Car Tech Video: 2014 Jaguar XJR
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Car Tech Video: 2014 Jaguar XJR

6:28 /

The XJR is back for the first time on the current generation after a 5 year hiatus.

-The letter R, it's how Jaguar spells the letter M or AMG. After a 5-year hiatus, their flagship is back in R trim. Let's drive this 2014 XJR and check the tech. Now spotting the new XJR is not too difficult. Look for the more aggressive face. You've also got a bunch of aero effects stuff around the sill you wouldn't find elsewhere. Quad exhaust tips in the back and vents here on top of the hood that are, yes, they're functional. These guys come in 2 lengths also, standard wheelbase or long wheelbase. The latter adds 4.9 inches all devoted to back seat legroom. Let's get inside. Now inside an XJR you've got these sort of sport buckets. I don't care for them in this two-tone baseball mitt finish, but there's no accounting for taste. Instrument panel on this car is all video, has been since this model debut in this generation, but it's looking a little aged. Notice that it does what's called skeuomorphic representation of dials. In other words, it pretends to be 3D dials. There's even this kind of a chrome effect at the top like there's some light coming down there. That's looking really old school. Just look at iOS 7. Apple got rid of that exact same look not trying to pretend to be physical objects with video. This should go the same route. Now the center stack is cleaner. It's squared off. It's got nice large zones and it's touchscreen. Jaguar does not have a central controller the way other cars do. Your home menu here lays things out nicely with audio, video, navigation, and phone, the big 3. That's where things start to break up though. The response is a little laggy on it, not terrible. I think they've improved it but here it starts to show its rather poor interface design. For example you got AM, FM separate from satellite radio. Well, those are all radio. And the you've got something called My Music or sometimes it's called Source. Well, radio and satellite radio are sources. Why aren't they in a central menu with these as well? Why do I have to hop around so many buckets? And then there's My Video. Isn't that a source? Well, it turns out it's just DVD so why is there a separate deal for that versus sticking it under DVD? It's also dated in terms of how you do voice command for an address. Navigation, go to address. -Navigation, please say the city name. -San Francisco. -Please say the-- -2nd street. -Multiple addresses were-- -Cancel. -So it's the old school bucket process where you gotta enter each module at once, too much distraction, too much time for me and there's no connected search, no Google or any other kind of lookup on the internet to find addresses or destinations via fuzzy logic. Similarly as you noticed in those sources, there are no media apps supported here, no Facebook or Twitter though. I can certainly live without those in my car. And I also wanna see a revision of the climate control system. As you go and turn the temperature knobs here, it takes too long for them to bring up the video display to show your temperature. Ditto for the seat heaters. You gotta hit a button to get a menu to hit a button to turn on the seat heater which for some reason defaults to 3 bars then you gotta minus it out down to 1. That's insanely busy. Now as you can imagine the car that doesn't do media apps or live search or things like that also does not have a lot of automated drive controls. There's adaptive cruise available and we have passive blind spot warning lights in our mirrors and that's it. There is no active blind spot tech, active lane drift tech or collision-mitigating braking technology that'll stop you before you run into something which a lot of the competitors have. Now upfront the engine is a big part of what makes an XJR an XJR, 5-liter supercharged V8, goes out to a one-choice-only 8-speed automatic and then rear-wheel drive. They don't do all-wheel drive on these XJR's keeping in the sporty character. Now the numbers, 550 horsepower, 502 foot-pounds of torque on a car that weighs about 4200 pounds, relatively svelte given its size because it's aluminum structured and that's gonna get you 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds. While delivering MPG that is not bad. You've got 15/23, 18 average. Let's go for a ride. Okay. When you get in the XJR and push the start button the drive controller rises to meet your hand. Why? That's part of a little tech filigree on this vehicle that they seem to love. Drop it in drive you've also got sport mode which is self-explanatory and you've also got this dynamic mode here under the checkerboard button which really loosens things up so you can get in more trouble. I'm also gonna defeat this eco button over here. That's the auto start/stop technology and Jaguar like every other luxury car maker has yet to figure out a way to make auto start/stop feel luxury. Now what you'll first notice in this car is not that it has so much power but the power is so available. I love that. It's so rare to find a car with big power but a light touch. I love these supercharged Jag V8's. Rear-wheel drive as I mentioned earlier so you can kind of brake the rear end out a little bit. I've got the track control off of course. That makes it a little easier. Steering is a little on the light side. It maybe doesn't have quite as much feedback as a lot of purists would like but I think in a Jaguar is an inappropriate calibration. Now here's what this guy is different than an M car, an AMG, or an Audi S car is the blend of a luxurious ride quality with a massive power curve. You don't feel like you're riding in something hard and Teutonic ever even in the full go mode that I'm dialed into right now. Again kicking in the rear end out just a little bit there. This is either an English gentleman's hotrod or an English gentleman's hotrod. You know the difference? Now an XJR of course is a rather rarefied model so it doesn't come cheap; $116,000 is base on this guy. Add $3,000 for long wheelbase which I would do. The handling is still really good and the backseat leg room is a must in a car like this. Then there's 1700 bucks for the illumination package. It puts these blue rings around the air vents and names on the sills and trunk. I'd skip that all day long. $2300 though for adaptive cruise control, probably a good buy. You're in for a little over $121,000. This car is not as sharp on the track as a BMW nor is it as refined technology as a BMW or an Audi or even Mercedes these days, but it has a nice blend of really serious road ability and a unique Jaguar luxury plus you just don't see them that often.

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