Are you getting bored with the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG? If you're looking for the S63 AMG's sportiness in a different package, Jaguar has your number with the 2014 XJR sedan.
Jaguar's XJ has been around in its current, swoopy iteration since 2009, and in that time we've seen engines making between 340 horsepower (the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6) and 510 horsepower (the 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 from the Supersport and Ultimate). The XJR picks up where the XJ Supersport left off: engineers turned up the boost on the Roots-type supercharger, resulting in ratings of 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque.
With power like that, the XJR is quite the sprinter: Jaguar says that the car can hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and top out at 174 mph (electronically limited). While most of the credit goes to the car's engine, part of the speed comes from the XJR's ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, which has special programming to recognize when a driver is making multiple passing maneuvers or driving on tight, twisty roads and hold lower gears accordingly.
But the XJR offers more than just increased power. Jaguar says it's specially tuned the spring rates in the car and adjusted the adaptive dampers for sportier driving, including an updated dynamic mode that firms everything up. The brakes are 15-inch discs up front and 14.8-inch discs out back, and the car sits on 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in custom Pirelli tires.
While the XJR was engineered and tested on the Nurburgring and England's Rockingham circuit, Jaguar promises that the new car will still provide the sorts of convenience and luxury features we've come to expect in an XJ. Those features include a Meridian sound system with 18 speakers and an impressive 825 watts of peak output.
The XJR makes its presence known with a more aggressive front diffuser and a lip spoiler on the trunklid--no XFR-S "bookshelves" here. On the inside, Jag fits sport seats with R-logos embroidered into the headrests and a jet-black suede headliner.
The car starts at $116,895 for a standard wheelbase or $119,895 for a long-wheelbase car, putting it about $11,000 less than a comparable BMW Alpina B7 and about $24,000 ahead of the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG.