch off the traction control fully and bounce off the rev limiter to your heart’s content while the rear wheels generate ceaseless smoke signals. I’m totally off my noggin’, the Jag seems to say… Then it slithers away off the line finally and supposedly you’ll see zero to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 300km/h. This is certainly one luxury limo with a loony side.

I like the sound of that — but 4.4 seconds to 100km/h doesn’t sound very quick these days, does it?

Not when the S63 does it in 3.5 seconds and the M760Li  in 3.7. Then there’s the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid that’ll demolish the lot with a time of 3.4 seconds. But the Jag isn’t about cold, hard figures. It’s about cold sweats, as you can’t help but drive it like it’s a Mini Cooper S or something, with wanton abandon for road manners and a right foot with a lead sole. It’s hilarious, and the eager, supercharged engine makes its peak power at 6,750rpm so it likes to rev. Not that it’s forced to, because you also have 700Nm of torque to use from 3,500rpm. With tight, consistent electromechanical steering and a Jaguar-tuned eight-speed automatic transmission the car is pretty easy to wield even up and down very narrow Portuguese country roads, despite the fact that it actually handles like a bit of an old boat.

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So, it’s good but it doesn’t handle? Huh?

It’s fun, but it’s not clinical — you have to brake a bit early and smoothly and have a little patience taking a set through the longer sweepers before you just carelessly stomp on the loud pedal again. But it’s there with you every step of the way, the body roll and the squat and dive merely communicating the chassis’ intent, rather than getting in the way as some kind of cumbersome nuisance. It’s a big, heavy car with a big ol’ dumb supercharged V8, and it’s a a fresh take in the staid luxury sedan segment. If there was anything we could most endearingly compare it to, it would be the old naturally-aspirated Maserati Quattroporte which was also a lovable hooligan on the twisty road but a bit of an inconvenience on the daily grind.

So the XJR575 —did they make it stand out in any special way for the 2018 model year?

The car now gets full-LED headlights and some signature J-shaped daytime running lamps, as well as some neat details such as ‘575’ engravings and diamond-quilted leather stitching. Alongside this Velocity Blue, another unique colour available to XJR575 buyers is Satin Corris Grey (which is grey…) plus some exclusive 20-in wheels finished in gloss black as well as some bright red painted brake callipers.

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So, this, the new turbocharged Quattroporte, or one of the Germans?

If you’re already shopping for one of the Germans chances are this simply isn’t up your street — the Jag requires more involvement to drive and the others are more cosseting during daily use and way more tech-laden to the point the Merc and Audi can just about drive themselves. If you’ve got money to burn however we’d suggest a good look at the XJR575 because it might remind you of the fun of old, overpowered rear-drive sedans that handle like boats and make you laugh like a demented sea dog (unless you give in and pick the also-available long-wheelbase all-wheel drive model…). It only truly compares to the Quattroporte, and we’d say it has the big Italian licked. 

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Right, then… How much?

The 2018 XJR575 is already available to buy starting from AED491,800 for the standard length model with rear-wheel drive such as Auto Middle East’s tester, and the long-wheelbase model starts from AED509,200 which means both cars represent pretty snazzy value if you don’t mind losing a fortune come resale time. But that’s just the nature of the über-limo game.

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