Whether you like to drive or to be driven, if you require paramount levels of automotive class and speed, the 2013 Jaguar XJ Supersport is an ideal candidate. It offers a huge blend of performance and prestige, and it’s wrapped in perhaps the most stunning body in this segment.
2013 JAGUAR XJ SUPERSPORT – PROS AND CONS
- Aluminium construction weight benefits
- Awesome supercharged V8 engine
- Fuel economy
- Perfect engine and gearbox combination
- Ride is superb
- Rear legroom in short-wheel-base variant
- Cornering dynamics could be better
2013 JAGUAR XJ SUPERSPORT – OVERVIEW
Mention ‘XJ’ in a group of Jaguar fans and they will immediately stand to attention. The XJ moniker has always been known as the jewel in Jaguar’s crown and since the Indian acquisition of the ex-British brand, extra focus has been placed on the mega-Jag.
Built using an all-aluminium body, the regular Jaguar XJ is surprisingly light, weighing in at 1857kg — not bad for a car that is 5.13m long in short-wheel-base form and 5.26m in long-wheel-base form.
Available with four engine variants and one eight-speed automatic gearbox, the XJ range starts from $198,800.
At the entry level, the XJ comes with the option of either a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine producing 250kW and 450Nm of torque, or a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 diesel, which produces 202kW and a whopping 600Nm of torque. Both entry-level variants are available with the Portfolio package that adds an extra $23,800 to the asking price.
Whack another $99,200 on the price tag and Jaguar will send you a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 XJ. Producing 346kW of power and 575Nm of torque, it’s good for a 0-100km/h dash of just 5.2 seconds.
But, if you only yearn for the biggest and fastest XJ available, it has to be the $320,000 XJ Supersport, as tested here. Powered by a 5.0-litre supercharged V8, the rear-wheel-drive behemoth pumps out 375kW and 625Nm of torque. That kind of power helps the five-metre-plus Jag shoot from 0-100km/h in a mere 4.9-seconds.
2013 JAGUAR XJ SUPERSPORT – ACCOMMODATION AND EQUIPMENT
After you nestle into the driver’s seat, you begin to realise why Jaguars are so revered with autophiles. All components of the cabin have been assembled with absolute attention to detail.
Everything from the touch sensor lights to the user-designed dashboard badge and rising gear selector are beautifully Jaguar. If the radical design wasn’t evidence enough of Jaguar expanding its target audience, check out the LCD speedometer and tachometer.
The entirely LED display outputs speed, revolutions and the car’s vital data. The high-resolution screen does a remarkable job of displaying everything you need to see, with the ability to flick through several other menus to change the car’s settings.
If you’re a fan of music, you are likely to pass out when you hear the sound system. The 825W Meridian stereo features 20 speakers and two sub-woofers. The incredible sound system is literally pitch perfect and produces 7.1 surround sound thanks to Audyssey MultEQ sound equalisation technology. Audio inputs come courtesy of the 30GB media hub, USB connectivity and Bluetooth streaming.
If you’re unlucky enough to score the back seat on any occasion, don’t despair. Rear seat passengers use the detachable touch-screen remote controller to select their music and rear screen entertainment options. This cool technology can be held in hand, or can sit on the foldout airplane-style tray tables.
Up front, the multimedia control screen features a dual-view system. Dual-view allows the driver and front seat passenger to look at the same screen, but see two different things. This means the passenger can watch a DVD or television, while the driver sees the satellite navigation screen. This epic technology is a godsend for occasions where passenger movie tastes don’t quite match.
The fit and finish of all materials inside the cabin is second to none. Every single surface is either soft to the touch or pure wood grain. Even the dashboard is leather-bound — this level of detail simply doesn’t exist on many cars within this segment.
In terms of features, the XJ comes with virtually everything. You will find things like a heated steering wheel, massaging driver’s seat, 18-way electric seats and quad-zone climate control.
Driver and front passenger leg and headroom is excellent. As you would expect from a car this size, there is plenty of room to stretch out without running the risk of cramping up over long trips.
While the front quarters are cavernous, rear seat passengers get a little less room. Headroom is good, but legroom isn’t fantastic for this segment (at least not on the SWB version tested).
2013 JAGUAR XJ SUPERSPORT – DESIGN AND SAFETY
Despite style being entirely subjective, we’re yet to come across anybody that thinks the Jaguar XJ isn’t absolutely stunning to look at. Everything from the aggressive front end to the radical looking rear gives the impression of sportiness and an eagerness to pounce.
