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The Jaguar XJ Supersport is the cheesed-off, angry version of the-- the Incredible Hulk to the diesel's nerdy, spec-wearing Bruce Banner. It's faster, more aggressive and ultimately more desirable, but does its added menace warrant its £90,000 asking price, or should you stick with the diesel model?
Tech me to your leader
The XJ Supersport has some of the best cabin tech we've seen in any car. One of its most notable inclusions is a virtual instruments display -- a 12.3-inch TFT screen behind the steering wheel that uses computer graphics to show the speedometer, rev counter and other assorted gauges.
All the graphics shown there are dynamic and context-sensitive, so the visuals change, depending on what the driver requires. Receive new directions from the sat-nav, for example, and the fuel gauge is temporarily replaced by a full-colour map showing new directions. Access the engine computer and the rev counter is swapped for a colour menu that gives you access to vehicle setup functions.
The virtual instruments panel is impressive, but it's trumped by the Supersport's dual-view infotainment display. Hit the dual-view button below the 8-inch panel and a hidden screen filter directs half the pixel columns to the left and the other half to the right, so those in the passenger seat can enjoy one video feed, while the driver sees another.
It sounds like the stuff from a James Bond movie, but it's practical and fun -- the passenger can kick back and watch analogue or digital Freeview TV, or DVD and DivX video files, while the driver sees the XJ's graphical menu system or sat-nav instructions.
Audio is well catered for, too. The car packs a 30GB hard drive, 10GB of which is allocated to music storage, so users can rip CDs directly to the car, reducing the need to carry CDs on your travels. The XJ will also play music stored on an iPod, or even a USB memory stick filled with unprotected WMA or MP3 music files.
Like all top-end Jaguars, the XJ Supersport is fitted with a Bowers & Wilkins audio system, but this particular setup is better than the ones we've seen previously. Its 20 speakers are driven by a whopping 1,200W amplifier, so it's no surprise it delivers clear, powerful sound no matter which seat you're sitting in.
We've cranked the volume up on countless factory-fitted audio setups. We've no qualms about saying this one is right up there with the best, second only perhaps to the Burmester audio system in the
The XJ Supersport doesn't advertise its alpha status in the same way a souped-up hot hatchback might. There's no fancy automotive peacock display here -- there isn't even a single Supersport badge on the bodywork. The only way to tell that this is the high-end sporty model (from the outside, at least) is by noticing the chrome 'Supercharged' badge just ahead of the front doors, and the tricked-out, 20-inch, satin-finish alloy wheels.