During our visit to Germany for the Nürburgring experience featured elsewhere in this issue, we had the opportunity to drive the Jaguar XJ with its new Sport and Speed packs.
These are designed for owners who don’t feel the performance envelope of the existing V8 supercharged Jag is sufficient. As a result of aerodynamic aids to improve high-speed stability and 20” wheels to take the loading, the top speed is increased to 174mph (280km/h).
In truth, there are few places you can experience this number but, if you belong to the group of people who like to know you could if you ever needed to, these Packs are for you.
The upgrades can be applied to either the 470hp XJ Supercharged or the 510hp XJ Supersport. If you choose the latter, you only need the $4900 Speed Pack, which consists of a front air splitter and rear spoiler. You also have a choice of 20” Venom or Mataiva wheels, all the grilles get gloss-black mesh, red calipers and a black leather interior with red stitching.
The car we drove was based on the 470hp model, so that gets the Sport Pack in addition to the Speed. This comprises electric Sports seats (in black/ivory or ivory/black), black or ivory headliner, metal pedal kit and optional carbon or piano-black veneer.
Once the two Packs are added, you’re looking at $7800 in extras but you will have a pretty remarkable machine.
The new parts are aimed at highlighting the XJ’s lightweight aluminum architecture and agile dynamics. As such, the front splitter was designed to reduce lift at high speed, while the trunk spoiler cleans the air at the rear. Despite the addenda, Jaguar claims the 0.29Cd figure is unaltered.
With its large wheels, subtle spoilers and discreet detailing, the XJ Speed Pack looks more purposeful without making a fuss. This isn’t a sports sedan shouting about its prowess, it’s restrained while leaving little doubt about its intentions.
With the car mechanically unchanged, everything is as you’d expect it at anything but autobahn speeds. We certainly enjoyed the Sports seats in our XJ Supercharged, although piano black trim always looks rather cheap. It should be a premium addition but somehow most manufacturers miss the mark with this shiny black finish. That aside, we had no complaints.
In fact, we were full of praise once we found a section of autobahn with enough space to explore the outer limits. We only nudged through 155mph briefly because regular traffic made it unsafe to maintain that speed, but the Jaguar XJ was incredibly stable. At this velocity, you might normally expect to see the windshield wipers shake, the steering go light and be distracted by wind noise around the mirrors, but the Jag remained supremely calm and composed. It was everything you’d want in a high-performance sports limo, and we definitely made our meeting on time!