DRIVEN: JAGUAR XJ SUPERSPORT SPEED PACK
155mph speed limiters be damned, Jaguar gives its XJ full 174mph autobahn bragging rights!
Supersport, with added Speed
Why bother with half measures though - this is PH and the real interest lies with the full-fat 510hp supercharged Supersport version which can be specced with the new Speed Pack. Frankly the best part of three and a half grand for the privilege of saying your Supersport is now limited 174mph instead of 155mph seems a little steep, especially given Jag's boast that all it needed to do was tweak the ECU, re-programme the electronic speedo with bigger numbers and recalibrate the tyre pressure warning system to account for the additional heat in the tyres.
read about those adventures in the blog from the launch event but, suffice to say, the XJ needs very little space to headbutt its new higher limiter, making you wonder just how fast it would go without any electronic leash. Big smiles on the faces of the engineers is all we get in response to the question.
Plump and circumstance
The XJ does charismatic very well and that aforementioned confidence is reflected in every part of the experience. The interior surfs dangerously close to chintz in places - careful with that chrome lads - but there's no arguing with the fact it's a whole lot more distinctive and adventurous than that offered by zee Germans. That sweep of wood from the door cappings to the bottom of the windscreen - inspired by classic Riva speedboats if memory serves - gives a tremendous sense of space, the woods and leathers respectively shiny and plump and the general sense of opulence very well handled.
honed its adaptive dampers over the years and the body control and refinement on the XJ is wonderfully managed. There's that trademark light steering and a sense that, aluminium or not, for a near-two tonne car it feels very nimble on its feet. For all its supercharged clout the engine doesn't punch you in the back so much as discreetly build speed, albeit very, very quickly. The acceleration doesn't diminish, even above an indicated 200km/h, the measured V8 rumble letting you know it's there but never dominating the experience too much.
Compared with the German rivals the Jaguar simply feels alert and lithe, rather than tied down and stodgy. If the Germans are all about iron-fisted control the XJ feels a lot more playful, albeit pinned down with some beautifully judged damping and fairly startling chuckability for such a vast car.
We'll be awaiting its arrival at bargain barge prices with anticipation, however long it may take!
Engine: 5,000cc V8, supercharged
Transmission: 6-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 510@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 461@2,500rpm
0-62mph: 4.9 sec
Top speed: 174mph
Weight: 1,892kg (LWB)
MPG: 23.4mpg (NEDC combined)
Price: £94,750/£97,445 (LWB)