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by Dan Lyons
When I was a boy, I used to go out with my dad some Sundays and shoot skeet. For those who don’t know the sport, it basically consists of moving from station to station around a semi-circle and trying to send as many clay pigeons to meet their makers (via shotgun blast) as possible.
One of the regulars at the club was a distinguished looking 60-something Englishman. Although in those days I wouldn’t have known a Harris Tweed from a hayseed, I remember thinking that he looked like he stepped off the pages of an Orvis catalog. This classy British gent was well dressed, well-mannered and well, a damn good shot.
Like that elegant chap, the Jaguar XJR is a sharpshooter, defined equally well by its refinement and sportiness. The hot-rod version of the classic, full-size XJ series, the XJR touring sedan beautifully blends classic British luxury and serious, sporting performance. For those with pockets of sufficient depth to entertain such notions, it is a luxury car of considerable character.
Classic looks, postmodern performance
Jaguar’s sedan lineup consists of XJ8, XJ8 long wheelbase, XJR, Vanden Plas and Vanden Plas Supercharged. While the models vary, they all share similar, classically influenced body lines. The XJ6 was introduced in 1968 and the sedans that have followed in the ensuing thirty-odd years have been design variations on a timeless theme.
2001 Jaguar XJR interiorEnlarge Photo
If the latest generation XJ8 cars have a styling weakness to modern eyes, it is the preponderance of bright work. The XJR solves this nicely by adopting a mesh, body-color grille in favor of the blander chrome XJ grille. Removing the shiny stuff restores the accent on the graceful front-end styling. The side view carries a lot of chrome framing the windows, but attention is drawn away from this by BBS seven-spoke “Milan” alloy wheels, shod with low profile, 255/40ZR-18 tires. A long rear deck with a formal roof line complete the rear view. The big alloys, beefy Pirelli treads and wide mouth dual exhaust pipes give the XJR a purposeful look.