Emma Jayne Williams

Jaguar gives the XJR a facelift for 2016, bringing refined styling, new technology

Jaguar has updated the exterior of the XJ sedan line for 2016, and added lots of new technology. Regular- and long-wheelbase models are offered. This is the regular-wheelbase version.
Jaguar has updated the exterior of the XJ sedan line for 2016, and added lots of new technology. Regular- and long-wheelbase models are offered. This is the regular-wheelbase version.

The Jaguar XJR, turning heads for the past 20 years, has been given a slight facelift – softening the menacing looks – and some new technology for 2016 for more refinement.

Its new front features a larger, more upright grille with a new mesh pattern, and a slightly redesigned front bumper.

The fully adaptive LED catlike headlights with auto high beams now feature XJ-exclusive double J-blade LED daytime running lights. The new taillights also feature J-blade LED graphics; the lower air intakes feature newly sculpted chrome blades; and new oval exhaust tips help to complete the look.

Eight XJ models are available, priced from $74,400 to $118,000: XJR-Sport, XJR-Sport AWD, XJ Supercharged, and XJR Regular Wheel Base models; and XJL Portfolio, XJL Portfolio AWD, XJL Supercharged, and XJR LWB Long Wheel Base models.

The XJL Portfolio and XJL Supercharged models are distinguished by the introduction of quilted seating surfaces with a diamond pattern on the seat center and cushion.

XJR’s more-dynamic and assertive exterior treatment, along with a new R-Sport designation, emphasizes the sporting character of the vehicle. A Black Pack underscores XJR’s on-road performance with a gloss-black front grille, lower air intake surrounds, and black window surrounds.

Also new for 2016: A Jaguar InControl Touch Pro touch-screen infotainment system offers door-to-door navigation, seamless iOS and Android connectivity, available Wi-Fi hotspot, and a standard 17-speaker, 825-watt Meridian Surround Sound audio system.

For this review, I drove a Glacier White (ice blue) Metallic XJR (base price $118,000) with Jet/Red Zone interior, riding on 20-inch Sparkle Silver Farallon split-five-spoke wheels with red Growler centers, wearing staggered performance tires – 265s in the front, 295s in the rear. Red-painted brake calipers with Jaguar script peeked through the spokes.

My XJR was powered by a 550-horsepower, 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 engine, mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission with shifter paddles on the steering wheel for the driver who needs to have the full Jaguar driving experience.

JaguarDrive is a system designed to fine-tune driving characteristics for different driving styles or conditions, offering the operator Winter and Dynamic modes.

By selecting second gear for driving away on level ground, softening the responsiveness of the engine and modifying gear change strategy, Winter Mode ensures optimum traction in slippery conditions.

Dynamic Mode enhances key systems to deliver a high-performance driving experience, exploiting the vehicle’s full potential, and involving the driver in more-focused and purposeful driving.

Fifteen exterior colors are offered, including Black Berry (violet/black), Italian Racing Red, British Racing Green, Celestial Black Premium (blue/charcoal), and Ingot Premium (silver/brown).

InControl Touch Pro, the most-advanced multimedia system ever offered by Jaguar, offers lots of technology to make the journey easier and more enjoyable. A Route Planner app for smartphones pre-plans destinations and shares directions to the vehicle. ICTP can keep friends and family informed if you are running late or change plans.

ICTP will display parking options and re-route to the nearest available spot at the touch of a button, and can display a panoramic street view of the destination as the vehicle approaches for easy recognition.

Door-to-Door Routing gives the planner back to the smartphone after the vehicle is parked, presenting public transportation and pedestrian directions to complete the journey. ICTP Navigation will check traffic on regular routes (learned by the vehicle) and update the driver.

If the vehicle has insufficient fuel for a planned trip, ICTP will alert the operator and display fuel stations along the way. The system can be programmed for preferred fuel stations and can also compare prices.

The highly responsive touch display allows gestures such as touch, swipe and pinch-to-zoom for maps, media and settings. Intelligent voice recognition uses simple, everyday language to complete tasks — for example, “Call Joyce” or “Play the Eagles.” The home screen can be customized, using more than 60 shortcuts and widgets, around the features the operator uses most.

A virtual instrument cluster is included with ICTP, with four instrument themes or a full screen 3-D map directly in the operator’s line of sight. The dials change configuration and lighting according to which driving mode is selected.

My XJR had an upgraded 825-watt Meridian audio system with Trifield technology for world-class audio reproduction no matter where we were seated. The system automatically balanced out unwanted noises with Dynamic Volume Control, delivering crystal clear highs and full deep bass. HD and satellite radio are standard. The eight-inch touchscreen also supported Navigation and Rearview Camera functions.

Traffic Sign Recognition uses a forward-facing camera to keep the operator informed of speed limits – including temporary limits posted in construction areas – displaying the information on the touch screen.

Standard equipment included Intelligent Stop-Start for fuel savings; alarm and engine immobilizer; LATCH child-seat anchor points; a panoramic roof with sliding panel; heated and cooled front and rear seats; Blind Spot Monitor; soft door closure; power trunk latch; rain-sensing wipers; second-row sound control; heated auto-dimming outside mirrors with puddle lamps; and four-zone climate control.

All models come with the all-new Jaguar EliteCare, a best-in-class five-year/60,000-mile care and warranty program.

XJR is capable of hauling 15.2 cubic feet of luggage, golf bags, or day-at-the-beach stuff, with four people seated comfortably and one in the middle rear seat.

With $2,213 in options and $995 destinations charges, the total delivery price for my sweet Jaguar was $121,208.

The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at emmajayne1948@gmail.com.