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2014 Jaguar XJR Road Test Review by Bob Plunkett

2014 Jaguar XJR Road Test Review

By Bob Plunkett

On an asphalt pad rimmed by tall fir trees in the Cascade Range of Washington state, we encounter Jaguar's new 2014 performance-oriented XJR, a sensuously shaped full-size luxury sedan packing a supercharged V8 engine that delivers massive firepower.

This super-powered Jaguar XJR super car is but one of eight variants in the XJ line of 2014 and all models score new features.

Long in the prow and low in stance, the almost GT-style machines present a tightly sculpted body and muscular fender bulges rippling around enormous low-profile tires with a low arching line of the roof drawn over the cockpit.

2014 Jaguar XJ models in two wheelbase lengths employ the impressive ZF 8-speed electronic automatic transmission on three different supercharged engines with classic rear-wheel-drive orientation or all-wheel-drive through an active torque management device labeled Jaguar Instinctive All Wheel Drive.

Jaguar launched the current XJ series in 2011 with a unibody structure composed of lightweight aluminum and magnesium put together with self-piercing aluminum rivets and heat-cured glues in techniques lifted from the aerospace industry to create an ultra-rigid frame measuring much stiffer than a similar body crafted in steel.

The XJ comes in two wheelbase lengths -- dubbed XJ and XJL -- with XJL gaining about five more inches of legroom in the rear seat. For 2014 issues, there are four trim variations with the 119.4-inch standard wheelbase platform, then four more with the 124.3-inch long wheelbase.

Trim tags with the standard wheelbase are the XJ, XJ AWD, XJ Supercharged and new XJR. Trim designations with the long wheelbase are similar -- XJL Portfolio, XJL Portfolio AWD, XJL Supercharged and XJR LWB (long wheelbase).

All XJ models carry a four-wheel independent suspension in aluminum, with double wishbones in front and a multi-link arrangement in the rear, plus an active damping system.

Jaguar's Adaptive Dynamics active damping system controls vertical body movement, roll and pitch rates. The system continuously monitors driver inputs and the car's attitude, adjusting damper rates up to 500 times a second to optimize stability and agility.

Speed-sensitive variable-assist power rack and pinion steering and disc brakes for all wheels with computerized anti-lock brake system (ABS) controls plus electronic brake distribution (EBD), emergency brake assist (EBA), electronic traction control (ETC), corner brake control (CBC) and electronic understeer control (EUC) improve motion maneuvers for XJ cars. Further, a dynamic stability controller (DSC) is aboard, while Supercharged and XJR models also stock active differential control (ADC).

The Jaguar XJ, XJ AWD, XJL and XJL AWD models utilize a dual-cam 3.0-liter V6 engine fitted with the Eaton twin-vortex supercharger. The V6 delivers 340 hp at 6500 rpm with 450 lb-ft of torque at 3500-5000 rpm.

XJ Supercharged and XJL Supercharged pack Jaguar's dual-cam 5.0-liter V8 engine also with Eaton supercharger. The V8 soars with 470 hp at 6000-6500 rpm plus torque of 575 lb-ft running between 2500 and 5500 rpm.

New XJR and XJR LWB models go further with a dual-cam 5.0-liter V8 supercharger blowing 550 hp at 6500 rpm with torque peaking to 502 lb-ft between 2500-5500 rpm.

As the XJ line's most powerful road car ever, the XJR races from zero-to-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and brings a top speed (electronically limited) of 174 mph.

XJR and XJR LWB provide 18-way power front sport seats clad in fine leather, metal pedals plus specific exterior trim elements such as a front bumper with splitter, a gloss black grille ringed in chrome, functional hood louvers, a rear spoiler, quad tailpipes, upgraded brakes with red calipers and 20-inch alloy wheels.

The cabin of all 2014 XJ cars acquire enhanced luxury features such as the palette of interior materials which include Bond grain, soft grain and semi-aniline leather, and a broad selection of wood veneers such as Piano Black, Carbon Fibre, Gloss Burr Walnut and Satin Rosewood.

XJ long wheelbase models gain new rear cabin comforts like airline-style reclining seats rigged with massage motors, leather-surfaced lap tables that fold out from front seatbacks and special tuning of the rear suspension system to enhance backseat ride comfort.

Jaguar adds a new rear entertainment package bringing two 10.2-inch high-resolution touchscreens mounted on the back of front seat headrests. Screens tie to a DVD player, digital TV tuner or external media player.

Audio component options cap at the 1300-watt Meridian Reference Audio System with 26 premium speakers.

Jaguar sets MSRP figures for the 2014 XJ at $74,200 and $81,200 for stretched XJL. New XJR lists for $116,000, with XJR LWB topping the series at $119,000.

For more information on Jaguar vehicles, click here.