If there is such a thing as a perfect luxury motorway cruiser that seamlessly adapts to daily local life too, Jaguar’s XJ R-Sport has to be it. Offering effortless yet potent power, a spacious, cosseting ride and also a rewarding and dynamic driving experience, whatever your travelling needs, this model never disappoints.
On test the 3-litre V6 SWB on loan is as easy on the eye as it is to drive. Muscular, imposing and rather majestically sleek, it looks the part – and is arguably a touch more stylish than its premium Germanic rivals. Sweeping flanks and touches such as a gloss black radiator grille, gloss black lower grille, front splitter, rear spoiler, gloss black rear valance and ‘R’ style aerodynamic side sills hint to this Jaguar’s sporting capability.
Slip inside and you’re spoilt with top quality fabrics throughout. Look as hard as you can but you won’t find anything rattly, scratchy, shoddy or frankly less than perfect. Thoughtful and useful features can include individual, stowable pin-sharp 10.2 inch HD screens and a centre armrest housing multimedia and front and rear seat controls. Silk-soft grain leather upholstery is offered in two bold colourways and features adjustable side bolsters that provide the driver and passenger with exceptional lateral support during hard cornering. And the exclusive ‘R-Sport’ logo appears on the steering wheel, tread plates and side power vents.
In terms of infotainment, safety and other gadgets and gizmos, the XJ R has plenty – all the very latest in audio and visual wizardry and a Wi-Fi hotspot to provide a truly connected experience. From digital TV, heated front windows, mirrors, heated and cooled front and rear seating to all your ASPCs, ASls, EPBs and DSCs – you’ll find as standard. The test car had 20-inch Venom wheels, and Air Quality Sensor, Parking Assit and also Black Packs and privacy glass, jet leather and Glacier White metallic paint too taking the cost from £70,975 up to £72,510 – still competitive against key rivals.
There’s acres of head, knee and shoulder space – something appreciated on the long journeys to Wales, ‘up North’ and back to the South Coast undertaken during the test with a full quota of passengers young and not to spritely. Appreciated too by the kids on night-time journeys home was the excellent soundproofing against wind, road and engine noise and supportive yet comfortably soft seats. The boot is large and able to carry a plethora of cases, general baggage and even the odd saddle, golf bag and big Waitrose shop.
To drive, the way in which it can power away from lights and others makes its weight seem inconsequential. Jaguar’s highly acclaimed 3.0-litre diesel with its 8-speed box, 2993cc, 700Nm of torque delivers a sprint of 5.9 secs, and economy-wise, a respectable combined of 48mpg with 155g/km CO2. Out on the motorways the drive is smooth to a fault and there’s a pretty exciting surge on demand when overtaking lane-hogging numpties. The steering is precise and consistent and nicely weighted. Negotiating tight ‘b’s left little to niggle about either. The exhaust notes are deep and satisfying.
All in all the XJ R is one hell of a car. Versatile, stylish, cosseting yet exciting and of course of a quality that’s made to last.