NY Auto Show preview: Jaguar XJR roars with 550 hp

2014 Jaguar XJR front three quarterJaguar’s biggest cat is about to get a shot of adrenaline. The 2014 XJR, a range-topping performance version of Jaguar’s flagship luxury sedan, will debut at the New York Auto Show next week.

At the heart of this luxury limo will be a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 with 550 horsepower. It’s the same engine Jag puts in the XKR-S coupe and XFR-S sedan, so the XJR should be pretty lively.

That’s a big increase over the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 in the XJ Supersport which, despite sharing displacement and forced induction with the XJR, only makes 510 hp. The Supersport is the most powerful XJ to date.

The XJR will be more than just an engine though. Jaguar says the chassis has been upgraded to cope with the extra power, making the XJR into a full-bore sports sedan.

Despite being big-boned, the XJ already has the makings of a corner carver. Jaguar uses XJ Supersports equipped with the Sport and Speed Packs as “taxis” for giving paying passengers rides around Germany’s treacherous Nurburgring.

However, despite its high caliber engine, it looks like the XJR won’t get the extroverted body kit or the bright blue paint of the XKR-S and XFR-S. Since the XJ is a full-size luxury flagship, meant to compete with the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, it’s not surprising that Jaguar decided to go subtle. Still, an XJR-S would be cool.

We’ll get the full story on this big cat when it debuts next week at the New York Auto Show.