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
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.