Alumni of early 1990s video gaming may recall a ripping piece of work by Bitmap Brothers called ‘Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe’. The latter two words sum the XJR 575 up nicely. Few would have bemoaned the previous XJR’s pace, managing 0-60mph in 4.4sec with an electronically limited 174mph top speed, but the 575 cuts 0.2sec and adds 12mph to those respective figures, yet still provides a ritzy interior and impressive comfort.
The adaptively damped XJR may shuffle around on quite tatty roads, but even big ridges fail to cause significant disruption, while long-wave bumps are taken with the accomplished nonchalance that you’d hope for from a 5130mm-long limo.
The steering is even more polished. Electrically assisted since 2015, the tiller is slick but suitably heavy for a car of this size and even provides decent road feel, yet is reassuringly settled at a cruise. Turn-in isn’t razor sharp but still usefully swift, while body roll is very tidily curbed, surely thanks in part to the car's half-sensible, sub-1900kg kerb weight.
In a turbocharged age, the XJR’s supercharged V8 is a real indulgence, for its ready throttle response as much as its generous power band that extends from 2750rpm to the 6500rpm redline. Acceleration is enormous, but the blower makes power delivery predictable, too, which is a blessing on today’s cold, wet Tarmac, on which the rear tyres regularly scramble for traction. The soundtrack remains relatively muted, but its pleasing growl-and-whine duet majors on quality more than volume. Downshifts could come sooner after you’ve tapped the left-hand metal paddle, but upshifts happen more quickly, and the ZF ’box generally marshals the powertrain well.
The XJR’s interior is full of leather, Alcantara, carbonfibre, gloss black plastic and chrome. It certainly looks the part, but it can’t be spared the agonisingly regular reference to German superiority when it comes to quality.
The newly reupholstered seats, which can be set brilliantly low for a large saloon, are plenty adjustable and lend lots of lateral support. Rear space is merely passable for a six-footer sitting behind another, though, with only fair leg room, just enough head room and a big old C-pillar next to your face that conspires to make it a darker space than you’d prefer. Boot volume is very similar to that of the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class, although its shape is somewhat irregular and its aperture could be wider.