Compared with the outgoing XJ, the new XJ has broken from its conservative mould. To ensure the new XJ still met the design standards of its intended audience, we swung by the Jaguar Club of Victoria to see what they thought.
They were absolutely blown away with the car in person, despite having some reservations to start with. Some were even lost for words as they inspected every singe detail of the car.
That’s great news for Jaguar because it means the car appeals to its current audience. But, what about people that are yet to try the British marque? That question was answered by simply watching pedestrians trip over themselves to catch a second glance of the XJ as it drove by.
Strangely, Euro NCAP hasn’t tested the XJ. As such, official crash test results are unknown. If the XF is any benchmark to go by, it only managed to score four stars the last time it was tested. It’s certainly something worth keeping in mind if you are cross-shopping the Jaguar XJ.
2013 JAGUAR XJ SUPERSPORT – ON THE ROAD
Don’t be mistaken for one moment, the XJ is no slouch. Even though it’s quiet at the lower end of the rev range, stabbing the throttle provokes instant response from the monstrous supercharged V8 engine.
Throttle response from the supercharged package is sublime and can be made even sharper by entering the sport mode. Gearshifts are slightly more pronounced, but still silky smooth and productive.
Manual shifting can be achieved using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters at any point. Downshifts are even coupled with a brief bark and crackle, adding to the effect.
Surely it’s not a coincidence that it takes the same time to reach 100km/h from standstill as it does to produce your license for the waiting police officer. 4.9 seconds to be exact. This figure is expected to drop even further when Jaguar brings the XJR here later in the year.
We’ve determined the XJ Supersport is a slingshot in a straight line; unfortunately it’s not as good through corners. Even with the Dynamic Sports mode selected, there is a considerable amount of body roll that induces squirming from the rear end. It’s helped slightly by great tyres and an active rear differential, but not enough to credit the XJ Supersport as being an all-rounder.
That’s not such a bad thing, though. If the XJ Supersport were to be firmly sprung and race-like, it wouldn’t feel nearly as soft, luxurious and svelte as it does.
Inside the cabin, the engine and its exhaust note is superb. From the outside, it’s about 20 times better. Slight supercharger whine in addition to a cracking exhaust note makes the XJ Supersport one of the best sounding super saloons on the market.
After you’ve decided to stop risking your license and return to Normal mode, the XJ starts to make perfect sense. It’s not a racetrack car built for the road, it’s a road car built for the racetrack.
99 percent of the time it’s happy moving along gracefully. It’s that one percent of the time a shot of adrenaline is summoned when the XJ Supersport really shines.
Fuel consumption is rated at a combined 11.6L/100km, which is pretty impressive for such a performance-laden car. In reality, if you give into temptation and exercise the throttle, that figure heads north to around 13L/100km.
2013 JAGUAR XJ SUPERSPORT – VERDICT
Jaguar’s XJ Supersport is the perfect balance between tactility and brutality. It’s a super-luxurious sedan that can transform into a high-performance sports sedan at the drop of a right foot.
In comparison to its top-spec peers, the XJ Supersport is well priced and outdoes the competition in terms of features and bang-for-your-buck.
Despite the fact it’s not as sharp through corners as the SL63 AMG or BMW 760i, the XJ Supersport makes up for it in looks, elegance and practicality.
2013 JAGUAR XJ SUPERSPORT – THE COMPETITORS
BMW 760Li – 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 petrol, 400kW/750Nm – 2175kg – $388,200
Lexus LS 600h – 5.0-litre V8 (290kW/520Nm) with hybrid electric motor (165kW/300Nm), combined power 327kW – $217,900
Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG – 4.7-litre twin-turbo V8, 400kW/800Nm – 2120kg – $392,400
2013 JAGUAR XJ SUPERSPORT – SPECIFICATIONS
2013 Jaguar XJ Supersport
5.0-litre supercharged V8 with direct injection
ENGINE SIZE / COMPRESSION RATIO
5000cc / 9.5:1
BORE X STROKE
92.5mm x 93mm
POWER TO WEIGHT RATIO
5.0: 1 (kg:kW)
HEIGHT / WIDTH / LENGTH
1448mm / 2105mm / 5252mm
Eight-speed sports auto transmission, rear-wheel drive with Active Differential torque split
F: Ventilated discs
R: Ventilated discs
WHEELS / TYRES
Front: 20- x 9-inch alloy, 245/40 R20
Rear: 20- x 10-inch alloy, 275/35 R20
FUEL TANK CAPACITY
95 RON recommended
Official average: 11.6L/100km
0-100km/h: 4.9 seconds
Images by Paul Maric